adaptation, art, and authenticity: an afternoon with donald miller and steve taylor.

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit in on a small artists luncheon, followed by a larger question and answer session, with author Don Miller, and musician/producer/director Steve Taylor held at Mars Hill Graduate School in Seattle.

Miller and Taylor were in town to spread the news that they have undertaken and completed the unenviable task of turning Miller’s well-loved memoir, Blue Like Jazz, into a screenplay. For those who feel like this is an impossible task, you are half right. The screenplay does not follow the loose and winding plot line of the book, which often lacks chronology. Don and Steve instead created fictionalized versions of the characters in the book, and then created a story which remains true to the “enlightenment arc” of the memoir. Their desire seems to be honoring the trajectory and spirit of the original text, without following each story and moment in a line by line translation of the book. It seems more than a little interesting to me that their adaptation of a book called Blue Like Jazz entails them elaborating and improvising on an existing core structure, or ‘chord structure’ if you will.

As far as the luncheon was concerned, it consisted of a small group of young painters, writers, photographers, musicians, storytellers and screen writers. It was about an hour’s worth of conversation about art, process, light, darkness, and authenticity.

For the rest of the post, head over to our intern blog over at The Other Journal: otherwords


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