Thursday, November 29, 2007

Heading bookward

I'm writing The Graveyard Book right now. Or at least, trying to get back to the place where The Graveyard Book is. Yesterday I called in the colour and lettering corrections on Absolute Sandman Volume 3 -- finally, Dalmatians will be spelled correctly! -- and today I have to write an introduction to a script in it (for Sandman 50 -- the only Not Full Script in the whole 75 issue run) and an afterword to the volume as well. (Next year DC are bringing out Absolute Sandmans 3 and 4.) And today I'm also writing a foreword to a book of essays by the late Professor Frank McConnell, who wrote the introduction to THE KINDLY ONES and was a remarkable and fine man.

Hello! While I'm sure Mr. Gaiman himself won't read this, and from the look of a similar question in the FAQ section, he may not want to.

My friend and I are looking to write a short story and/or screenplay based off of the main plot elements in Sandman IV. We're not sure if if we need to go through any legal loopholes to do so, and thought you may be more helpful than emailing DC first.

Thank you very much,

Michael Garrity

Michael, it's a great big blog, filled with information. A quick site search shows that I first answered this question in October 2002, over five years ago. There's even an answer in the FAQ section, because it's a question that's frequently asked. (You comment on having read the answer in the FAQ at the beginning.) It's still the same answer, I'm afraid. If you want to do a Sandman thing, you would ask DC Comics or Warner Brothers, and they will almost certainly say no.

A question of nudity...

Almost every review of "Beowulf" has focused on the handling of Beowulf's nudity when he fights Grendel: many finding it unintentionally funny, one or two speculating that it was *intentionally* funny, but still, lots of people fixated on it. (By the way, I do like how Caitlin's novelization spells out that Grendel has no sex organs, so nothing to see there, literally...) It seems worth asking, how much was the treatment of Beowulf's nudity a decision you and Avary made, and how much was it a decision Zemeckis made? I wonder if there was a chat along the lines of "He's naked in the original poem, so how do we deal with that on film, where male nudity means an automatic R?"

(As a friend who saw and loved "Beowulf" said, "I was promised nudity! Angelina's naked, but she's covered! Beowulf's naked, but HE'S covered!")

Chris Walsh

P.S. To change the subject abruptly, thank you for mentioning Project Erin last month.

That sort of thing - how you shoot a naked fight, or indeed a clothed fight - is entirely a director's decision. (In a film like Beowulf, where every pixel is a decision, I think you can pretty much assume that everything is the director's decision).

If you're curious about what Roger and I had originally written in May 1997 (what I think of as the Jabberwocky Version) and then about what the final shooting script looked like (which was the Roger-and-Neil final draft as amended by Robert Zemeckis before he started shooting), with extensive amazingly honest introductory material by Roger on how it started and then how it came back to life, and why in the end Roger sold it to Steve Bing's company for Bob Zemeckis to direct rather than make it himself, then you might want to check out the Script Book --

Dear Neil,

I read your site everyday, and STILL I'm not a famous author, what am I doing wrong?


At a guess, either you aren't writing enough, you aren't finishing things, you aren't getting them published, or, if you're doing all of those, you're worrying about the wrong things. Anyway, famousness is probably about as useful for an author as a large, well-appointed hiking backpack would be for a prima ballerina. Honest.

Right. Back to work.

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