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Am I ripping off Firmin? 
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Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:29 pm
Posts: 327
Location: A treehouse atop a hill
Post Am I ripping off Firmin?
Something has been in and out of my head lately. You see I'm currently directing my first play, a low budget thing that'll be shown in a small theatre, and I'm starting to think my ideas are too similar to a book that I really like. I need some reassurance that I won't get sued. Here's a little synopsis of both of them

The Book

Firmin - The Adventures of a Metropolitan Lowlife

The story of a rat born in Boston during the 1960's depression. He was the weakest of 13 babies so to stay alive he ate book pages. Because of this obsession he developed the ability to read but with it a melancholy outlook on life. He spends his days in a bookstore where he takes a foolish interest in the owner, down at The Rialto cinema watching Fred Astaire and blue movies, and with an aging writer called Jerry Magoon who is the first human to treat him like a friend.

My Play

The Rat that danced with Paper Angels

A short performance i put together to pass my Physical Theatre course which i'm trying to adapt into a one act play.
My character Myron is a troubled author who comes from the city of Rattuskotia. A city made of cardboard, graffiti and trash that is abundant in trash and homeless rats. After a drunken mistake he is helped back to his apartment by Private Tinker Sailor Saucepan, a dopey soldier who loves blowing bubbles.
The only company Myron keeps is with his Angels, a set of statues made of glued together book pages that come alive in front of no one else but him, when he kicks Tinker out for being annoying the Angels entreat him to seek a friendship with this rat but Myron is obviously not accustomed to social situations. Luckily they have a book on the subject and help to teach him the value of friendship through different demonstrations using trash, cardboard and a set of rules
He doesn't enjoy making friends with Tinker and ends up shutting himself off from the world to concentrate on his new novel. One day a package arrives from the government to explain that Homelessness is now illegal
In response Myron adopts a young girl named Jasmine who he takes on as a student but she shows him the magic of being a father


* Myron and Firmin are both book lovers who are lonely and seek out friendship
* In Firmin there is mention of a politician dubbed The Bombardier who is heading the renovation scheme. In Paper Angels the person who sends the package to Myron is called The Chancellor of Public Interest
* Firmin is obsessed with human women who he calls "My lovelies" and "Angels". Myron builds statues which he calls "The Angels"
* Both stories are set in cesspools that are being dealt with by the government


* My play is told like a silent movie, with title cards and vocal sound effects in place of dialogue. Firmin is a book that hasn't been adapted to the stage or screen.
* Myron is an anthro. Firmin is a rat who often imagines himself as human
* The Boston Renovation was an actual event. The city of Rattuskotia is fictional
* When I use the word "Angel" i refer to it's latter meaning "A Nice Person"
* Firmin is not about homelessness and he doesn't adopt anyone but he is taken in as a pet
* There are no humans in Paper Angels and no mention of famous novels

Other information

* Firmin did inspire the original performance but i've sought to make this play as dissimilar as possible. The play also takes after the works of Charlie Chaplin and my personal tribulations with writers block and social numbness
* Adapting the novel is something I wish to do one day. Have i let my desire conflict with my creativity?

What do you all think?

Spike - "Seriously, a talking Dog is the weird thing about all this"

Me - "Not at all, the fact that you're a dog and not a lizard is much weirder"

Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:47 pm
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Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 8:00 am
Posts: 1689
Post Re: Am I ripping off Firmin?
If you think that they are too close then it's likely that it is.

Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:23 am
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Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:29 pm
Posts: 327
Location: A treehouse atop a hill
Post Re: Am I ripping off Firmin?
Thank you for replying. I was just in panic mode that day because I was looking at a venue for the show and the whole thing became so, so real you know. But I've decided to go ahead with the project. I think they are different in several respects and I won't get into much bother for it. I'm only a cleaner for a restaurant, as Rocky once said "Sue me for what?".

Spike - "Seriously, a talking Dog is the weird thing about all this"

Me - "Not at all, the fact that you're a dog and not a lizard is much weirder"

Sat Nov 24, 2012 9:41 pm
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