Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Movie in My Mind

We writers are a peculiar lot. I am no exception.

Know what I did while blocking out the light with a damp rag over my eyes? I listened to soundtracks. Nope. Not with a CD player. Migraines are not conducive to sound. Still, I heard my favorite soundtracks in my head as I crouched in a silent closet and hid from the light.

My favorite CD's are burned onto my brain like a cranio-jukebox or a CD player with an unlimited number of changers.

Which soundtracks? Well, I listened to quite a bit of Untouchables (Ennio Morricone), Gladiator (Hans Zimmer), and Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves (Michael Kamen). But the one that played in my head the most was Troy (James Horner). I'm a huge Horner fan and track eight of Troy brings me to tears.

While I also love musicals, the migraine pain was too intense to endure vocals -- even in my head.

See what I mean? Very peculiar.

I'd have loved to listen to Little Shop of Horrors, Damn Yankees or Miss Saigon but musicals were out of the question since, apparently, James Horner snuck some vocals into Troy and spent what little human voice tolerance I had.

My favorite of Claude-Michel Schönberg's and Alain Boublil's hauntingly emotional songs from the musical, Miss Saigon is "The Movie in My Mind" where Vietnamese prostitutes explain how they briefly escape their cruel lives and repugnant acts by retreating into their heads until it's over -- "A world that's far away, where life is not unkind, the movie in my mind".

That's pretty much what we screenwriters do (no, this is not a screenwriters as prostitutes analogy). Screenwriters suspend the reality we can see and touch to escape into one of our own creation, one where life is exactly as we design it and suits our purposes perfectly. We transpose the movie in our minds to words that become lines that become scenes that become the screenplay that becomes the movie that portrays a reality that suspends reality and affords viewers an avenue of escaping into the movies in their own minds.

Suspend reality to create a reality that suspends reality. It's like a deliberate cycle of schizophrenia. Or, maybe that's just my meds working OR A Beautiful Mind (Horner) is playing in my head.

While the migraine allowed me to hear music in my mind, I couldn't watch movies in my mind. Migraines produce these little strobe light thingies that look like dancing globs of Vasoline and are directly linked to the "tell your stomach to hurl your spleen across the bathroom floor" mechanism of the human brain.

I couldn't even watch a silent movie in my mind because who wants to pretend to watch a film through dancing globs of Vasoline?

But all is well. I'm dozing off to the heart strumming combination of trumpets and Spanish guitar in Mask of Zorro (James Horner). I tried to listen to it in the closet but the castanets were too painful. Tonight, my brain gets a rest. I'm using a CD player -- the kind with AA batteries.


Mystery Man said...

Great choices!

I frequently listen to John Williams. He's still my favorite. I can't help myself. "Memoirs of a Geisha" has the most awe-inspiring soundtrack. And my favorite John Williams tune, the one that to me epitomizes the glory of movie-music, "Cadillac of the Skies" from "Empire of the Sun." Ohhh, baby, that still gets me...

MaryAn Batchellor said...

John Williams is EVERYONE's favorite and the reason I learned to love soundtracks. Has he ever written a score that I didn't adore? I don't think so.

Sal said...

I love soundtracks but I uberlove John Williams, though Howard Shore comes a pretty close second.

But do you have tunes running through your head most of the time? Almost like you don't need an iPod cos the music is there already?

MaryAn Batchellor said...

The greater problem for me is that my mouth is the speaker. I am an absentminded singer and often don't realize that I'm even doing it -- embarrassing in public places.