Frequently Asked Questions for the Silmarillion Film Project

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
At Ray Burns' suggestion, I think we should put together a list of Frequently Asked Questions for those looking to get involved in this project.

So, if people can think of questions a newbie might have, we can come up with some answers to get them started. This should make this project more accessible and less confusing for people learning about it for the first time.

Once we compile the questions and answers, we can pin it in the forums, and possibly ask to have it posted on the website. Let's see how this goes!
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
What is the Silmarillion Film Project?

The Silmarillion Film (SilmFilm) Project is a theoretical attempt to adapt J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth legendarium, The Silmarillion, to the screen in the form of a long-running TV series. No filming or distribution is being done; anything outside of pre-production is beyond the scope of this project. We respect the rights of the content creator and his family to the material and have no intention of violating them.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
  1. What is the website for the Silmarillion Film Project?
    1. http://silmfilm.mythgard.org/
    2. And on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/silmfilm/
  2. Who is running this project?
    1. Corey Olsen, Trish Lambert and Dave Kale of Mythgard Academy are the Co-Hosts. They function as Executive Producers, making the decisions of what shape this project will take. They have ultimate veto power over any ideas, but are willing to listen to other suggestions.
  3. Are you making a movie of the Silmarillion?
    1. No. The Tolkien Estate holds those rights. This is an academic discussion of what an adaptation of this material could look like. Also, we don't have any budget and this is all for fun.
  4. Where do I find the podcasts from previous seasons?
    1. Audio Episodes and Notes are available here: http://silmfilm.mythgard.org/seasons/
    2. or from iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-tolkien-professor/id320513707?mt=2
  5. How do I sign up to listen to the podcast live?
    1. You will have to sign up for each Season. For Season 2, go to this link: http://silmfilm.mythgard.org/seasons/season-2/ and click the "Register for the Live Netmoot Sessions" button. It is typically held at 10 AM Eastern Time every other Friday.
  6. I have THOUGHTS on a topic. How do I share them?
    1. If you listen to the podcast live, you can type in questions and ideas to share with the Hosts during the live broadcast. They often read out comments that are made and encourage listener participation.
    2. You can share thoughts at any time on the discussion boards here: http://forums.signumuniversity.org/index.php
    If it is related to a particular episode, post on the thread related to that episode. Phillip Menzies will share a summary of discussion board activity with the Co-Hosts prior to each broadcast. There are special sessions for other topics like casting that will be announced.​
  7. But that's not how Tolkien did it!
    1. This is an adaptation. Think of this as a well-researched fanfiction created by people who love the Silmarillion. Invention is welcome - we will be depicting scenes that Tolkien did not write. That being said, we are aiming for a faithful adaptation. Also keep in mind that Tolkien himself often revisited and rewrote material, so sometimes there are multiple versions of the story to choose from.
  8. But they're doing it all wrong!
    1. This is a collaborative project, so some flexibility is required. It's okay to disagree with ideas as put forth in the broadcasts, but the project will continue to move forward and probably won't re-tread established decisions.
  9. What established decisions?
    1. This project imagines the Silmarillion as an ongoing TV show made up of 13 1-hour episodes each season. Each season will have a Frame Narrative from the 3rd or 4th Age (in roughly chronological order). The general content of the seasons and episodes is determined by the Execs (with listener participation) at the beginning of each Season.
    2. After episodes and seasons have been planned, it is unlikely that the Hosts will go back to reconsider a question that they have already chosen a decision on. There may be some particular cases where revisiting the material is helpful, but in general, the project will continue to move forwards into new material.
  10. Is there any place for artistic participation?
    1. Yes! We encourage film scoring, concept art, costume design, sets and location research and every other aspect of bringing this story to film. Please feel free to share your work in the discussion forums!
  11. ???
 
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Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
11. What material is being used as reference?

