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:
- 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.