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Back from LA with Honorverse move news

Join us in talking discussing all things Honor, including (but not limited to) tactics, favorite characters, and book discussions.
Re: Back from LA with Honorverse move news
Post by kzt   » Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:51 pm

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This all sounds great. I've always thought that HotQ is a far easier book to convert into a movie. It's also my personal favorite book. :D

Letting the movie people do the art concepts they need makes perfect sense. There are a lot of really sharp people working in the industry who can come up with amazingly creative concepts and then make them totally believable. If they are willing to be guided by your ideas as to what it should look like that is even better.

It will also be fascinating to see how a treecat looks and moves once an expert can a full 3d model with a skeleton, joints and muscles.
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Re: Back from LA with Honorverse move news
Post by Bergie   » Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:04 pm

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The easiest way to make them look different is simply to have them painted a different colour, which should be fairly easy in-universe owing to the smart paint.

As for the Grayson/Masada Ships, the pictures we have of them look different than Havenite/Manticoran ships due to the arrays they have in the pictures available in the Companion. They can also have different interior sets and uniforms to help distinguish them more.

Honestly, I am personally on the side of keeping things as close as possible. When I watch a movie where two sailing ships are fighting, I do not want one of them look completely silly or unrealistic just to distinguish them. Editing can and does do a lot to distinguish individual items, people, or vehicles which look very similar.
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Re: Back from LA with Honorverse move news
Post by Jonathan_S   » Mon Jul 29, 2013 3:29 pm

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Bergie wrote:The easiest way to make them look different is simply to have them painted a different colour, which should be fairly easy in-universe owing to the smart paint.
Navy "branding" with paint was my first thought. But I think Evergreen was looking to go beyond just which navy, and also give each ship category/weight unique looks which help clue viewers into "this is another DD" or "look how much bigger, scarier this ship (BC) looks than the CA".

So when White Haven shows up at the end with his BatRon you can see just from the exterior show that not only do the ships belong to the same navy as Honor's battered Fearless, but that they're each roughly equal to the Masadan's BC.

Or when we see Thiesman's DD we can tell it's roughly comparable with Troubadour


Without some exaggerated styling, or an external scale reference, HOS drawings of DDs don't look all that different from SDs. (Although even in real life that was a problem for certain wet navy ships. There were some CAs classes that often got mistaken for BBs due to similar superstructure profiles)

Edit: I wonder if they're somehow going to make the Grayson ships look 'old fashioned' while still being identifiable as destroyers or cruisers.
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Re: Back from LA with Honorverse move news
Post by Bergie   » Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:00 pm

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Exaggerated weapons mounts is one way. If you only have one "Weapon's Deck" or if one deck is markably bigger, you can use it to get some sense of scale.

I think that the biggest issue isn't so much the ships--as I said, careful editing of battle scenes should be able to differentiate "Good Guy" and "Bad Guy" ships fairly clearly with only paint--but with the scale of the fighting itself. Ships are hundreds of km apart when in close formation, and even further apart when cruising. . .
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Re: Back from LA with Honorverse move news
Post by Spacekiwi   » Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:01 pm

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Jonathan_S wrote:Edit: I wonder if they're somehow going to make the Grayson ships look 'old fashioned' while still being identifiable as destroyers or cruisers.




Steam funnels? ......



:D
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Re: Back from LA with Honorverse move news
Post by Jonathan_S   » Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:13 pm

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Spacekiwi wrote:
Jonathan_S wrote:Edit: I wonder if they're somehow going to make the Grayson ships look 'old fashioned' while still being identifiable as destroyers or cruisers.




Steam funnels? ......



:D
Might be too subtle. Paddle wheels? ;)
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Re: Back from LA with Honorverse move news
Post by Mitchell, Esq.   » Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:47 pm

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Shut up and take my money.

However you resolve whatever comes up, I'm going to see this:

"I intend to hold the belly of our wedge towards her all the way in. We don't have the ammunition to stop her with missiles, so we're going to close to pointblank range unless she shears off. Set up your fire plan on the assumption that I will roll to bring our port energy broadside to bear at twenty thousand kilometers."

Cardones simply nodded once more, but someone hissed. That wasn't energy weapon range; it was suicide range.

