It sounds crazy, right? Watching movies isn’t homework unless you’re a film student.
But here’s my inspiration for this assignment.
I saw Still Crazy while I was visiting my husband’s family over Christmas–it came from a British movie collection they had, and they’d singled it out as one of the surprise hits from the bunch. I mean, how can you not love Bill Nighy as an aging rock star trying to reclaim his former glory?
And it was quite a good movie, though it was a bit odd to see all these “old” rock stars looking so young–it was released in 1998, so I’m used to Billy Connolly with a lot more gray in his hair than he had here.
But as I was watching, well, serendipity smiled on me. I’m writing a novel about a rock band and my characters spend a lot of time on their tour bus. So do these fine chaps. I wasn’t taking notes, but that’s what I want you to do: find a movie that has a setting or situation in common with the story you’re writing, ideally something you’re having trouble visualizing yourself, like my struggle with the tour bus. Watch, observe, and yes, take notes.
The bus in my novel won’t be the Strange Fruits bus; my band is a modern rock band, not a ’70s band reuniting twenty years later. The space will be different, and the decorations, and the vibe. But seeing the space they had, seeing people actually in it, gave me a new appreciation for just how cramped it can be, and how everyone is living piled on top of each other. In a romance, well, privacy’s a bit of a concern, and my characters are not going to have much of it…