October 6- Lab

Warmup exercise: Interview

  1. What is your version of Motherless Brooklyn about?

My version of Motherless Brooklyn focuses on the language that is used throughout the novel and more specifically, Lionel’s tics. I will show connections between different scenes throughout the novel and be sure to focus on Lionel as a hard-boiled character, because he is what makes this novel what it is.

  1. What are some challenges in adapting this novel into a film?

One challenge in adapting this novel into a film will be finding the perfect actor to play Lionel Essrog. If this role is not played by the perfect fit for it, then the movie won’t be as successful as many would’ve expected it to be. Some challenges also include organizing the ideas scattered throughout the novel in an intelligent manner that makes sense for the film.

  1. Why do you think Lionel is such a compelling character?

I think Lionel is an extremely compelling character due to the fact that he is unique and he isn’t similar to any typical hard-boiled character. His Tourette’s is the most compelling aspect in my opinion. We get a chance to have an insight on his mind and thoughts, and therefore can relate to Lionel on an emotional level, or even feel bad for him. He personifies his Tourette’s and we see how much this syndrome can control every single aspect in someone’s life.

4. What’s one thing you hope people will take away from your film    version of Motherless Brooklyn?

I hope people will recognize how different and unique this film is, why the narrator being Lionel. The acting will be tough as it will be difficult to recreate a character like his, but with the right amount of work and effort put in anything is possible. I hope we connect with our audience enough for them to have enjoyed the movie and hopefully they can suggest the movie to their friends and family, which would continue expanding our audience.

Task one: Log Line

  • The protagonist: A free human freak show
  • The goal of protagonist: in search of acceptance and to be understood
  • The antagonist: by himself first, and then hopefully those associated with him

-> Fitting the information into a specific structure:


When faced with problems he has absolutely no control over, the human freak show, Lionel, must accept his Tourette’s himself, because how you accept yourself is how you teach others to accept you.

  1. Ask 4 questions about the novel starting from the end, and making your way to the beginning
  • Is Lionel successful in the end? (He gets success with his detective life, but none with regards to his love life)
  • Does Minna lie to him? (After discovering the truth, Minna didn’t tell Lionel all of it… Feels somewhat betrayed, but makes it out alive. Now refers to himself as what Minna once referred to him as)
  • Who accepts Lionel as he is (Minna and those around him eventually begin to accept Lionel, even before he learns to accept his Tourette’s himself)
  • Does Lionel have an easy childhood? (Lionel is left homeless, with no guidance and help from his parents, which is why Minna must step in and becomes his mentour)
  • Is Lionel comfortable talking about his Tourette’s? (He’ll talk about it through his narration, but not as openly when facing other characters)


Sara Vetere 


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