1 min read

Creating that starts with destroying

Not too long ago I saw a video on Twitter (YouTube) of Francis Ford Coppla talking about how he adapted Mario Puzo's novel into The Godfather movies. That started with reading the novel, but then things get interesting.

After reading the book, he destroyed the book. He cut out the pages.

Coppola takes the pages and pastes them into a new form, his prompt book. He calls it an "old theater tradition." He pastes the original book's pages into these paper frames. Those frames give him room to write notes — to react to what's on the page and annotate it with what he needs to know and remember. Reflections, background information, organization. Coppola took this artifact meant to be consumed — this small-margins paperback — and destroyed it to create a platform for further creation, for the creation of what would become the movies of The Godfather. He destroyed this book in its "publisher-given" form to turn it into what he needed it to be.

Coppola showed blatant disregard for the idea of a "proper form of things" — in favor of a deep appreciation for the heart of the book. He is not attached to the form of the book; in destroying it he's working with the book as empty form. Not that I would know — but that sounds right to me, anyway. :) His destruction is simultaneously violating and respectful, in a way I find fascinating.