"She won't know exactly when we intend to roll," Honor went on in that same, calm voice. "That should give us the first shot, and at that range, it won't matter how tough her sidewalls are." She held Cardones' gaze with her single eye and spoke very softly. "I'm depending on you, Rafe. Get that first broadside on target, then keep firing, whatever happens."
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Re: Back from LA with Honorverse move news
Post by Theemile   » Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:54 pm

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Jonathan_S wrote:Might be too subtle. Paddle wheels? ;)


Backup sail masts - always gotta keep the sails in case the steam plant fails.....
******
RFC said "refitting a Beowulfan SD to Manticoran standards would be just as difficult as refitting a standard SLN SD to those standards. In other words, it would be cheaper and faster to build new ships."
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Re: Back from LA with Honorverse move news
Post by Grabthar's Hammer   » Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:09 pm

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runsforcelery wrote:
Snip -
Frankly, the number one issue is going to be bringing Nimitz to the screen and integrating his relationship with Honor into the screenplay in a way which will allow people not already familiar with the books to recognize that Nimitz is far more than simply a pet. I’m sure nobody will be surprised to learn that the “Evergreen Nimitz” isn’t going to look exactly like anything we’ve already seen in print. Partly, that’s because Evergreen is going to be able to do things in terms of modeling musculature, skeleton, facial expression, the movement of ears, etc., that simply can’t be done by a cover artist. Partly it’s because movies are such an intensely visual environment that they almost have to do more in developing the treecats’ physical appearance because of how long he’s going to be on-screen and how critical his relationship with Honor actually is.
Snip -


It's marvelous to hear about the progress to date, congratulations for your endeavours, may they reap a fruitful harvest.

But.

Please, Please, Please, Please, Please, Please, Please, Please, Please, Please, Please, Please, Please DON'T, let them Jar-Jar Binksify, Nimitz.
    ~:~ ~:~ ~:~ ~:~
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    Re: Back from LA with Honorverse move news
    Post by runsforcelery   » Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:16 pm

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    Answering questions and comments in no particular order.

    (1) I have pointed out the smart paint to Evergreen, and I expect it to be used. They’re also looking from for something more . . . architectural, though. Someone pointed out that careful editing should make it clear who are the good guys and who are the bad guys, but if you can come up with something that’s sufficiently visually distinct, the editing constraints get much easier and you can edit as works best to tell the story rather than editing specifically to make sure information is delivered. One reason I’ve always gone with the infamous “infodumps” in the books is that I believe the reader needs certain information if he’s going to really understand how the technology being described defines the parameters of a naval officer’s tactical menu. The same thing is true at the strategic level; the reader needs to know what the political landscape looks like in order to understand the decisions made on political and grand strategy issues. In a movie, where information can be delivered visually, there’s going to be much less need for that sort of deep background, and a movie audience is going to have a higher percentage of viewers who really don’t care about the nuts and bolts. The trick then becomes, to at least some extent, making sure that everything that happens is consistent, coherent, and at no point contradicts the underlying physics. Those of you who know how in power drive missiles work will be in a position to understand what’s happening on a more detailed level; viewers who don’t know that was simply understand that the tactical officer knows what he’s doing when he fires them off. The point that I’m trying to make in a somewhat tangential fashion is that “branding” the navies strongly enough to be visually differentiated by a newcomer to the Honorverse very quickly is part of the visual “hard coding” for the movie which then freeze up space and time to deal with other aspects of the story.

    (2) Someone asked if I can drop any hints on what the ships are likely to look like, and the answer is no. As I said in my last post on this topic, we’re at a very, very early stage, and the original concept art had been executed by someone who didn’t yet fully understand the Honorverse’s physics. That led to some idiosyncratic layouts that couldn’t possibly be made to work within those physics’ constraints. As a result, there’s a large amount of “back to the drawing board” ahead of us. I think we’ve gotten at least the absolute bare essentials established, but it’s a very much a work in progress and one that’s going to require a lot more work before Evergreen (or I) have anything we’d feel comfortable about sharing with you guys. If we came up with something that you all really, really disliked and stuck it out there before my “fan beta testers” have had any opportunity to react to it, it would probably do serious damage to the project in the eyes of those of you who are most deeply committed to the existing Honorverse visualization. That probably wouldn’t do us a lot of good from a marketing viewpoint, but that’s by far the smaller part of my concern where “keeping faith” with the existing fan base is much more important to me.

    (3) Someone commented on the need to maintain a sense of the vast scale of the distances involved in ship maneuvers and combat, and this is something which Mike Devlin and I have discussed and which has been emphasized in several of our conferences. Mike is really excited about doing genuine fleet engagements, although given the relatively small number of ships involved in HotQ, the kind of fleet engagements he really wants to do — a solid wall of superdreadnoughts belching missiles at its opponent — are going to be harder to come by in the first movie. We need to come up with a way to legitimately put ships into frame with one another well enough to establish the size differential, if nothing else, and I’ve suggested at least one scene which would do that while simultaneously punching up the Peeps’ diplomatic efforts early in the movie and which, I think, will probably be adopted. It’s also probable that actual engagement ranges will be reduced somewhat for visual effect in battles where people actually get to energy range of one another, like the Battle of blackbird or Fearless’ dogged approach under fire to Thunder of God at the climax of the book. As far as missile engagements are concerned, however, they definitely want to maintain the sense of vast separation between the engaged forces, so I don’t think we’re going to see any scenes where Enterprise closes to smoothbore pistol range of her opponent. This is a valid point of concern, and one we’ll do our dead level best to avoid screwing up.

