Life of Pi

It is always with a feeling of impending doom that I watch an adapted film where I have already read the book. It is very difficult for an adapted movie to satisfy a book lover.

In that sense, Ang Lee deserves credit for pulling it off. Instead of being an re-interpretation or reiteration of the book the film becomes the completion of the book. May be it also reflects on the personality of Ang Lee he doesn’t feel the need to forcefully change something to establish his authority over his work. The visuals and imagery of the film were what the book was lacking. My only gripe is that the spiritual discourse and Pi’s tryst with religions in the beginning was a little bit too much on the face. Because of that hammering, it is now difficult for the movie to transcend the author/ film maker dictated meanings and symbolism.

Regardless of nitpicking, Life of Pi is one of those poetic masterpieces that you know you are going to love even before the title credits are over. One of those stimulating reminders that cinema can enrich us rather than just provide some mind numbing cacophony.

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‘Sun rise’ story of a music video

I saw a music video directed by a friend today. I am not able to get it out of my mind. Indians are bombarded incessantly with all kind of visualisations of songs. Mostly it is about boys and girls and puppy love. Or some hyper-energetic dance moves. Few are the ones where we actually go back to the music video to examine the visuals again for their own merit. In this case, I was forced to. In every re-viewing I found something subtle hidden masterfully in terms of props or visuals or story elements. It is a small puzzle box in itself.

I found the song and singer soulful with my limited knowledge about music.  And I liked the actors- I realise that an actor can convey what he feels by the way he looks at and hold a guitar- without the crutch of dialogue.

And my jaw dropped when I heard the budget of this video. Budget is no excuse any more for not having a technically sound feature film or short film or music video. Congrats to all those involved in technical aspects of this short for pulling this off. They also deserve credit for the fact that visuals doesn’t fall into the eternal music video trap of trying to wrestle away from the song with its own power display of smartness.

I would try to post a link to the song as soon as I get a post-able one.

Writing screenplays on android tablets

The widgets

First things first.

I have not done a comprehensive review of all the screenwriting widgets available on net. In fact, I have not tried any screenplay widget which is not free. What I believe is that if you can’t find a free widget for doing something, probably that function is not either relevant or important. I don’t want to buy things that I don’t really need.

But if it is any consolation (to myself included), all the screenwriting widgets I have not tried mostly have very poor rating. So the untested ones are screenwriter, celtx, fade in (paid version).

And my vote is for MyScreenplays free version.

MyScreenplays has a very different format which needs a little getting used to. It is different from other screenplay programs that we use routinely. It treats every segment of dialogue or action as a different unit. You have to open these separate units individually and edit. But after some use, you get used to the structure.

Its biggest strength is import and export. MyScreenplays is one of those few android screenwriting programs that get this one right.

It can import and export to celtx and final draft. Export function has been smooth. But my experience with importing has not been that good.

The only difference between free and paid version is absence of ads. I am seriously thinking of buying the paid version for honoring their decision not to restrict certain functions in the free version.

Fade In free which is very good in other aspects lost out here. I couldn’t export my work in any meaningful way. It is possible that this problem with Fade In Free is very tablet specific (I have a samsung 750 (10.1)) and it would work well in other tablets.

The weakness of MyScreenplays is definitely its unconventional structure and interface. But I assure you, it will grow on you. It needs some getting used to.

I should also mention dubscript here which is a final draft reader. It is a useful widget to read all those finished final draft scripts.

The experience

As I have mentioned earlier, I bought a tablet for productive rather than recreational purposes. Writing screenplay on a tablet is not going to be as smooth as in a desktop, but you can do almost as good as a job once you get used to the keyboard on a tablet. Having a bigger tablet definitely helps for smoother typing.

I thought I would be doing more outlining than actual script writing on tablet. But I was wrong. I found it difficult to outline on tablet. Outlining is the heavy lifting part of the writing and I found the tablet and the interface too distracting. Nothing beats pen and paper for jotting down random incoherent ideas while you are trying to solve a specific problem.