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Benork
03-27-2005, 10:26 AM
I'm thinking of making a short based on one of the stories in the Silmarillion. But I'm struggling on which one to pick. My shortlist so far is:


The Flight of the Noldor
The Coming of Men into the West
Beren and Lúthien
The Fifth Battle
The Fall of Númenor (Akallabeth)


The plan is to write out a nice 10 minute short story from one of the above. I'll then spend the next few months doing a complete pre-vis/storyboards and after that get hopefull turn this into a collaborative project.

But for now.... which story would you choose and why?

Benork
03-27-2005, 11:50 AM
Ok I think I'm going to go with the Flight of the Noldor. It's a great story and I can really visualise it. Much more so than the others. It's going to be tricky to tell the story in 10 minutes as it could easily last 2 hours if told with more detail. However 10 minutes is my aim.

Time to get writing.

Benork
03-27-2005, 01:41 PM
The writing is going well and I'm on fifth page meaning I'm half way towards my 10 minutes. The only trouble is that I've only covered 1/3 of the chapter and I've already had to drop a few bits.

Omissions list: (will be updated)
Morgoth assembling his armies
Feanor & sons making oath
Parting of Feanor and Fingolfins hosts


A large part of me wants to stay true to the book and not ommit anything, but sacrifices have to be made.

If any of the omissions I've made are disliked by anyone then please say :)

Benork
03-27-2005, 08:01 PM
Ok here's the rough first draft. I've left a few bits out as I wanted to keep it under 10 pages, as it happens it's 11 pages but I'm ok with that. It's going to need a fair bit of work but I'd appreciate some feedback on

1) How it reads so far
2) If it's a just interpretation of Tolkiens tale


EXT. WORLD - DAY

The world turns slowly, mountains and hills pass by.

V.O.
The world has begun. The eldar kin live in peace and harmony under the protection of the Valar.
(pause)
Until now.

Darkness starts to cover part of the world we can see.

INT. COURT OF KING FINWE - DAY

The king sits on his throne deep in thought. An aide approaches running lightly and silently along the marble floor.

AIDE
My lord darkeness approaches.

FINWE closes his eyes and re-opens them, he stands and moves to the doors of the throne room. He steps out.

EXT. FINWE’S PALACE - DAY

Finwe looks out at the approaching darkness, it reflects in his eyes. The aide approaches.

AIDE
The people are fleeing.

EXT. THE LAND OF THE NOLDOR - DAY

People can be seen fleeing the on coming darkeness.

EXT. FINWE’S PALACE - DAY

As the shadow approaches completely the aide runs.

The shadow reares up and stops facing Finwe. He draws his sword and holds it by his side defiantley.

Malkor steps forth from the shadow. They stare each other out and he lifts his weapon. Finwe deflects the first blow but is thrown to the floor. His sword embeds itself in the marble. He closes his eyes as the fatal blow lands.

EXT. FINWE’S PALACE - DAY

Hours later Feanor arrives he finds his father slain. Feanor falls to his knees beside his father and strokes his brow.

Feanor cries.

The aide approaches

AIDE
Master Feanor they have taken the Silmarils.

Feanor looks at him aghast and stands.

He turns to the ever retreating and now fading shadow and lifts his fist.

FEANOR
A curse on your traitor. The fallen Valar Malkar that we shall hence forth call Morgoth. May you never escape my wrath and your ruin.

Feanor turns

FEANOR
And to you Manwe a curse for calling me forth in the hour of my father's need. You have betrayed us all.

He turns and runs, tears pouring from his eyes.

EXT. RING OF DOOM

Feanor runs through the night vanishing into the shadows.

EXT. LAND OF THE NOLDOR

The people grieve.

EXT. THE WASTES OF ARAMAN

Morgoth and the shadow move forward and arrive in sight of middle earth.
The shadow reces and Ungoliant is revealed.

UNGOLIANT
Black heart. I have done your bidding yet still I hunger.

Morgoth turns to face her.

MORGOTH
What more would you take. The world for your bloated belly? I did not promise that.

UNGOLIANT
Not as much.
(pause)
You have great treasure. I desire it and with both hands you will give it.

Morgoth shoots her an evil look and takes out the bright jewels of the Noldor.

Ungoliath takes them one by one and devoures them. As she does so her aura and the cloud of darkness grows.

UNGOLIANT
Give them all.

MORGOTH
No. You have had your dues. These I keep for you have been justly rewarded for the power I put into. These are mine. Never shall you see them. I name them onto me forever.

Morgoth turns to leave but Ungoliant attacks and covers him in webs. They struggle.
At last when he is completely trapped Morgoth lets forth a cry. The mountains shatter and the earth opens.

INT. EARTH

A red hue surrounds the life-less statue like creatures. As the scream is heard they come to life, half a dozen balrogs.