The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien is our primary source, though we consider other material such as the Unfinished Tales, The Lost Tales, etc. when they do not contradict the published Silmarillion, or make for better adaptation. We will also be using The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings as our primary sources for the seasons dealing with those events and for our frame narratives as mentioned above.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
13. I have a great idea for a scene that would be perfect for what the Hosts were discussing in the Session!

Great! Feel free to share it with them during the podcast, or here on the messageboard, or take it to the Script forum and join in the script discussion so that scene can make it into the Script Outline for that episode. Also, feel free to join the Script Discussion team when we discuss that episode to make sure your idea gets in (schedule is available here: http://forums.signumuniversity.org/index.php?threads/script-discussion-schedule-and-updates.351/ )

14. What are the Script Outlines?

After the Hosts have discussed an episode, we plot out the scenes that would be needed to tell that story and try to pace it to fill 1 hour of television. Details such as who the protagonist of the episode will be, what the central conflict is, and how we build to the climax are worked out in these sessions. The Execs have established the basic storyline; we're preparing it to be written up as a script. Everyone is welcome to participate in this process.

15. Where can I find the Script Outline discussions?

On Nick Palazzo's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdlP0kk22eTXhMhXTsp_aFw

16. Can I write an Episode script?

Yes! After the Execs sign-off on an Script Outline for an Episode it is available for someone to tackle with actual dialogue. Be warned that if you choose to post it here, you will be open to critique from others working on this project. We aren't allowed to film a movie, obviously, but writing a script is 'merely' fanfiction and not a problem. If a full episode is too daunting, start with one scene and see how that goes.
 
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MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
17. What Episodes are ready to have scripts written?

Anything from Season 1 is fair game. Please do keep in mind the comments the Execs made during their review of the Outlines in Season 1 Session 20.
Also, Season 2 Episode 1 (the Awakening of the Elves at Cuivienen) has been greenlit by the Execs and is ready. Hopefully, some more Season 2 Outlines will be approved soon (Episodes 2-7 are currently under review).
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
So, I've noticed some new faces on the boards - any questions you have that should be answered here?
 

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
I finally found this thread!

18. Where can we read finished Scripts and listen to the podcasts for previous episodes and seasons?

19. Did you get the Tolkien Estate's permission for this project?
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
18. Where can we read finished Scripts?
We have to write them first....
There is a script for Season 1 Episode 1 in the Script forum. I eventually intend to post completed scripts on the Silmarillion Writers Guild fanfiction archive.
http://www.silmarillionwritersguild.org/
19. Did you get the Tolkien Estate's permission for this project?
Corey Olsen contacted the Tolkien Estate to inform them of this project before it began, so yes, they are aware of it. This project falls under fair use, so the Estate does not need to grant permission. This is an academic exercise, and no one is filming anything. Obviously, the Tolkien Estate has no intention of selling the film rights to the Silmarillion.​


and listen to the podcasts for previous episodes and seasons?
See question 4 above.
 

David_M_R

Member
18.1. Where on Silmarillion Writers Guild can we read the finished Scripts?

20. Can we have a sticky post in the Script subforum that collects links to finished scripts?
 

eclectic

New Member
Hello, folks! I've been a non-participating listener to the podcasts for quite a few years, but this is my first post on these forums. I've found the new scripts being written for this season, and I'm really enjoying reading them!

I've looked around the forums, and what I haven't figured out is: how do I find "finished" SilmFilm content to consume, other than those new scripts? For example, I'd especially like to see what actors have been chosen for the characters, as well as accessing music, art, and older script outlines. When I have looked for these things, I've found discussions about development, and I could re-listen to the podcasts, but isn't there a compact way to see the "final" products?

Unfortunately, none of my creative talents are developed in a way for me to actually contribute to the project. But hey, I'm an avid viewer! I "viewed" 4.1 and 4.2 in my head last night, and I'm hooked!

