If Your Book Becomes a Movie

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Anyone ever dream of their books becoming a movie or TV show?  I do it a lot since I picture a lot of what I’m writing in a visual style.  I’d love to see Nyx casting magic on the big screen or settle in every week to see what trouble Luke is getting into.  It’s a fun dream to have at times because it gives me a feeling that there’s more to shoot for.  Yet part of what I said might hint at some fear too.

We hear about some movies where the author has a lot of influence like Harry Potter and they come out great.  It becomes hard to be angry at changes when you know the author of the book was part of the creation.  Then there are adaptations where you wonder if the author was involved or if they were locked in a basement until the release date.  It could be that some of them had no creative control or they simply didn’t care.  Honestly, this really only comes into play if the movie is terrible.  After all, the author behind ‘Mary Poppins’ hated the movie, fought and failed to change it, and the movie went on to become a beloved classic.

There is a threat too when it comes to adaptations.  If the movie tanks like a bowling ball in a swimming pool then it can take the books down too.  People will steer clear because they think your books are identical to the sucky movie.  At the very least, you stop getting the attention that was built around the movie.  Think back to ‘Eragon’, which was on everybody’s lips when it arrived and was going to be a movie.  Then the film came out and people hated it.  I waited for a rental since I worked at a DVD store and only made it 45 minutes before quitting.  Still it wasn’t long after the movie that you saw the fervor around ‘Eragon’ die out.  True fans and obsessed haters held on while everyone else moved on to the next bandwagon or stopped getting involved in the chaos.

The same goes for if the movie ends up being a great success and is nothing like the original book.  An author can stand up and say they didn’t like the adaptation in friendly or not-so-friendly terms.  Yet that can cause trouble if you don’t have enough clout to survive the fight.  I’m not saying to accept a severe alteration because it’s popular, but to be more diplomatic about your stance on it.  Many authors have banned their books from becoming movies after one is made and they disagree even against a successful reception.  I can see why too because I would have that fear of being placed in a ‘movies are better than the books’ category.  It could mean that nobody would buy my books until a movie comes out because that would inevitably be better.  For many authors, that isn’t a lot of fun and could make the world feel a little backwards.

Now I was originally going to post a fun list of what to do if you find your book being made into a movie.  I won’t because the hell do I know about it.  Instead, I leave it open to suggests and personal thoughts on such an event.  Here’s my entry:

  1. Try to hold onto as much creative control as you can without being inflexible.  It is best that you make the changes to the adaptation to fit it into the overall concept than to let someone else do it.
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Review of Love: Lost and Found by Pamela Beckford

These poems certainly have a lot of emotion within in.  As the title makes clear, they’re all love poems, but there is still a good amount of variety.  You have some that are sweet, some are passionate, and others that seem to be toward a lover who went away for one reason or another.  The different styles make each poem unique and I like that there is an explanation of each style in the back, so the book doubles as an instructional guide.

Get it on Amazon Kindle for 99 cents!

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The Adaptation Station

Movie Poster and Book Cover

Movie Poster and Book Cover

Glad you came to us about your book being turned into a movie.  Here at the ‘Adaptation Station’, we pride ourselves on showing some respect to the source material.  At least 5% more than our competitors.  What if they show no respect?  Well then we’re still better than them, so stop worrying.  Have another Fresca and stop making a mess on the leather couch.  What are we working with here?

A fantasy romance sounds good, but I think you need more robots.  Steampunk is very big right now and you want to jump in on that.  We’ll make it powered by magic and the hero will still have a sword-like weapon.  So those parts are safe.  Ever wonder what a mechanical dragon would look like?  We have the small-scale models already prepared from another movie.  A few tweaks to make it look different and you have yourself a new creature.  You know, let’s forget about that sword idea.  Fantasy and swords have been done to death.  I’m thinking a jetpack and rocket launchers that are powered by fallen stars.  What do you mean swords are a genre tradition?  Look, kid, I don’t know who Tolkien or Martin are, so what they’re doing is no concern for me.

Let’s take a look at this female lead.  Your description is rather flat because she’s not a sexpot.  She’s a warrior in real armor and there’s only one time that she needs to be rescued by the male lead.  It’s when she slips on a stone and almost falls in a river, which isn’t enough.  I’m thinking of bikini-clad sorceress with a shotgun and a penchant for bending over.  I have a book of actresses that you can choose from.  Why are you asking about their heads?  Don’t waste my time on stuff that people don’t care about.  Next thing you’ll be asking for shirts and pants on our choice for the male lead.  Oh yeah, we’ll be changing him from a thin archer to a muscular, beefcake knight.  We believe in equality so he’ll be in less clothing than the female lead.

Looking at your plot, I will admit that you’ve made it very far and have a fantastic fanbase that will see whatever we put out.  That gives us a lot of flexibility.  That subplot about a war that threatens to tear the world apart will be removed because it’s too dark.  So all of those secondary characters will be removed or repositioned.  That cuts out a lot of filler from your book too, which means the movie can be a lean 90 minutes.  If people like the first one then we’ll throw all this into the sequel and pump it up to 2 and a half hours.  I think this part about the goblins who hold the key to reviving the leads’ home valley should be changed.  You have it a negotiation and test of wits, but everyone knows that goblins are evil.  We’re changing it to an all-out slaughter because they are the ones destroying the valley.

So that’s what we’re planning for you book and now I need to remind you that you signed the contract.  As you can see there is a ‘Shut Up and Deal With It’ clause that you can only see under the light of a full moon.  This means we get to do whatever we want and the argument that you thought the contract was an autograph request is undone by the ‘Zip It, Sucker’ clause that you’ll see if you fold it like a MAD magazine cover.  What do you mean this is underhanded?  You want your book to be a movie, right?  Just be happy that you’re getting any attention.  Please, sir, stop crying on the leather couch.