EXT. THE WASTES OF ARAMAN

The balrogs ascent from the earth and free Morgoth and start to attack Ungoliath. She slays 2 and runs belching black filth to cover herself.

Morgoth and his balrogs walk now towards middle earth.

INT. MORGOTHS LIAR

Morgoth forges a crown of Iron and as he sets the Silmarils in they burn his hands.

V.O.
And thus the dark lord Morgoth crowned himself king of the world.

He places the crown upon his head.

EXT. LAND OF THE NOLDOR

The Noldor weep as darkness covers the land.

EXT. LAND OF THE NOLDOR - NIGHT

Feanor pushes open the mighty gates and walks in. He walks forwards amongst them.

FEANOR
I summon you all to the high court of the King.

He walks through the city.

EXT. OUTSIDE THE PALACE

Elves gather in their thousands with torches lit on the hillsides.

INT. COURT OF KING FINWE

Feanor stands infront of the throne.

FEANOR
Why, people of Noldor, do we serve the jealous Valar. They who cannot keep us or even their own realm safe from the Enemy. Morgoth is now our foe, yet is he not of their kin? Vengeance calls me, though did it not I shouldn’t stay in these lands. The same lands shared by the kin of our enemy our our fathers slayer.
(pause)
I am not the only valiant of the valient people. Have you not lost your king? What else have you not lost, cooped here between mountain and sea.
(pause)
Here once was light but now all is in darkness. Shall we mourn here forever? Or shall we return to our home? Our kin wait for our return in Cuivienen to forgive us who in folly forsook them. Come away! Let the cowards keep this city!

EXT. THE LAND OF THE NOLDOR

The elves prepare and make ready to leave. They assemble at the gates.

FEANOR
Fair shall be the end. Journey light, but bring your swords, for war and revenge await us.

FINARFIN
Let us be gone!

The elves march out of the lands.

EXT. THE GATES OF TIRION

The hosts approach the gates and they are opened with the blazing of trumpets. As the trumpets stops a voice rings out

MESSANGER
(o.s)
Halt. I bring counsel from Manwe.
(pause)
Go not forth. The hour is evil and your road leads to evil and suffering you do not yet forsee. No aid shall we the valar lend you, yet we shall not hinder your passing. Freely you came and freely you shall leave.

Feanor laughs

FEANOR
Say this to Manwe Sulimo, High King of Arda: If Feanor cannot overthrow Morgoth, he shall at least assail him. Not sit idle in grief. A fire has been set in me, greater than you can see. Such hurt I shall do the Enemy that even the mighty in the Ring of Doom shall hear it. They shall follow me.

Feanor turns and leads his host forwards out of the gates of Tirion.

Shots of the hosts moving forward, with some of the nobles following slower and glancing back at the fading lights of their forsaken lands.

EXT. NIGHT

Feanor walks foremost, proud and against the winds. Amrod walks up to Feanors side

AMROD
Father, I feel we have turned northwards.

FEANOR
That is so.

AMROD
But how are we to cross the great sea?

FEANOR
Fear not. Our kin in Teleri will aid us.

EXT. TELERI - DAWN

OLWE
We shall not.

FEANOR
You renounce our friendship. When you came to our shores it was us that carved out your haven and toiled upon your walls.

OLWE
We renounce no friendship. It may be the part of friend to rebuke a friends folly.
(pause)
True you gave us aid, helped us settle, but those white ships you gave not. That craft we learned not from the Noldor but from the lords of the Sea. I say to you Feanor son of Finwe those are to us as the gems are to the Noldor. You shall not have them.
Feanor turns and walks away.

EXT. FEANORS CAMP - NIGHT

Feanor sits by the fireside in thought. He stands.

FEANOR
We take the ships.

The hosts stands.

EXT. DOCKS

Feanor and his host approach the docks.

FEANOR
Stand down guards, we are taking your ships.

The guard draws his sword and steps forward.

GUARD
May our blood be spilt before you lay hand on our ships.

FEANOR
Then it is so.

Feanor draws his sword steps forward and in a swift motion cuts the guard down.
Battle commences and rages around the docks.

EXT. A SHORT DISTANCE AWAY

Fingolfin’s host appears on the horizon. He stops lifting his hand for the host to halt.

FINGOLFIN
A battle rages, my kin to war.

The elves drawn swords and run forwards throwing bags and packages on the floor as they run.

Battle continues

EXT. DOCKS

The Teleri elves flee, their numbers miniscule and the Noldor board the boats.

EXT. SEA

Crashing storm and many ships are sunk

EXT. COAST - NIGHT

As the elves of Feanor continue down the coast they see a large dark figure towering over them upon a rock.

