Frame Narrative

Ray Burns

Active Member
It's fairly well established that Bilbo does leave Bag End from time to time to meet with 'strangers', so having him meet with the elves isn't that big a stretch. We can also assume with some safety that elves will meet with some humans, specifically the Dunédain. Also, it would not be unusual for the elves to run into a wandering pilgrim in grey throughout Eriador.
 

Shawn Mitchell

Active Member
While I do agree the elves should avoid contact with hobbits and humans, we should allow them to make contact with a select few. Could we have them run into young Haldbarad?
Nicholas,

It seems only fitting, considering her future, that she would be shown to have some contact with one of the Rangers. If this time line happened a year or so after the Battle of Five Armies Haldbarad might be a little to young?? I"m not sure how much passage of time passes between episodes so maybe it's not an issue.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
The Silmarillion takes place over thousands of years with lots of characters who come and go. The main purpose of the frame narrative should be a familiar point of departure for the viewer into ancient Beleriand. Therefore, the frame narrative should be relatively stable, with a familiar cast of characters from episode to episode. I would recommend against a separate frame narrative for each season, lest the story of the frame narrative distract from the actual story of the film. Thus, I suggest the frame narrative be set in one location where characters can tell all the stories to each other. I can think of two settings in the Lord of the Rings satisfying these criteria: Rivendell before the Fellowship departs, and Minas Tirith after the downfall of Sauron. In both locations, the characters can be relaxed storytellers. In Minas Tirith, with the War of the Ring mostly resolved, there is less tension, and the entire story may be told. In Rivendell, however, the outcome is still in doubt, and the tension of the mission to destroy the ring can drive the frame narrative.

I suggest that the frame narrative be set in Rivendell as the fellowship prepares to depart, mainly as stories told to Frodo and the hobbits. The storytellers could be Elrond, Glorfindel, Gandalf, Aragorn, Arwen, Gimli, Gloin, Legolas, Boromir, Bilbo, or any of the other elves present.
Atanvarno, if you are wondering why I take umbrage at the 'no one thought about this' language of your Anti-Frame post, it is because of posts like this from over a year ago in this thread. Clearly, people *have* thought about these things, and tried to suggest frames that achieve some of the things you've mentioned. Granted, many decisions were made after this post was made that negate it, but it's not that these things weren't considered. They were! Do I think we have enough happening in the two months between the Council of Elrond on Oct. 25th and the departure of the Fellowship on Dec. 25th to fulfill the idea of a Frame Narrative spanning 10 seasons? Well, no, probably not. But I do like that the idea was considered, especially since we know that Frodo and Sam did hear the tale of the Great Jewel in Rivendell during this time! It really does fit seamlessly into the story. It would just wind up being more of a frame device (stories told in the Hall of Fire in Rivendell) rather than a Frame Narrative, with the characters leaving the Hall of Fire and having conversations and adventures outside of the story-telling time. (Lego!Hobbits wreck Rivendell comes to mind.)

Now, if where we wound up isn't somewhere you want to be, that is understandable, and worth bringing up. I'm not challenging your right to suggest a better way to do the frame.
 

ouzaru

Well-Known Member
Nor I- but maybe stick to actual criticism of the work we've done so far and how it meets the goals we have (or fails to meet them)... and if in the future you're unsure of the goals, please ask for clarification rather than assume no one else has any idea what they are.
 

Ray Burns

Active Member
Remember when this was a fun little project to imagine how we could bring the wonders and joys and sorrows of the Silmarillion to a larger audience through the medium of television? Yeah, good times... good times. Seriously though, I think that the project has gotten to the point where a FAQ page might be in order. That way, people who are coming in new to the project can catch up without having to sift through various threads and then can bring fresh perspectives to the project. It would also allow people who have been wrapped up in the project from the very beginning to be able to look back and remember the base goal of the project.

And maybe a primer on group dynamics... just sayin' :)
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I think you are right that an FAQ would be much appreciated by anyone trying to wade in at this point in the project. It was much easier to pick up new members in the beginning, but we do need to encourage new blood and new perspectives because this is a massive creative undertaking. We need the help ;).

I am only moderately creative myself. What I like to do is to take other people's ideas and then to work out how that can be incorporated into the story. So...I do rely on people having ideas!