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Noah giveaway

Charles Yallowitz:

Chance to win a DVD/Blu-Ray combo!

Originally posted on readful things blog:

In case you haven’t heard, “Noah” is in stores today! 

The much talked about, somewhat controversial movie has finally been released and is available at a retail store near you.

Here is your chance to win a DVD/Blue Ray combo of your very own. Simply share this post to your favourite social media outlet and then drop a comment here  letting me know you did. A winner will be chosen at random in the following week and notified by email so the proper shipping address can be given.

US residents only (Sorry everyone else :( )

noah giveaway

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Numbness of the Depths

Bombardment of pressure
The vise around my mood
Crushing and grinding
Always one more turn
Making life harder to stomach
Desperate for relief
Even for a day
But the stress builds and waits
Pouncing upon my return

Reaching a point of numbness
Where the motions
Are all I can achieve
Nothing behind the words
An empty smile
Put on for show and shield
Not even a void to fill
Or maybe one so big
It devours all my heart

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Books to Film/TV: Same Story, but Not?

Yahoo Image Search

Yahoo Image Search

“The book is always better than the movie.”

“I won’t read anything unless it has a movie or TV show.”

“I’ll wait until it’s turned into a movie or TV show.”

I’ve heard all of these things from real, living, breathing people and it’s had me thinking about books to film/television for a while.  I won’t jump up and scream that I always prefer the book over a movie.  Many times I’ve enjoyed both even though they didn’t perfectly match up and other times I’ve picked one over the other.  Yet there’s a really big ‘battle’ between book-lovers and movie-lovers when it comes to adaptations.

Funny thing is that it is ALWAYS about books to film/TV and never the other way around.  I remember seeing several movies and then finding the novel adaptation when I was younger.  ‘Blade’ and ‘The Mask’ are two that ring out to me because I remember reading them and going ‘that wasn’t in the movie’.  There were entire scenes that were added to the books much like you chop and condense stuff in a movie, but there was no rage about such a thing.  I never heard of any rage about this, which is probably because people really don’t really read books adapted from films.  So starting off one can see that this isn’t a two way street.  Screw with movies when turning them into a book, but god forbid you change the look of a cat in ‘Hunger Games’.

How could it go wrong with a tagline like that?

How could it go wrong with a tagline like that?

I’ve never really thought much on why people get furious about changes to books.  Many are justified like the atrocity of ‘The Vampire’s Assistant’, which is the movie I use to threaten my wife with since she loves the book series.  Still you have people crying over missing scenes in Harry Potter and those movies are already long.  ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy comes under fire a lot for additions and drawing stuff out.  You see huge articles about all of these . . . wait . . . you really don’t see many ranting about ‘The Vampire’s Assistant’.  I know people who hated it, but you don’t see the same mob levels.

The reason is the size and scope of the fandoms along with the level of respect given to the source material.  I’ll get to respect in a little bit.  You see the bigger and more dedicated the fandom, the more scrutiny the movie adaptation is under.  This is obvious, but there is a wrinkle here.  Rarely is the movie made for fans of the book.  The makers tend to assume the readers will go, so they focus on drawing in non-readers.  At least that’s how it seems to me.  Still a large fandom needs to be factored in to some extent because they will be part of the grassroots, word-of-mouth push.  You see how this balancing act works?  Well it inevitably tips over because many fans want a direct translation.  No hair color changes, snow at the wrong time is a killer, and any tiny move away is cause complaints.  I know this because when my sister and I went to the midnight showing of ‘Fellowship of the Ring’ there was a row of guys with flashlights and the novels.  They were fact-checking the book as the movie went along.

This brings me to level of respect, which is different from pure adaptation.  The truth that many dedicated fans (myself at times) forget in their fervor is that not everything in a book will work in a movie.  You have to cut for time, some things might be impossible to show without an insane budget, and many other factors cause changes.  Some people get it right like with ‘Game of Thrones’ that I hear is totally off-script from the books, but people still love it.  Others get things wrong like the lawyer in ‘Jurassic Park’ living through the book and dying in the movie.  Others totally destroy the source material as if it’s simply in the way like . . . do I really have to keep naming the above movie?

The trick to the adaptation isn’t to do a word-by-word or scene-by-scene, but to retain the bulk and the essence.  Something will inevitably be left out or added and I’ve come to accept that when I go to a movie that started as a book.  It makes things a lot less stressful and it turns the movie into an alternate story.  Kind of like how there are two ‘Fullmetal Alchemist’ series that run in different directions, but are both entertaining.

There’s no point in going into a film or book ready to tear it apart because you’re going to find everything wrong that way.  At least wait for it come on TV and not waste money on admission if you’re going in expecting your book to have been bastardized.  It’ll inevitably happen because you’re a fan and love the books.  Yet, I’m sure if the biggest fan of a series made it into a movie there would be other fans that hate it because it doesn’t fit their own vision.

Anyway, that’s my initial rant and thoughts on the subject.  Feel free to let your thoughts known.  For an added challenge, try to do it without mentioning ‘Twilight’.

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A Kind Spirit Has Published! – (“Finally Back Home” by Irfaan ‘Ihsan’ Jaffer)

Originally posted on Views From A Poet:

Though he has recently experienced a horrible crash of his site, a loving spirit has published his poetry!  Thanks to the staff at WP his site is restored!  Magical!  Please allow me to direct you here:

Finally Back Homeby Irfaan ‘Ihsan’ Jaffer

There is not a poem, in this collection, one could not sit with and find peace.  Thank you, Ishan, for this prayer and gift and hope.

I look forward to reading these poems again and to immerse myself into their flow.

Ellespeth

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