Thursday, April 23, 2009

No, That's Not Right.

I’ve been thinking how upsetting it would be if the popular perception of one of my characters turned out different from the actual presentation.

For instance, thanks to the musical and Disney, many think Peter Pan wears tights, has a little triangular cap with a feather and pointy ears. None of those are true.

And I could be wrong, but don’t the movies of the famous boy wizard change how he normally dresses at school? He’s not always in formal school clothes (when at school/on campus) in the books, right?

Jeepers. I certainly hope nobody puts an altering spin on my creations that whirls into accepted, but erroneous, “facts.” I know Jeremy Strache would be QUITE distraught over it.


Danielle Mari said...

That sort of worry is especially strong, I think, when writing a play. Unless you write copious (and often tedious) stage directions like Albee or O'Neill-- or write a few pages of sort of neurotic "notes to the director" like Durang, you must (as a playwright) let your child wander off and where what s/he will! (I remember feeling horrified when a director put a crucifix necklace around one of my character's necks... something I "knew" she would never wear. I wonder, though, if that's just the nature of the beast.

Peter said...

Well, sure, in a play, it's almost expected. But when it's written down and THEN changed... count me out. :)
[Not belittling the trauma for playwrights, of course. Adding a religious symbol that would annoy the character in your perception is pretty terrible, too.]

Danielle Mari said...

But you were, were you not, talking about adaptations? I still think it's just bound to happen. Sometimes the changes make sense.... sometimes not so much. I just don't think it can be avoided.


Peter said...

I suppose they're IN adaptations, yes. But I'm talking about (seemingly purposefully) changing specific attributes of character. For instance, if Jeremy Strache's favorite flannel is thought to be red in the minds of everyone because of how he's presented in a popular place, then it's a problem. And it's not just outfits. "Beam me up, Scotty" had never been said by James T. Kirk. Nor did Rick say "Play it again, Sam." It's not an adaptation if Jeremy's shirt is red, it's a blatant disregard for what's written... which, as we all know, I have a deep problem with... (And yes [altho it is not integral to the plot per se] there is a specific reason Jeremy's flannel is green.) So, yes, it can be avoided.

Danielle Mari said...

You misunderstand my point. I'm simply stating that if you float your writing out there and offer it up for adaptation... or even to the public for general consumption... it's bound to suffer such changes. The only way to keep your writing "safe" from what you consider to be such sinful harms would be to keep it private. Which kinda defeats the purpose.
Or I guess you could be as proprietary as Disney or as dogged as Albee about policing the use of your work. Sounds exhausting.


Mel said...

Not to nitpick or anything, but there is, to me, a difference between a popular misconception and a creative choice by someone adapting a work for a different venue. The Star Trek and Casablanca references are the fault of the people, not the creators. I do think, though, that there is something to be said for allowing for creative choice in adaptation. As a director, I make a lot of choices based on my own creative vision -- or what's available. It's not meant as some sort of attack on the original source but on what looks better on the stage or what fits the actor or what works practically for the demands of the role. I mean, I understand the proprietary instinct of an author, but there's also a point where you have to let the bird fly the coop and see what happens in the hands of another caretaker.

Peter said...

Jeepers. Okay, perhaps I need to reclarify. All I meant is that it's a shame when something "wrong" overshadows the original story, regardless of the reason why (or why not) or in what production (stage or otherwise.) It's irksome to think that millions of people will have the wrong idea from then I said, a shame.

The sad part is I threw this post up in a blur, thinking no one would even 'notice' it.

Danielle Mari said...

It's the blogger's law. The time spent on the post is inversely proportional to the number of comments it generates.