This is a fun little project, and I hope it continues to be so. We can always force ouzaru and Atanvarno to reconcile before the throne of Manwë... (life imitating art will get quite scary in the Silm Film project, I think!)
 

Shawn Mitchell

Active Member
Remember when this was a fun little project to imagine how we could bring the wonders and joys and sorrows of the Silmarillion to a larger audience through the medium of television? Yeah, good times... good times. Seriously though, I think that the project has gotten to the point where a FAQ page might be in order. That way, people who are coming in new to the project can catch up without having to sift through various threads and then can bring fresh perspectives to the project. It would also allow people who have been wrapped up in the project from the very beginning to be able to look back and remember the base goal of the project.

And maybe a primer on group dynamics... just sayin' :)
HOW DARE YOU! LET ME TELL YOU ... haha :p ... No, no, no I'm just kidding. Ray, I think what you suggest is perfect. I've been "listening" to Professor Olsen's podcasts from the very beginning. When it was just him and Dave doing the Riddles in the Dark series. I've been "listening" to this project since it started and just recently decided to jump in and contribute (yeah, takes me a while to find my courage haha). I did so b/c I thought/think it was something fun and exciting. However, there are a few hurdles for people to probably be aware of. There are some VERY informed people, concerning Tolkien's world, on this project. So anyone thinking of jumping in would be better served doing a little "homework" first. Also, those informed individuals (not me of course b/c I'm just starting) have put a lot of time and "heart" into this ... so any criticizing (even if it is a very well thought through) should, maybe, be done tactfully.

I think some of the confusion, at least for myself, is who exactly are we "writing" this for? This is what I mean. Professor Olsen makes a lot of comments like, "... and I don't want the audience to have a hint that Melkor isn't actually repentant." That's just an example. This to me hints that we should be coming at this from the perspective of people who are NOT Tolkien fans ... i.e. someone who will look at you funny if you used Tol Eressëa in a sentence. Now IF that's the case then I have to say that a LOT of what Atanvarno was saying I agree with ... probably should have been put more tactfully though - sorry Atanvarno but it's kinda true. However, it doesn't change the fact that our audience will HAVE to be Tolkien World knowledgeable to follow and get anything out of our frame.

On the other hand there's the selfish side of me. I would prefer to come at this from the perspective of: write this for a reasonably well informed audience. The ideas and fleshing out of this world is, for me, like a kid in a candy store. I mean there are so many informed and talented people making all these really satisfying story lines ... it's every serious Tolkien fans dream. So selfishly I hope we keep creating it as though an informed audience were watching it. However, a newbie might be confused at times b/c what you would write for an informed audience is NOT what you would write for the layman.
 

Shawn Mitchell

Active Member
I think you are right that an FAQ would be much appreciated by anyone trying to wade in at this point in the project. It was much easier to pick up new members in the beginning, but we do need to encourage new blood and new perspectives because this is a massive creative undertaking. We need the help ;).

I am only moderately creative myself. What I like to do is to take other people's ideas and then to work out how that can be incorporated into the story. So...I do rely on people having ideas!

This is a fun little project, and I hope it continues to be so. We can always force ouzaru and Atanvarno to reconcile before the throne of Manwë... (life imitating art will get quite scary in the Silm Film project, I think!)
Let me say ... if you're just "moderately creative" I reserve NO hope for myself!! LOL. MithLuin, you and the regulars on these boards are all very creative.
 
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Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
HOW DARE YOU! LET ME TELL YOU ... haha :p ... No, no, no I'm just kidding. Ray, I think what you suggest is perfect. I've been "listening" to Professor Olsen's podcasts from the very beginning. When it was just him and Dave doing the Riddles in the Dark series. I've been "listening" to this project since it started and just recently decided to jump in and contribute (yeah, takes me a while to find my courage haha). I did so b/c I thought/think it was something fun and exciting. However, there are a few hurdles for people to probably be aware of. There are some VERY informed people, concerning Tolkien's world, on this project. So anyone thinking of jumping in would be better served doing a little "homework" first. Also, those informed individuals (not me of course b/c I'm just starting) have put a lot of time and "heart" into this ... so any criticizing (even if it is a very well thought through) should, maybe, be done tactfully.

