I’m back to writing. Not as often as I’d like but at least keys are being pounded and ideas recorded.
As I’ve mentioned here before, I’d been considering writing my next story as a graphic novel, partly because I love stories told this way (everything from Tintin to Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns. I took a masterclass in writing comics and graphic novels last year and came away inspired but somewhat intimidated by the concept of writing in such an unfamiliar form. As a result, I procrastinated way too much.
So, while I can see the next book as a graphic novel, I’m going to write it in novel form first. Having made that decision, I’ve started sketching characters, scenes and more. I love these early stages of assembling a story.
The idea I have in mind is essentially a love story, but one concerned with fathers, sons and the links between generations. Which brings me to the title of this post.
A friend invited me to this documentary today and I really enjoyed it. Jiro Dreams Of Sushi has an 85-year-old sushi chef as its central character – a man whose alcoholic father died when he was seven. Jiro has worked for 75 years and is considered the best sushi chef in the world. He has no plans to retire, which feeds into the stories of his two sushi chef sons. It’s slow-burning, exquisite stuff.
And mouthwatering if you enjoy sushi. You can get a taste of the tale here:
Caught Pixar’s Up with the kids on Fathers’ Day. Liked it better than Wall-E and Cars but nowhere near as much as The Incredibles or Monsters Inc.
The kids liked it but didn’t love it. I wonder if that’s because they didn’t really see themselves in any of the main characters – a grieving curmudgeon, a lonely boy scout and a misfit talking dog. I know, I’ve blogged previously that my daughter sometimes plays at being a Grandma so she should connect with the movie. Looks like I was wrong.
I know the Pixar crew are graduates of the Robert McKee screenwriting courses. It felt to me that they’d gone with some real McKee angles in Up – writing stories/scripts that address universal truths such as loneliness, shattered dreams, grief and old age. Indeed, the first five minutes of the film told a story that almost moved me to tears. After that bit of magic, it was sound the trumpets and bring in the action and gags.
Some of the best gags involved a) old age and b) dogs chasing squirrels. The kids obviously didn’t get the former. As for the latter, we don’t have squirrels Down Under so the joke lost a little impact (though we still laughed). I was also surprised by how Pixar handled some of the later fights scenes (no spoilers from me) and how scary some of the hunting dogs were. The Little Monkey (5yo) found it all a bit tough once the villain arrived on the scene. Interestingly, her cousin the Little Engineer (4yo), had no such qualms.
So, it lacked the wow factor we’d hoped for. And I’m a tad worried that I identified somewhat with the old guy Carl…
I’m now hoping Ponyo might be a better fit for the Little Dragon and I.
Update: I just spent a night making Up mobiles to hang in the kids’ rooms so they must be at least slightly under the Pixar spell.