Ernie Cline bonus interview!

Uploaded by geekandsundry on May 31, 2012


VERONICA BELMONT: Hey, everyone.
Veronica Belmont here.
Sword and Laser is off this week.
But we have a special bonus interview to show you while
you have to wait for TableTop and Wil Wheaton coming out
this Friday.
So welcome back, Ernie Cline, author of Ready Player One and
screenwriter of many awesome flicks, by the way.
So you actually wrote the screenplay for Fanboys.
Can you tell us about that experience a little bit.
And it was a really painful experience.
But also, elements of awesome, I wrote Fanboys in 1998, which
is when it sets.
It was kind of my response to prequel mania.
I was freaking out, along with everybody else, about the
first new Star Wars movie in 15 years.
And then at one point, I had this thought, what if I knew I
wasn't going to live to see this movie that I'd been
waiting most of my adult life to see?
And what if I was dying or something?
And that gave me the idea of this story about a group of
friends, one of whom is dying.
And they take him on this cross-country road trip to
break into Skywalker ranch so he can see The Phantom Menace.
And I wrote it in 1998.
And it took about eight years to get filmed.
Before it got filmed, it took 10 years
before it was released.
So I wrote it in 1998, and it came out in 2009.
So for 10 years, the screenplay languished.
And then it eventually got made.
And it got made at this level I never imagined with Lando,
Princess Leia, and Captain Kirk all doing
cameos in the movie.
TOM MERRITT: Our next question comes from Boots who says,
"I'm guessing that your experience as a screenwriter
influenced how you wrote your novel.
Did you think about Ready Player One as a movie while
you were writing it?"
ERNEST CLINE: The answer is no.
I kind of wrote Ready Player One with the distinct idea
that it would never, could never be a movie, because of
all the different licensing and pop culture elements.
I just wanted to write a book that I would want to read and
incorporate the different media that I love.
So as I was writing it, I never imagined that it would
become a movie.
VERONICA BELMONT: Dustin asks, "Books don't always translate
well to film.
Yet the movie industry has a habit of grabbing good books
and turning them into OK movies.
More often than not, the books are better than the movies.
What are some book-based movies you think held the
essence of the book?"
ERNEST CLINE: I think the Harry Potter movies did an
amazing job, even though they had to cut a
lot of things out.
And I also thought The Hunger Games was pretty fantastic.
That really captured the spirit of the book, while also
making it cinematic.
VERONICA BELMONT: I would agree on that, for sure.
TOM MERRITT: Yeah, definitely.
VERONICA BELMONT: Those are two great examples.
TOM MERRITT: Especially The Hunger
Games as a recent example.
Andrew wants to know, "Do you agree with Ogden or Halliday
when it comes to immersing ourselves in virtual worlds?"
ERNEST CLINE: I straddle the fence.
I love losing myself online and in video games.
But I also see the need to interact with people in the
real world.
So I try to not lay judgments on that in my book.
I wanted to show both sides of it, because I've had amazing
experiences and met amazing people online.
And I would never want to give that up.
But the real world is awesome, as well.
VERONICA BELMONT: Ala wants to know, "Will there be a sequel?
And will we see more of the messed up trailer homes
stacked, real world in it?"
I have outlines for two more books in the series.
But I have other things I want to write and movies I want to
make before I get to those.
But, eventually, yes.
And the stacks are one of my favorite images
from the first book.
So I'll definitely include more of those.
TOM MERRITT: Where did you draw your inspiration for that
part of the post-apocalyptic scenario?
Was it just something you thought up altogether?
Or were you inspired by something?
ERNEST CLINE: Well, Tom, I know my way
around a trailer park.
I won't lie to you.
I know the layout of a double-wide
trailer pretty well.
So I spent time in trailer parks as a kid.
And as I was imagining kind of this dystopian future, what
would even worse than a trailer park is a vertically
stacked trailer park.
And they were kind of inspired by the favelas in Brazil.
They have kind of these crazy structures
in Brazil that are--
so those were the inspirations for it.
My own experience and favelas.
TOM MERRITT: I'm only sorry that I missed Ernie in Slam
Poetry in Austin.
I stopped going to the Electric Lounge before he
started getting involved in it.
I would've loved to have seen you on stage live years ago.
That would've been awesome.
I have a whole bunch of my spoken word recordings that
are available for free on my website.
So I encourage people to download those
and check them out.
VERONICA BELMONT: And our last question comes from Darren.
He asks, "How far did you feel you were stretching things
from today to get to Wade's real world?
Is it a stretch from today?
Or was this a minor tangent from the current direction of
ERNEST CLINE: That's a good question.
I was trying to not necessarily imagine.
I wanted the real world to be a crappy place to give the
virtual world more weight and be more appealing so that it
would believable that people would want to spend as much
time in a virtual world if the real world was not so great.
So I didn't necessarily try to picture what I think our
future will be like, but maybe the worst possible future.
Like if the climate changed and peak oil and things like
that get worse and worse, then I think that we
could end up there.
But I'm also a big fan--
I believe very much in human innovation.
And we have a huge ability to work our way out of problems
when our back is to the wall.
So I don't necessarily think we'll have future like that.
TOM MERRITT: I hope you're right.
VERONICA BELMONT: I hope you're right, too.
VERONICA BELMONT: Well, Ernie, thank you so much again for
joining us and for answering more of our bonus questions
from the audience.
And where can people follow you online?
ERNEST CLINE: I'm on Twitter @erniecline and also my
website, or
I registered both.
So check those out.
VERONICA BELMONT: Great forward thinking.
All right, well you guys can catch the new episode of
TableTop coming out tomorrow, on Friday, and a new Sword and
Laser the week after.
See you then.