You may have heard of Beaumarchais. He was a watchmaker, a publisher of Voltaire’s works, a gun runner for the rebels in the American Revolution, but most notably a playwright of works such as The Barber of Seville (which Mozart adapted into an opera.)
In Beaumarchais’s time, writers were not well paid. The theatres of Paris held a kind of monopoly, or cartel. They colluded together to keep writers’ fees down.
The Barber of Seville was one of the hits of 1775 and it continued bringing in audiences after that. But, despite the money that the theatres got from Beaumarchais’s popular play, his remuneration wasn’t very high.
So, in 1777, Beaumarchais led the other French writers in a strike. If they didn’t get paid more for their successful plays, they wouldn’t write at all.
This led to a scarcity of plays and forced theatre owners into negotiations.
Theatre owners now paid royalties, instead of just a flat fee for plays.
“Watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words, they become actions. Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits, they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” — adapted from the memoirs of Hiram Withington, in The Iron Lady screenplay by Abi Morgan. Continue reading “The Iron Lady – thoughts”
Amazing Grace (dir. Michael Apted, written by Steven Knight) seems to be the first major film to depict the life and activism of Wilfred Wilberforce. I was reluctant to write any review because I’m not sure of the historical accuracy of Wilberforce’s life. However, from a creative point of view, I find the use of flashbacks interesting.
Many biopics, from made-for-tv movies to big-budget blockbusters, use flashbacks as a creative device. At one extreme you have The Iron Lady, where almost every other scene is the elderly Thatcher remembering her rise and fall. Then there’s the TV movie like Coco Chanel, where flashbacks are used intermittently to show a character still in her prime remembering how she got where she was while preparing a show.
The classic, however, is a film like Gandhi (Dir: David Attenborough, writer: John Briley, 1982), where we start at the death of the main character, then tell the story in sequence, introducing the protagonist just before that fateful first decision is made. But, all these devices open a story toward the end of the story, not in the middle. Continue reading “The use of Flashback in Amazing Grace”