    (4) Someone expressed my own greatest fear where book conversions are concerned: the “dumbing down” to the lowest common denominator. It’s very probable that many of the political issues and finer nuances of the technology and the tactics will be downplayed or even completely deleted/ignored in the final script. Some of that is going to be inevitable, given the difference between the media and the fact that we’re not going to be handing out any of those infodumps. Some of it is going to result from the simple fact that we’ll only have about 90 minutes of screen time, which isn’t enough to give room for all the things I can do in a novel. We’ve discussed the religion issue, and there’s agreement that to really understand who the Graysons are, you have to deal with their religious beliefs. The trick is going to be doing that in a fashion which flows naturally within the story of the movie and (hopefully) lends itself neither to the religion-bashing/trivializing Hollywood seems to prefer nor to a sense on the part of people of faith that their own beliefs have been satirized or caricatured while simultaneously avoiding heavy-handed preaching to an audience less immersed in the Honorverse than you guys are. For example, I deliberately named the Faithful’s planet Masada to make the point that religious symbolism can be appropriated, distorted, and misused, yet this might be something we’d need to consider renaming. (I hasten to point out that no one at Evergreen has suggested any such thing at this point; I simply choose it as an example of some of the potentially sensitive spots that the call for some careful thinking before the screenplay is finalized.)

    This is the tag end of July. Honorcon is in November. That gives us roughly 90 days to nail enough of this down to let us feel comfortable giving the folks who come to the con a sneak preview of where we’re going. Obviously, anything that comes to Honorcon is still going to be preliminary art, but we do need to get it nailed down well enough to let us do at least the first few issues of “Tales of Honor,” since we don’t want inconsistencies between the art in the graphic novels and that in the movies. Or, at least, we don’t want inconsistencies which are any greater than we can avoid. So I’ll probably have a lot better feel in the next couple of months for exactly how all of these visual elements are going to come together.

    When Peter Jackson decided to undertake The Lord of the Rings, I knew that he was bound to get some of it — probably some of the more important parts of it, for me personally — wrong, and he did. But he got the vast majority of it right, even if it wasn’t always my “right.” I think that’s what’s going to happen here. And I also think that Evergreen is going to be enormously more respectful of the original book and the literary Honorverse than far too many cinematic productions have been to their literary roots.

    One thing that’s going to have to happen is that the total number of characters are going to have to be winnowed down. You may, perhaps, have observed over the years that I put a lot of named characters into my books and that I like to go back and develop secondary or tertiary characters into more important roles as the series grows. This poses a particular problem for bringing the Honorverse to the screen because there are going to be characters in the movie who will be enormously important to Honor later on (I might mention Hamish Alexander, for one) who are going to be “bit players” this time around. The fact that they become significantly more important in later books/movies will probably mean that we need to get better actors, with more presence, to portray them, but justifying paying someone like that what he or she is worth for a character who spends very little time on screen gets tricky . . . unless there’s a way to legitimately give them greater screen time by increasing his/her importance. One way you can do that is to combine more than one character into a single role. Sometimes this is good; sometimes this is bad. An example of good that comes to mind for me in this respect is the Clint Eastwood version of David Balducci’s novel Absolute Power. As it happens, I’d read the novel less than two months before I saw the movie, which meant I was very much aware of where they had departed from the book, including the fact that Eastwood’s character, Luther Whitney, survives instead of dying summer between half and two thirds of the way through, and that Ed Harris’ character (Seth Frank) combines two separate characters from the book into a single individual. There are a lot of other divergences, and yet it’s always seemed to me that the movie was faithful to the spirit of the book. An example that comes to me of bad — both in terms of “dumbing down” and in terms of characterization and/or re-characterization that was totally at odds with the characters in the book — is the Matt Damon version of The Bourne Identity. The Richard Chamberlain 1988 4-hour made-for-television version took some significant liberties with the original plot, especially in the final fifteen or twenty minutes when Carlos is killed off (instead of escaping the way he does in the book), but it was very respectful of the original book and portrayed Robert Ludlum’s story with great faithfulness despite some internal reshuffling. The Matt Damon movie was not and did not. It has a lot more high-tech glitter and continual action than the Chamberlain version, but if you haven’t seen the made-for-TV version, you really ought to look it up. In my opinion, it’s not simply more true to the original book but a much stronger production on its own rights, as well. I’m quite sure from my discussions with Evergreen to this point that the plot of HotQ will be much, much more faithfully adhered to than is usually the case in Hollywood adaptations. It definitely will not be a case of buying the name of a novel so that you can jack the title up and run and entirely different movie in beneath it! But that doesn’t mean that we’re not going to have to make some hard choices about which characters make it into the movie, how much screen time they get, and whether or not Character A and Character B are going to be combined into one person.

    I hope this doesn’t raise more concerns and it’s addressed, but as I know more, I’ll be able to share more with you.

    Take care, all.


    "Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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