MANDOS
Undernumbered tears shall be shed. The Valar will fence Valinor against you and shut you out so that not even the echo of your lamentations shall pass over the mountains.
(pause)
On the house of Feanor lies the upmost wrath of the Valar, from the west to the utmost east. Your oath will betray you and take away the very treasures you have sworn to pursue. To evil end will all things turn that you start. By treason of kin on kin and by fear of treason this shall come to pass. Dispossessed shall be forever.
(pause)
You have spilled the blood of your kindred unrighteously and have stained the land of Aman. For blood you shall render blood, and beyond Amen you will dwell in the shadow of death. Those that endure in middle earth and come not to Mandos shall grow weary of the world as with great burden and shall become as shadows of regret before the younger race that follows. The Valar have spoken.
The shadow vanishes and the elves quail. Feanor stands foward turns and faces his host.

FEANOR
We have sworn and not lightly, this oath we shall keep. We are threatened with many evils, treason none the least. But we shall go on and the deeds we do will be the matter of song until the last days of Arda.
Finfarin stands forward.

FINARFIN
Not for I.

A number of elves follow as Finfarin walks away in return. Feanor’s eyes convey sadness then anger.

FEANOR
Onwards kin.

He turns and walks onwards, his host in sway.

EXT. NORTH OF ARDA

Feanor halts and the host comes to stop next to him.

FEANOR
We shall camp here tonight.

EXT. CAMP

ELF
Curse him, feanor the dog, bringer of doom.

A hand reaches down

FINGOLFIN
Calm kin, Feanor does this for the love of his people. He shall not forsake us.

EXT. OUTSIDE THE CAMP

Feanor and his sons are talking

MEADHROS
Father can we not take the land?

MAGLOR
Brother you know that the route is impassable. We should perish.

CELEGORM
Yes but by sea we would have to divide, there are too few boats.
Feanor raises his hand. They turn to him.

FEANOR
Enough, we shall take the boats, tell all that are true to us.

CELEGORM
And the rest.
Feanor bows his head.

FEANOR
Make ready the ships.

CELEGORM
Yes father.

EXT. CAMP

An elf comes running quickly.

ELF
Sire, sire, Feanor has taken the ships.

Fingolfin stands and looks out at the ships departing. He falls to his knees and buries his head in his hands.

EXT. COAST - NIGHT
The elves are all but disembarked. Feanor watches. Maedhros approaches.

MEADHROS
Father, what ships will you now spare to return and whom shall they bear forth first? Fingon the valiant?

Feanor turns to his son and laughs.

FEANOR
None and none.

He turns to an aide.

FEANOR
Burn the ships.
MEADHROS
Father no.

He steps forward. His father puts out a hand to stop him.

FEANOR
You forget your place.

EXT. CAMP

Fingolfin looks out upon the fires of the ships.

FINGOLFIN
(whispering)
We shall meet again.
(to all)
We march across the plains of Helcaraxe. Middel earth awaits.

He turns and walks, the elves follow.


End


The screenplay above is Copyright Benjamin Kelly 2005 based on the works of J.R.R.Tolkien's book The Silmarillion, edited by Christopher Tolkien.

Benork
03-28-2005, 08:39 PM
Ok after some thought I think I'm going to get rid of the part about Morgoth/Ungoliant after they leave the Noldor. It's not serving the story and it's taking up precious time. Shame to lose a battle with 6+ Balrogs though :(

I've thought of some fantastic imagery for this, however my drawing skills are crap. Guess i'd better learn to draw...

Other than that I'd better cut down the speeches, they are too long (and already they are 1/3 of what they are in the book!

This is a minor issue now but I'm thinking of having the whole thing spoken in Elven with English subtitles. (but that is think WAY too far ahead ;))

DorkmanScott
03-29-2005, 07:29 PM
I haven't yet read the Silmarillion so I can't be super helpful, but I feel I should warn you, Saul Zaentz, the guy who owns the copyrights to all things Lord of the Rings (he bought it off the Tolkien estate some time ago), is a supreme bastard. He won't let any unofficial productions go unnoticed. He'll slap you with a C&D and if he can find a way to sue you for damages, he will.

Follow your dreams, but Lord of the Rings is not the best intellectual property to play in. Just thought I should warn you before you pour your blood, sweat and tears into it.

M. Scott

Benork
04-05-2005, 05:49 AM
Thanks for the advice... I shall be careful. However as a non-profit fan film I don't think he could attack me. I will think carefully about it though before I continue.

Isn't he in his mid eighties?

conundrum
04-30-2005, 05:24 AM
great idea (i've always thought that the silmarillion would make an awesome series of short films (like the animatrix, except not cartoons), i'm not sure about litigation and copyrights but i guess if you don't make money or claim its your own story you'll be fine, plus i don't know whether he owns the silmarillion. i can't recall the entire story that well (read it a while back), one part that i thought would make a great section was the fall of fingolfin in his duel with morgoth.

otherwise i like the work you have done so far, although i think it would be nice to do very acurate retellings of specific points, rather than trying to fit everything in without too much detail. good luck though, i'm looking forward to seeing how the story and work progresses

fwtep
04-30-2005, 03:52 PM
Thanks for the advice... I shall be careful. However as a non-profit fan film I don't think he could attack me. I will think carefully about it though before I continue.It doesn't matter if you don't make a profit, you can still be sued. And from what I've heard about Zaentz, you will be.