I think some of the confusion, at least for myself, is who exactly are we "writing" this for? This is what I mean. Professor Olsen makes a lot of comments like, "... and I don't want the audience to have a hint that Melkor isn't actually repentant." That's just an example. This to me hints that we should be coming at this from the perspective of people who are NOT Tolkien fans ... i.e. someone who will look at you funny if you used Tol Eressëa in a sentence. Now IF that's the case then I have to say that a LOT of what Atanvarno was saying I agree with ... probably should have been put more tactfully though - sorry Atanvarno but it's kinda true. However, it doesn't change the fact that our audience will HAVE to be Tolkien World knowledgeable to follow and get anything out of our frame.

On the other hand there's the selfish side of me. I would prefer to come at this from the perspective of: write this for a reasonably well informed audience. The ideas and fleshing out of this world is, for me, like a kid in a candy store. I mean there are so many informed and talented people making all these really satisfying story lines ... it's every serious Tolkien fans dream. So selfishly I hope we keep creating it as though an informed audience were watching it. However, a newbie might be confused at times b/c what you would write for an informed audience is NOT what you would write for the layman.

I've been approaching this from the point of view of making a TV series that would be successful enough to remain in production until completion. That means that the (imaginary) audience would need to be larger than just those Tolkien fans who are avid enough to read the Silmarillion. It just isn't a big enough fanbase to keep a project of this nature greenlit for however many seasons it takes to make. It is for this reason that I have been a proponent for good character development and action structure from the beginning. I mean, it would be fun for me to watch something where my favorite characters and events were portrayed onscreen, as quite honestly a documentary would do. But that's not what we're making, is it?
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Let me say ... if you're just "moderately creative" I reserve NO hope for myself!! LOL. MithLuin, you and the regulars on these boards are all very creative.
Haha, that is kind of you, but I think you will find that very few of the original ideas put forward are mine. I do a lot of compiling other people's ideas, and figuring out how to incorporate ideas with the stories Tolkien wrote. Don't let my activity level here fool you ;). I have 2 siblings who are better storytellers than I am, by the by.

"Who is the audience?" is an important question - I think we are going for 'attentive/clever person who has watched PJ's Lord of the Rings films.' There are millions of those around the world, and only a handful of them overlap with 'people who have read The Silmarillion.'
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
Let's not compare creativity at this point. This is a project of monstrous proportions and everyone has a place and those who are most active now might need a break or whatever along the way. On group dynamics: I think we will do well if we accept some degree of controversy- the alternative would be people lowering their degree of interest and passion. Just listen carefully if someone thinks they've been misunderstood or mistreated.
 

ouzaru

Well-Known Member
I think you are right that an FAQ would be much appreciated by anyone trying to wade in at this point in the project. It was much easier to pick up new members in the beginning, but we do need to encourage new blood and new perspectives because this is a massive creative undertaking. We need the help ;).

I am only moderately creative myself. What I like to do is to take other people's ideas and then to work out how that can be incorporated into the story. So...I do rely on people having ideas!

This is a fun little project, and I hope it continues to be so. We can always force ouzaru and Atanvarno to reconcile before the throne of Manwë... (life imitating art will get quite scary in the Silm Film project, I think!)
The question is, who gets to be the Spirit of Fire!
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Haha, you'll note I very carefully didn't assign either of you the line "You will lead, I will follow" :p But Fëanor drops out first, too, so that's worth considering.


As far as the audience goes, we are assuming that we are introducing new characters to them and they are getting to know them over the course of the Season (in both the Frame and the Main Story). So, sure, someone familiar with LotR already knows that Arwen is Elrond's daughter and is going to marry Aragorn. But we don't ASSUME that knowledge in our viewer - we introduce them to that gradually/eventually. When Arwen shows up on the screen in the opening of this season, she is someone 'new.' Even if you've never heard of her before, her story arc should stand on it's own and make sense as presented. Those who are 'in the know' will feel clever for having anticipated some of those 'reveals', but those who are just casual fans of the story will still be surprised by a lot of the stuff that is in the book. Viewers of Peter Jackson's films know nothing about Celebrían or her twin sons. Readers of Lord of the Rings who skipped the Appendices and don't remember details mentioned only once will not be familiar with Celebrían's fate. So, we are taking it as a starting premise that we have to introduce Celebrían's story to the audience, and that each piece of it is new information to the viewer - the orc attack, the rescue, the illness, the decision to go into the West for healing. Sure, if I'm the audience, I already know all of this - but I think I would still find it interesting to watch that story unfold onscreen.