I do have some fertile ideas for a paper comparing political themes between LeGuin's The Disposessed, Tolkien's world, and the "real" world, if I can get around to some serious writing.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Hello, folks! I've been a non-participating listener to the podcasts for quite a few years, but this is my first post on these forums. I've found the new scripts being written for this season, and I'm really enjoying reading them!

I've looked around the forums, and what I haven't figured out is: how do I find "finished" SilmFilm content to consume, other than those new scripts? For example, I'd especially like to see what actors have been chosen for the characters, as well as accessing music, art, and older script outlines. When I have looked for these things, I've found discussions about development, and I could re-listen to the podcasts, but isn't there a compact way to see the "final" products?

Unfortunately, none of my creative talents are developed in a way for me to actually contribute to the project. But hey, I'm an avid viewer! I "viewed" 4.1 and 4.2 in my head last night, and I'm hooked!

I do have some fertile ideas for a paper comparing political themes between LeGuin's The Disposessed, Tolkien's world, and the "real" world, if I can get around to some serious writing.
This is a thread containing a list of the actors that have been cast and their roles up to Season 3. Voting for characters in Season 4 is currently ongoing until Christmas, and discussions on their results will be on January 2 (tentatively).
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
I'm actually currently working on a document which will make viewing older script outlines and scripts easier (mostly to help accommodate the visually impaired, but having a central point of organization will likely benefit everyone).

As for music, everything I'm aware of can be found on @Phillip Menzies YouTube channel (I'll try to get you a link later).
 

Phillip Menzies

Moderator
Staff member
Hi eclectic,
What you have descibed is exactly what the creative people grappled with in the early days of the project. Unfortunately there is not one simple place where all creative content can be viewed.
I have tried to make my musical content easy to find by creating my own YouTube channel. But an easier way to find my content is to go to the SilmFilm music forum. In each season I create one thread with the title YouTube Uploads for Season _. I create a link in this thread to every musical piece as I publish them.
As to creative content other than from the script team, that is much harder to find. The people who work on locations, props and costumes generally throw suggestions up on a thread but this may differ with what is eventually presented to the hosts. The only way to really look at that material is to watch the YouTube video of the session where Corey and the hosts review the suggestions.
It would be good if we could become better organised and each creative person manage their contributions. At least you can find my contributions through one dedicated thread each season.
 

Kathrin

Well-Known Member
Yes 100% agree I have tried to contribute here and there (in drawings in my case) but honestly it's very difficult to find drawing projects to thoroughly develop in the larger silm film project but it's difficult because the organisation is mostly focused on the storylines. And debates about how things should look are always moving along with those storylines and then mostly discussed in photographic reference material because the debate moves too quickly to really develop sth in drawing and contribute in real time to the debate.

I'd love to contribute more but perhaps we could set up a list of stuff that people would like to have visualized & developed for the last seasons. along with that a collection of all the existing art would be neat. Then we really could build a more or less coherent visual "universe" for the Silmfilm project, of course from all the input of the rest of the project. I just think it doesn't work in real time together with the plot development.

Bre has done a wonderful job doing bigger projects like the dwarf peoples and the valar, but again there she has singled out one thing that needed visuals and done it and maybe if we could do it like that but with more people that'd be really cool.
 
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Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
Yes 100% agree I have tried to contribute here and there (in drawings in my case) but honestly it's very difficult to find drawing projects to thoroughly develop in the larger silm film project but it's difficult because the organisation is mostly focused on the storylines. And debates about how things should look are always moving along with those storylines and then mostly discussed in photographic reference material because the debate moves too quickly to really develop sth in drawing and contribute in real time to the debate.

I'd love to contribute more but perhaps we could set up a list of stuff that people would like to have visualized & developed for the last seasons. along with that a collection of all the existing art would be neat. Then we really could build a more or less coherent visual "universe" for the Silmfilm project, of course from all the input of the rest of the project. I just think it doesn't work in real time together with the plot development.