Think of it this way: You expect to do a really good job on this, right? (I'm assuming that because I don't think you expect it to be too lousy to show anyone.) Well, if it turns out as good as you want, that means it will attract attention. And if it attracts attention it will be seen by Zaentz. So the exact kind of success you want for the film is what will get you into trouble. If it comes out terrible no one will see it and you might be OK, but I doubt that's your dream.

Why bother putting so much effort into something you won't be allowed to show?

Fred

Manuel Ponce
04-30-2005, 03:52 PM
I would take M.Scott's advice,

If the guy is a meen bastard he probably wont care if your doing it for a good cause or not. As long as the IP is in someones hand, you'll need permission for it. The Dragonball people are the same way, even as a mod for half-life. It kinda sucks to have good ideas nowadays, we're all inspired, and all of a sudden the bad news hits.

good luck!

FunkyCowie
05-21-2005, 10:58 AM
So make your idea your own... its as simple as that... so long as it`s 25% different they can`t do a thing, change the names... adjust the story as your doing... use different dialogue... and it will be fine.

fwtep
05-21-2005, 03:04 PM
So make your idea your own... its as simple as that... so long as it`s 25% different they can`t do a thing, change the names... adjust the story as your doing... use different dialogue... and it will be fine.That "25%" thing is a myth. There's no such thing in copyright law or precedent. Change the names, change the dialog, adjust the story a little, and you'll still get sued.

Fred

Manji
05-21-2005, 11:48 PM
Copyright issues tend to get messy, especially when one is talking about such a lucrative license like Tolkien's work. One can turn academic-mode on and talk about how J.R.R would never let his masterpiece be licensed and would love to see it spread and told like an age-old saga, that was always his concept of his work but, getting back to reality, the Tolkien Estate, provided you truly do a good job, will pin you corpse to a wall and beat it senseless till you drop the money they want. It seems that if you just grab some movie screens, make rip-offs of the original work, etc, they don't really get nasty, it's only when you show high quality that they go berserk, probably scared that you will make some bucks they think belong to them.

I think you should try to make/use your own mythos, it might be more hard and time consuming but in the end it will pay off. You can use the same high fantasy setting, if that is your wish, but not set it in Middle Earth.

(if you need any help feel free to contact me, i've got too much free time on my hands :shrug:)

FunkyCowie
05-22-2005, 04:37 PM
But then surely anyone can claim that anothers work, if they find the slightest similarity, is an infringment of copyright... we all get ideas from others, we are inspired by what others do , ok so the source of the OP's story is directly from The Silmarillion but the creativity of the imagery generated will be solely his own work so I guess it could be argued that its 50% story then 50% imagery and audio... so yes he could be sued and he should come up with his own story... but say he came up with this story concept himself and he had never read the silmarillion it would truely suck if the owners of the Tolkien estate laid a lawsuit smackdown on him just because of sheer coincidence so there must be some precedent that could save his proverbial butt, like the 25% difference mythos.

maddness
05-22-2005, 05:16 PM
oopps.... delete this please

maddness
05-22-2005, 05:17 PM
Beren and Lúthien - There is too much going on in this one for just a ten minute piece

my vote is for:
The Fall of Númenor (Akallabeth)

good luck

fwtep
05-22-2005, 05:42 PM
But then surely anyone can claim that anothers work, if they find the slightest similarity, is an infringment of copyright... we all get ideas from others, we are inspired by what others do , ok so the source of the OP's story is directly from The Silmarillion but the creativity of the imagery generated will be solely his own work so I guess it could be argued that its 50% story then 50% imagery and audio... so yes he could be sued and he should come up with his own story... but say he came up with this story concept himself and he had never read the silmarillion it would truely suck if the owners of the Tolkien estate laid a lawsuit smackdown on him just because of sheer coincidence so there must be some precedent that could save his proverbial butt, like the 25% difference mythos.When doing a copyright lawsuit they don't just look for one similarity, it's the number of them and how identical they are. Look at the other posts in this thread for examples.

As for the question of two people coming up with nearly identical stories on their own, well, really what are the chances of that? I know that with patents the second person will be out of luck. It's happened in the past with the telephone and airplane, I believe. I remember hearing about one thing-- it might have been the phone-- where patents were filed within a couple of hours of each other. In that instance, the first guy got the patent. I'm not sure how it would work with copyright though.

Fred

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