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Over-Outlining? And in what they may call traditional order? (woof-woof!)

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Posted by 22111
Aug 15, 2022 at 10:31 AM


First the NON-off-topic topic for your general culture:

I have to admit I just viewed - speaking of overlong movies, haha! - “Cinema Paradiso” (Tornatore 1988) now: my bad! Now, it fully deserved its Foreign-Oscar, even though I now viewed the (obviously, see his catalogue!) genious director’s cut (3 hours); the film got its Academy Award on its Harvey version (about 2 hours) though: yes, Harvey W., Hollywood’s devil of all time! (But even Adolf had his - in his case: unique indeed - “forte”: he loved dogs!)

And since I spoke here of (the recurring phenomenon of) comedies spending (almost) all their gags (& fun) within their first half / two leading thirds: “Cinema Paradiso” (long version) is simply wonderful in its first hour, very good in its second, and so-so in its third-and-last-one.

But that is not saying that the content of that third hour is irrelevant, or even “bad” in some way, it’s just too long, yes, but first of all if I might say, it’s in the wrong position, and speaking of the - necessary! sic! - second-act/hour “downer”, don’t we all know that there should be some “crescendo” instead?

Tornatore’s original (sic!) “material” was - is - obviously wonderful, but then, its originality lies within its first act, and a revelation almost 3 hours later-on, and don’t we remember “Titanic” now, or then, and especially, that best-of-our-time literary work, McEwan’s “Atonement”, which “gave away” some things early on, but held back others up to the end? (I’m personally in awe of that novel, in fact never read anything better: it’s our times’ literary masterpiece according to me, both by content and by form.)

Now, if you apply “Atonement”‘s “mastery instructions” (sic! and considering following “mastery instructions” will not make you a master, too, but greatly enhance the quality of your respective work!) to “Cinema Paradiso”, it should struck you right away how then that best foreign film indeed could have become a movies’ history top-ten (twenty?) even, and since all the material had been there, we have to see that even Bad Harvey didn’t see its potential to immortality - and yes, that would have involved quite some re-orders, not only some. (The ultimate irony in this being that it’s the producers who got the “final cut” rights, and thus, movies’ cutters are relegated to a purely technical function - even I, who could list you the 10, 12 very best cinematography masters (i.e. “camera men”) of all time from (my otherwise quite failing) memory, I couldn’t give you the name of one single cutter, and I’m very ashamed of this!)

Now, and since you’re smart, you will have got that outlining is intended for construction, but construction doesn’t mean, “do it the usual way”, but “do it the very best way for the project you’re on”. (Tornatore was (just early) 33 in (summer of) 88, so who are we to criticize what he (already had) achieved at that young age, considering most of us will not achieve just a fraction of that in our lifetime… but when YOU outline, you should consider “alternatives” to the “usual way” - you know, everybody out there can buy some cheap instrument (and most “outliners” are very cheap indeed), but it’s the thinking about using your instrument for doing things that will make the difference.


I just discovered that (almost-) free accessibility to what you may call “screenwriting manuals” and all the rest re “stuff for movie buffs” in Western Europe seems to be over: You see, in France and Belgium, there is reading-hall-only reading access, within opening hours, and just for locals in practice, to such library stuff, in Paris and Brussels, respectively, whilst in Germany’s rather spectacular inter-library loan system, and which entitles readers to get any book in any other German library, for almost nothing ($1.50), for real working with it even at home, for some weeks (min. 3, sometimes even for 2 months), you had been able to borrow specialized movie books, most of them from the U.S. of course, since while the Babelsberg film school library never lend their stuff, the Munich film school - both are entirely funded by TAXPAYYER’s money !!!!!!!!!!!!!! - had participated in this incredible, unique system.

Now, this is finished, even for the Munich film school, and thus, you obviously can order anything you like, at its original price, plus European taxes (which are about 10 p.c. for books and up to 30 p.c. for everything else), plus “Amazon Global” which is more than $30 PER BOOK, from amazon.com, or then, even more expensive, from any other bookstore in the U.S. Thus, I tried to find alternatives, but of course, there is none.


There is the catalog of the Cologne (Germany) film school, and which, for screenwriting, lists a mere 10 (yes, TEN!) books, and not only the “selection” (???) is highly debatable, but you will also see - if you’re interested, and you’re not - that even the selection of the Cologne municipal library is both much broader and much more pertinent.

But then, that film school’s books catalogue - in English, obviously, since otherwise it could not serve as an example here - is, well, somewhat ridiculous, no? See yourself: https://en.khm.de/bib_buecher/ , and I’m not speaking that pornography is listed both in “genres” and in “gender studies”, and the like, e.g. “Script-writing” (with those ten entries then) being listed in “Film-making”, whilst “Screenwriters” is in “Filmmakers”, and there is “Literarture”, with, e.g., “Dramatic art”, but without even a link to “Script-writing”: in other words, already their taxonomy is a mess.

No, I’m speaking of their ubiquitous over-outlining almost everywhere in that catalog, and which then will produce totally aleatoric classifications, since obviously most books, and most subjects in general, will treat much more than just one single, distinct sub-subject.

Obviously, you will then work with linking - do they at least have some links in their catalog? I haven’t found any… -, but it doesn’t, again obviously, make sense to link one item / entry with dozens of others, and it doesn’t make sense to multiply classifications with just 1 or 2 or even not a single entry, right?

Thus, the obvious way to go consists in not trying to show off your “analytical sense” or whatever you might call the demands of your nitpicker character, by multiplying categories, devoid of (any, or at least somewhat pertinent) content, but by creating broader categories, with the “necessary” links to other categories, and especially with some comments where you have “put your things” - it’s by avoiding this decision-making that you will be inclined then to create micro-categories which don’t make any sense of all.

This being said, you’re obviously right by saying that within a book, you can be much more particular than within a books’ catalog, but even then, you should stay aware of the fact that by trying to atomize “information”, you will either embezzle aspects, or will have to create a really crazy and “unreadable” web of cross-references.

Outlining is about ordering, yes - but have the courage to macro-categorize, and for most things, there is something like a “natural taxonomy”, whilst “functional second-uses” should then be designed as links.

The writing aspect in film just being one example among millions.


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