What we want to avoid doing is assuming that the audience are idiots who need everything spelled out for them and repeated every time it comes up. Some writers want a TV show that makes sense to someone who is watching episodes out of order, skipped earlier seasons, etc. Thus, they work the key backstory into conversation repeatedly so everyone remembers 'oh, yes, you are the character with the dead mom, or the alcoholic boyfriend, or the child with a chronic illness - because we KEEP BRINGING THAT UP.' If you are writing a hospital or crime procedural, or a show like 'Friends,' this is fine. But our show is not episodic - we have a story that is unfolding over time, not a handful of repeating characters that will be there for 10 seasons. Many actors will only be in one season, or even only in a 3-4 episode arc.

We are assuming that our audience is watching the show in order, straight through the Season. There will be references to things that came earlier (especially if they are from earlier seasons) to help make the connections and jog the memory. But we aren't spoonfeeding them, either. If done well, details can be appreciated by hard-core fans who are in the know, while people new to the story (most of the audience) will still 'get' the story and enjoy strictly for what is onscreen without any additional supplemental materials.
 

Ray Burns

Active Member
I think that the one thing that we have going in our favor is that in our imaginary series, we will be totally faithful to the source material. We're not going to consolidate the seven sons of Feanor into three sons to save money and plotlines. Game of Thrones and the godawful Shannara adaptation both have alienated book readers by their willingness to just dump plots and characters to 'streamline' the story.

Maybe these shouldn't be called episodes, but Chapters. That way people aren't going to start on Chapter 3 and then go to Chapter 7 and then back to Chapter 1.

And I'm assuming that this will be on Netflix so that the viewer can bingewatch all 13 hours in one sitting and be a quivering mass of angst by the end of it.
 

Shawn Mitchell

Active Member
I've been approaching this from the point of view of making a TV series that would be successful enough to remain in production until completion. That means that the (imaginary) audience would need to be larger than just those Tolkien fans who are avid enough to read the Silmarillion. It just isn't a big enough fanbase to keep a project of this nature greenlit for however many seasons it takes to make. It is for this reason that I have been a proponent for good character development and action structure from the beginning. I mean, it would be fun for me to watch something where my favorite characters and events were portrayed onscreen, as quite honestly a documentary would do. But that's not what we're making, is it?
Hmmm, I'm not sure. I mean you have to admit that a story written FOR the informed will always be more interesting for that same group. I imagine there's a middle ground there but that's not as fun! haha.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I think if people understand what sort of story you are telling, they know to watch in order. Most anime is a building story, and not terribly episodic. Game of Thrones or the Hollow Crown isn't something you'd just say 'Hey let me check out this show - what is this, season 3 episode 5? Sounds like a good place to start!'

We might have to (for instance) retread the Darkening of Valinor in the opening of Season 3, just to remind the audience of where we are after the break. But other than a few nods in that direction (oh, right, Tree destruction, fleeing Melkor...), we would just jump right in and get started with the new stuff. We can 'remind' the audience of the death of Finwë when the characters on screen find out about it, so it's not just rehashing, but showing reactions to the news of what happened last season.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
I think if people understand what sort of story you are telling, they know to watch in order. Most anime is a building story, and not terribly episodic. Game of Thrones or the Hollow Crown isn't something you'd just say 'Hey let me check out this show - what is this, season 3 episode 5? Sounds like a good place to start!'

We might have to (for instance) retread the Darkening of Valinor in the opening of Season 3, just to remind the audience of where we are after the break. But other than a few nods in that direction (oh, right, Tree destruction, fleeing Melkor...), we would just jump right in and get started with the new stuff. We can 'remind' the audience of the death of Finwë when the characters on screen find out about it, so it's not just rehashing, but showing reactions to the news of what happened last season.

Like in S02E01, where we re-establish the War to Begin All Wars from the perspective of the Elves.
 
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