Films like Lord of the rings help me to get into the mood, especially as I'm not visual. I don't make pictures in my head -- don't picture the characters I read or write about (though I know what those I write about look like). I think now this explains why I like to see movies more than once. Why I saw Star Wars (later known as A new hope over thirty times at the cinema. I'm trying to imprint the pictures in my head. I used to be able to recite the whole movie, line by line.
But movies and well-made TV shows are perfect for writers of fantasy or historical fiction, because they help set the mood. When I watch them I get a feel for setting. I see details that I might otherwise not have thought of -- and am sent scurrying back to my textbooks with new visions, new ideas. Perhaps it's because when I watch a movie I am in the movie, just as I am the protagonist of whatever book I am reading, whether that character is male or female. I don't care -- I'll go inside any head.
Something else movies and TV shows are good for are helping find that actor who can play your main character. I've had lots of close matches with Arinka. A young Keanu Reeves -- he was perhaps the closest for a long time. Then there was Viggo, ah, beautiful Viggo, but apart from being way too old, his eyes are the wrong colour. Nice, but not Arinka's. And his face isn't thin enough. Then there was Ioan Gruffudd (especially as Hornblower), but he was just a tad too good looking. I toyed with Spider-man's James Franco, and then even more when I saw him as Tristan, but again he was just that little bit too good looking, almost pretty, which Arinka is not. None of them were the perfect fit. Finally, I've found him -- an actor I've been acquainted with on the small screen for several years, but I've only just seen the match. As Hoddel would say (er, forgive the Fiddler on the Roof reference), he's a perfect match, fits like a glove.
Wanna see Arinka? He's the one on the left. Excuse me while I go a bit gooey. Here's another. You just have to imagine him with longer hair, tied back, often plaited.
Tom Ward is the first actor who fulfils all the criteria -- right body, right colour hair, right colour eyes, straight nose, thin face, and as Dr Harry Cunningham, he even moves the right way. (Interestingly, the actor fences and rides horses. Honestly, he's perfect, though admittedly ten years too old.) And, even more exciting, for the first time I have the timbre of Arinka's voice in my head. It's always been there, elusive as a gnat flitting around just out of reach, but now I have it, and it's gorgeous and deep and sexy -- and excuse me while I go a bit gooey again! Yes, my friends, this is Arinka. When are the later episodes of "Silent Witness" coming out on DVD? Hurry them up, please! Perhaps in the meantime I need to get another hold of the BBC version of "Pride and Prejudice", which won't be any great labour to sit through!