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Fun Joel's Screenwriting Blog


-- On Screenwriting and Related Topics

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Location: Los Angeles, CA

I moved from NYC to LA in October, 2003. And though I still think NYC is the greatest city in the world, I'm truly loving life here in the City of Angels. I'm a writer, reader, and occasional picture-taker.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Sunday is for Research

Okay, maybe it's not quite made for it, but that's a good summary of how I spent my day.

As you know, I was feeling a bit less than comfortable with the Western material in Hell on Wheels. So today, Michael Lee and I took a little field trip. See, turns out there's a really cool museum over in Griffith Park: the Museum of the American West, a part of the Autry National Center. It was great. We got to some some excellent examples of Old West artifacts, and took some pictures for reference, as well as got some inspiration for trappings in the film.

Among other things, they have an excellent collection of firearms, mostly from Colt. I learned a lot about the variety and development, plus saw some types of weapons I had never seen or heard of before. Here are a few pictures.

Sorry about any weird formatting, by the way. I'll try to clean that up if need be! Anyway, I thought it was cool the way some weapons were almost crude in their construction, with exposed screws and the like, while others were true works of art. There were also other weapons, such as this Bowie Knife and dagger.

Beyond that, since saloon gambling plays a small part in the film, I came across some old playing cards, and even spent a little bit too much money for an 1864 replica deck.

I also dug this bear claw necklace:

And finally, for fun, here's a dumb picture of me hamming it up behind bars.

Anyway, overall, I learned a lot and we had fun.

But that's not all the research I did today. You may recall that I mentioned that I was also planning to watch a lot more western films as well. One of MLee's faves is Silverado, which I had never seen. So, when I got home tonight, I sat down and watched it.

I must say, it was a solid and fun film with some good characters and color. And again I found a few things to make me feel more at ease with the western material. But at the same time, the film never fully grabbed me. Unlike most of the best westerns I've seen, both old and more recent, this one lacked a really strong dramatic throughline. We never get a feel for what these characters want to achieve in the film. So while it was entertaining, it remained a film that stayed at arm's length, rather than truly pulling me in.

Anyway, I'm hoping this is the start of some good stuff that will make me more comfortable writing the western aspects of this film. Hope you all got a lot of writing done this weekend, and/or got out and had some "real life" fun!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the hand gesture in the jail bars shot, reminds me of Oliver 'please sir, I want some more' ha

12:04 AM  
Blogger Fun Joel said...

More?! You want more?!

Heh heh. Thanks.

12:40 AM  
Blogger Rock said...

A-haha, great pics Joel. Why does it seem so right with you behind bars :-)

9:17 AM  

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