RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Movies

Let’s go to the Movies

Let’s go to the Movies

Now that I’m getting close the finish line with this draft of my book, I’m starting to really think about what might happen next. Ideally it will be published, but that’s not necessarily the end of the road. I mentioned before that I also studied screenwriting in my undergrad career, and I’ve always had one eye on the screen and one in a book. I can’t help but wonder about the possibility of a book getting turned into a film, but when I think about that I realize that I’ve never really heard writers talk about what that means to them.

Since Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings went to the big screen, it seems as if a huge wave of film adaptations – particularly of children’s book – has taken the world by storm. Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars are slated to be two of the biggest movies this summer, not to mention what’s happening with the Hunger Games franchise, and before that, the way that Twilight exploded on screen. All of these franchises were a pretty big deal before going to theaters, but it makes me wonder about the smaller, lesser-known books that are turned into perfectly good movies and bring the words to life in a new way.

When I think of books turned to movies, I don’t think about The Prestige or Blade Runner, or even Fight Club. Those films all stand on their own, and they don’t necessarily drive people back to the book the way that The Fault in Our Stars and the Hunger Games do. Maybe that doesn’t matter so long as the story is being told. But how much does the writer of that story benefit?

The point of all this pondering is just to say that I haven’t really spoken much to writers about how they feel about film adaptations, or if they would ever want one made of their own book. I’m curious to see what all of you think! I can’t imagine it would be easy as a writer to hand over the rights to your story to someone else, who will then write the screenplay. There are people who write both, though. Ron Howard, for example (the creator of Veronica Mars, not the musician), wrote the TV series, then the movie, and now the novels.

My questions this week are threefold:

  1. Would you ever consider allowing a film adaptation to be made of your book?
  2. Would you want to write that adaptation yourself?
  3. How do you think movie adaptations affect the books they’re based on? What if the popularity of the film vastly surpasses that of the book? Does it matter?

For the sake of starting the conversation, I’ll admit that as I’m re-reading my story (and, in fact, whenever I write anything), I think about it on a screen. My writing is very dialogue-heavy, and I think that’s because I’m drawn to screenwriting so much, which is carried by people talking to other people. Because I like to write for the screen, as well, it would be hard for me to let someone else write the adaptation. I hope it would be the kind of movie that would make people want to pick up my book, but if I were also writing the movie, I think I wouldn’t mind if the book wasn’t as popular as the film. Let me know your thoughts below!

Dinner and a Movie

Posted on

Okay everyone, I have a confession: my geek is going to be showing for this post today. To tell you the truth, I am way too excited about the premier of Catching Fire (I’m going tonight at midnight!!) to blog about anything other than that. If I’m really being honest, I’m too excited to really think about much more than that, so my apologies to everyone who has been attempting to interact with me about something other than the plot of the Hunger Games. On that note, I’m going to attempt to make this post still relevant. So my topic this week is this: How do you feel about film adaptations of your favorite books?

There are so many examples to compare here, with an even larger variation in quality. The earliest film adaptation I can remember seeing (when I really understood that I was viewing an adaptation) was in my tenth grade English class. It was the 1998 Masterpiece Theater version of Wuthering Heights, starring Robert Cavanah and Orla Brady. Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t have anything against Masterpiece Theater. Granted, my feelings about Wuthering Heights oscillate between lukewarm and appreciative. Still, I remember feeling that the film I was watching was ridiculous and, frankly, made me a bit uncomfortable. (Side note: When I saw the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice I KNEW Darcy looked familiar. The same actor played Hareton in Wuthering Heights.)

After that I was particularly wary of screen adaptations. I’m also a member of the generation that quite literally grew up with the characters in the Harry Potter series, so those movies were always taken with a grain of salt, as well.

More recently I saw the film adaptation of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which wasn’t bad, but that book is just leagues above so many other books that exist for young adults in the world that it’s hard to create the same feeling in a film.

I didn’t mind the Hunger Games movie, although I know some people did. It must be difficult to capture a story on film when that story is told in first person. I don’t know the first thing about directing movies, so maybe some of you can speak to this more than I can, but there doesn’t seem to actually be a way to transfer stream of consciousness to film without using a voiceover or filming from that person’s perspective the whole time.

While the film version is certainly good and, I think, stands on its own without prior knowledge of the book, there’s just so much more to the book – to any book, for that matter. The simple fact that you have more space in a book, more time to flesh things out and have little conversations that seem meaningless but add up in the end, is just not true of movies. Anything over 120 minutes better be worth the time, so if it doesn’t fit into that time frame, forget about it.

There’s also more to the experience of reading a book: imagining the world and the characters through your own lens, hearing voices you chose, and everything that comes with the act of reading versus seeing.

Listen, I’d be lying if I said I don’t love going to film adaptations – if for no other reason than to have the opportunity to revisit a story I love very deeply and experience things all over again. But my question to all of you this week is this: Have you seen any truly wonderful (or terrible) film adaptations? What about them really worked for you? Or didn’t?

Now I have to go, I’m making a T-shirt for this movie premier. What, girl can’t get excited? Tick-tock!