Tuesday, 30 September 2008

OUR TV ADVENTURE, so far-part 3

in June 2007 two tv producers phoned me out of the blue to talk about adapting my Fate of the Artist to the small screen and I found myself having a series of daytime sessions at assorted pubs as we got to know each others’ ideas about what such an adaptation might look like. They were pleasantly surprised to find that Fate was just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, and it was suggested that the Snooter in fact showed greater dramatic/comedic potential. One thing we particularly agreed on was that there was scope for a combination of live action and some kind of animation and we talked about the ways this had been done previously. I mean specifically in relation to the cartoonist and his work, the artist seeing his drawings come to life. You have to start with the first, Winsor McCay's Little Nemo of 1911: "The Famous cartoonist of the NY Herald and his moving comics. The first artist to attempt drawing pictures that will move." Even at nearly a hundred years on McCay still charms. And the magic is still persuasive too! I was happily watching for a couple of minutes before it occurred to me that you can't draw with a dip pen on an upright surface.

Then there is the the old 1970 tv show My World and Welcome to it, based on the stories and drawings of James Thurber, with William Windom playing cartoonist John Monroe, which I told the guys about. We went to some trouble to get hold of a copy of the whole series and I wrote about it here. I found the following on Youtube, which I think is the intro to the first half hour show:

It was American Splendor that got the producers thinking about our proposed show in the first place. This image of Pekar walking through a simple drawing of a street (composited for the DVD ?), is among the most expressive things under the ironic 'American Splendor' banner. Pekar's slouch is in perfect harmony with his backdrop

And the movie’s opening credit sequence, borrows the multiple levels of synchronous action possible on a comic book page.

Pekar is played by Actor Paul Giamatti and also by animated drawings, but over and above that Pekar also appears as himself.
In one incident Giamatti as Pekar goes to see a stage play based on Pekar’s comic books, so that the actor playing Pekar on film is watching Pekar played by another actor on stage.

The artist and the artist's drawings-come-to-life. The idea has a long and worthy history. Does Campbell have anything to add to it? I find myself excited by the challenge.
(more to come)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those of us ignorant of the details of drawing - why can't you draw on an upright surface with a dip pen?

Pam N.

30 September 2008 at 21:28:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

Hi, Pam

you would be asking ink to disobey the law of gravity.

In the film it's obviously a horizontal surface posing as a vertical one. I didn't even think about it until he took his pen away to re-dip. but go back earlier and notice that the paper he starts drawing on, a large sheet (with charcoal presumably), suddenly becomes a smaller one.

a couple of great old ragtime tunes in there too


30 September 2008 at 21:59:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Matthew Adams said...

Which also means that dip pins don't work well on most cartoons because they (cartoons) lack gravity.

(Sorry, I couln't pass up the opportunity for a bad pun)

30 September 2008 at 22:03:00 GMT-5  
Blogger spacedlaw said...

Now I am wondering what our astronauts are using for pens. Pencils, probably, but I'd have to check.

1 October 2008 at 02:15:00 GMT-5  
Blogger afdumin said...


1 October 2008 at 07:35:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah! Thanks!

Pam N.

1 October 2008 at 13:07:00 GMT-5  
Blogger SRBissette said...

Eddie, if the sequence involving me is adapted, I insist upon playing myself and redressing the sordid lies you told about me in print. I've stomached them all these years, but this is another matter altogether!

Otherwise, I shall counter with a locally produced parody entitled THE FEET OF THE ARTIST, showing what will be purported to be your feet indulging in doing nothing whatsoever while you are heard rambling incessantly about all manner of things. We will broadcast it nationally and claim all the drivel presented about you and your career in the dreadful thing is all true.

Please, don't make me do it!

3 October 2008 at 06:25:00 GMT-5  
Blogger SRBissette said...

(PS: That's a joke, mate!)

3 October 2008 at 08:07:00 GMT-5  

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