Bre has done a wonderful job doing bigger projects like the dwarf peoples and the valar, but again there she has singled out one thing that needed visuals and done it and maybe if we could do it like that but with more people that'd be really cool.
One of my deepest desires for this project has been to attract artistically bent people who could depict some of the stuff that has been discussed, so I consider this issue very important. I'm interested in knowing what we can do to make it easier for people to draw the elements that inspire them.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Well, when three different people chime in with a similar concern in less than a week, that certainly gets my attention! (Corey Olsen brought this up in the most recent session too, actually, that he's 'missing' a way to present the creative output of this project to others.)

I agree, eclectic and Kathrin, that it would be helpful to collate images/decisions/descriptions that have been put forward in this project, so that those wishing to 'see' what it is meant to look like can get an idea, and those wishing to contribute images can do so with more confidence that what they are contributing will 'fit' in with the whole.

I think that casting and music and scripts are somewhat organized, so merely having a central place to point people in the right direction may be enough to make them accessible, but when it comes to sets and character designs and locations and props and costumes and all of that....I agree that there is no clear way to find what has been suggested or chosen in those areas. It would be a matter of going back and relistening to the relevant post-Season sessions from prior years to determine what was decided on each point...and then figuring out how to collate that information. Quite obviously, I have not done that (yet). I will let this serve as a reminder that someone should do that before we get into Season 5.

As for 'what would the Hosts like to see?,' they are certainly open to any contributions someone wishes to make, even if they didn't explicitly request it. As a 'for instance,' Haerangil began contributing maps in Season 2, and that has greatly helped with picturing the layout of various cities and locations! Corey Olsen was thrilled to see the addition of a cartographer to the project. In Season 4, they did discuss some creative content in parallel to the plot discussions, in part in the hopes that that would give artists some food for thought and enough time to work out their ideas rather than being hurriedly put on the spot. So, for instance, they discussed what Glaurung would look like, and the layout of Turgon's throne room in Vinyamar, and the activities and music at the Mereth Aderthad.

Here are the links to the youtube videos of the Season 4 sessions on creative content:
Session 4-13: Frame Characters
Session 4-15: Music, Maps, Sun/Moon
Session 4-17: Magic Swords, Maedhros' stump, Eagles
Session 4-19: Casting
Session 4-22: Dragons!
(As a note, the content of these creative sessions was dictated by messageboard suggestions - so this was very much a matter of input from listeners directing the choice of topics to discuss. If something was missing here...we can suggest it be discussed next season, certainly!)

So, for anyone wishing to make some contributions at this time (honestly, it can be for content in Seasons 1-4 of the project), I would encourage you to post them somewhere on the forums before the end of January. I think that the January 30th Session will be devoted to reviewing artwork and costumes, etc.

Also, if someone is frustrated there there is not a particular forum/subforum devoted to a topic, it's possible to request a new one be created. I know our conversations tend to be plot heavy, but I want to make sure that all the creative folks feel they have space to carve out for themselves here, too. Change won't happen overnight, but we can put a request in if there's a desire for a new space - just let us know.
 

Kathrin

Well-Known Member
MithLuin I agree it doesn't have to be explicitely suggested by the hosts, I think the main problem for me is that I lack orientation within the project, and I think the visual part of it could benefit from an "art director" be that a person that knows what has been decided, what still could use development, what exists etc., or be that just a spreadsheet that compiles all costumes, places, creatures etc. that either are already locked down or are being developed by the group or that still lack any visual representation. And that spreadsheet could link to the images and also to the reference material that has been suggested. (I am totally in favor of using reference material especially as a placeholder in a quickly moving or not yet settled discussion.)

I am really just speaking for myself but if I had someone or some place to go to and to get a quick impression of what has been done, how things look with the stuff being developed and where there are totally empty gaps I could just pick one for myself that interests me and do that, and try to also make it fit with other visuals that are related. But probably I should worry less and just pick something and do it. That's just what came to my mind when I saw this discussion.
 
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