Thursday, 21 October 2010

Casting horses

One night, over the summer, we were down at The Bridge Inn, necking pear cider (well, I was) at a ferocious rate. At some point in the evening I recall talking to a local lad who had just finished his A levels. He was going to take a gap year before going to film college (though he was so talented he’d already been offered jobs).

‘Hey, Conor,’ I slurred. ‘You know what? You could do a film trailer for my book, Samael.’ I vaguely remembered foisting my email and the URL of my blog onto him and, come the next morning, I was wincing at the memory.
‘God, what must he think of me?’ I wailed to Adrian. ‘I’m sure he’s got much better things to do.’
‘I wouldn’t worry,’ Adrian replied. ‘You were so wrecked, he probably didn’t take you seriously anyhow.’

But he did. He had researched the book trailers that are already ‘out there’ and gave them all a distinct thumbs down. ‘Rubbish,’ he said, decisively. ‘We can do much better than that. How about I and my mate Guy come over and talk it through?

So there we were, around my kitchen table, discussing actors and locations and key scenes from the book. ‘It’s so cinematic,’ said Conor. ‘I could see every scene as I read it,’ agreed Guy. ‘The problem is going to be choosing which scenes to leave out.’

They quizzed me minutely. Did I have a specific house in mind for Borthwelm? Was the ford at Shadowcombe based on a particular place? Exactly what colour hair does Gen have? What kind of motorbike does Samael ride? Which part of the moor would Gen and Zeke be galloping over? Did I reckon Guy would work for my vision of Samael, the demon/angel? With contact lenses, of course. Oh yes, absolutely.

Conor seemed particularly keen on putting poor Guy through the mill. ‘That scene where Samael flings himself at Gen’s window in the storm,’ he said. ‘That would be amazing, with water pouring down your face  of course,’ he grinned at Guy who looked, bizarrely, totally enthusiastic. ‘Oooh, and the bit where the hand comes up through the water at the ford...you’d do that, wouldn’t you?’
Guy nodded happily and, much as I hated to rain (ahem) on their parade, I had to remind them that, actually, it’s a female hand that does the coming up through the flood waters. And a female head that is hacked off with a spade.  They looked vaguely disappointed.  

But, undeterred they discussed the mad gallop across the moor. I could feel myself starting to get the bit between my teeth (sorry) – it had to be a large bay gelding and a neat chestnut mare. Ye gods, was I really starting to cast the horses? For a book that hasn’t even got a publishing deal yet?  This had to be the most insane case of putting the cart before the (last pun, I promise) horse.

Yet, as we discussed it, it started taking on a life of its own. The wonderful thing was that, listening to them, I remembered that (despite the rejections it’s had so far) it IS a darn good book. More than 100 teen readers (and several hundred adults) can’t all be wrong surely? But I felt honour-bound to warn the boys that there was no deal in sight as yet.

They didn’t seem remotely fazed. ‘It’ll happen,’ said Conor cheerily, scribbling down more key scenes on his pad. ‘If it doesn’t – we’ll just have to make the full-length film instead.’

Can’t argue with that.

18 comments:

Rob-bear said...

A full length film is a good idea. There are lots of them out there, many based on good books. You're just doing things in reverse. A trendsetter, you are.

Exmoorjane said...

Hey Rob, I rather like that.... Finance could be an issue but hey...cross those bridges.... :)

Preseli Mags said...

Utterly brilliant. Will we get to see it? Can't wait! I love their confidence - make the full length film. Why not?

legend in his own lunchtime said...

Aahh, The confidence of youth. I hope some of it rubs off and you take this horse by the reins (sorry, but you started it) and ride full tilt.

Milla said...

that would show the buggers. Any chance of a spare couple of hundred thousand for a consultant on, er, suitable spades?

Fran said...

Young people that age have so much energy! Good for them!

Exmoorjane said...

Mags: you betcha! We'll post it on youTube etc... Yeah, I love the confidence too - really buoys me up.

Legend: *groan* I won't bridle at that comment; it will just spur me on.

Milla: Spade consultant it is....will you require your own trailer (as in caravan thing)?

Fran: I love it, just love it. :)

Eliza said...

Wow that's impressive, you must be excited :-)

Annette Piper said...

How wonderful! I think that's a perfectly wonderful alternative :)

Mud in the City said...

Fabulous. Am more than willing to vet suitable horses.

ArtSparker said...

What a lovely connection to have made, very heartening.

Humdrum Mum said...

Is there a link to the trailer on Youtube? -HMx

Posie said...

How exciting, young fresh talent unleashed on your book, enthusiasm like this is fantastic and can only be really positive. Fabby news Jane, good luck with it all and keep us posted.

Northern Snippet said...

How lovely.The enthusiasm of youth.
Can you imagine if they made the film and it was huge success.
Then you could do the story of how they did it and then they could make the film.Next book/film sorted.

elizabethm said...

I love the idea of them making a full length film of it - how fantastic that would be!

Irritatingly Optimistic said...

Wow, I'd be all of a tizz if that happened to me. Fingers crossed for you.

Ivy said...

Still waiting for that new novel of yours with the girl going to evening classes to learn plumbing and insulating :-)) Good luck with your film. Rob you are wrong Jane doesn't do it the other way round there already IS this book only nobody wants to publish it but still it exists! (hope you don't think me a pettifogger now)

CAMILLA said...

What an absolutely brilliant idea Jane.! a film of the book, wonderful enthusiasm from those two young lads.

Best of luck Jane.!

xx