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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What changes to the story would you be OK with? ;)

What changes would rip you apart? :'(

Think hard...be honest. Remember: nearly every story in print (short of some Jane Austen) needs to be revised to some degree to work on film.

Example of being OK with a change: I wrote a spec screenplay of my novel East Wind Returns. It was necessary to merge two violent scenes into one, to prevent introducing a character just to kill them 30 seconds later. As a result, a more established character that survives the book dies in the screenplay.

WPG
 

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Having had a screenplay of mine bought, only to have the production company crazily decide to 'improvise' around my central concept - naturally it was a total mess and waste of celluloid. But it taught me that if you're going to have a movie made of something, the best thing to do is graciously say thank you for the money and step away, resist the urge to try and control anything.

All you can do is hope that you get a director who 'gets' your vision and wants to see it onscreen.

Film and books are such different mediums that its probably the only sane way to view it. Reducing a two or three hundred page book to a 90 minute story means there's going to be casualties :)  Having done the brain damage of writing a few film scripts, I'd rather let someone else have that chore. Given the way Hollywood and elsewhere in film work, the writer is very low on the totem pole. Rather than have ones nose rubbed in it, I'd be happy if someone wanted to try make a movie from one or another of my books, and would simply let them get on with it. It'll be what it'll be.  The books I have are actually from film scripts that were considered too expensive to make, so I wrote them out as novels. Hollywood likes books that sell, even from unknowns - whereas epic scripts from unknowns they're less likely to trust. Its a weird thing but that seems to be how the cookie crumbles.
/my 2 cents worth :)
 

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Ian Fraser said:
if you're going to have a movie made of something, the best thing to do is graciously say thank you for the money and step away, resist the urge to try and control anything.

All you can do is hope that you get a director who 'gets' your vision and wants to see it onscreen.

Film and books are such different mediums that its probably the only sane way to view it. Reducing a two or three hundred page book to a 90 minute story means there's going to be casualties
^^^ This. :)
 

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I'd just be happy with the cheque.

The odds of someone actually making a movie of your book are low. The odds of it actually being a good movie are even lower. The odds that they'll stick with your actual story are virtually non-existent.
 

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Ian Fraser said:
Having had a screenplay of mine bought, only to have the production company crazily decide to 'improvise' around my central concept - naturally it was a total mess and waste of celluloid. But it taught me that if you're going to have a movie made of something, the best thing to do is graciously say thank you for the money and step away, resist the urge to try and control anything.
Yep, once sold, it's pretty much out of your hands unless you're J.K. Rowling.

I've co-written the screenplay for my first novel, Predators of Darkness: Aftermath, and we're currently shopping it around. I know once a director gets it, I'm out of the picture. I can only hope they do it justice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ian Fraser said:
Having had a screenplay of mine bought, only to have the production company crazily decide to 'improvise' around my central concept - naturally it was a total mess and waste of celluloid. But it taught me that if you're going to have a movie made of something, the best thing to do is graciously say thank you for the money and step away, resist the urge to try and control anything.

All you can do is hope that you get a director who 'gets' your vision and wants to see it onscreen.
Now that's what I was looking for, Ian: some honest revulsion at the filmmaking process, assuaged by liberal amounts of money. ;D
 

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William Peter Grasso said:
What changes to the story would you be OK with? ;)

What changes would rip you apart? :'(

Think hard...be honest. Remember: nearly every story in print (short of some Jane Austen) needs to be revised to some degree to work on film.

WPG
It would depend on who was buying the movie rights and making the movie. Honestly, unless you have a blockbuster mega-novel you are not going to have any control of conditions or approval or cut or scenes or story or anything so it is sort of a moot point to conjecture what "changes you would approve."

If you have a middling novel Hollywood wants to adapt to a screenplay they will do it their way, not your way. Otherwise, it's on the the next deal. Unless you're fluent in LA-ese best to have a good entertainment agent or lawyer handle the deal and take all the money you can get.
 

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I think changes that would bug me would be changes that significantly changed the plot or characters.

However, one of the novels I'm working on is one that I first wrote as a screenplay.  I'm discovering while turning it in to a novel that, what works for a film, won't always work in a novel.

One of the phrases we kept hearing at Uni was "death of the author", once written - the text is a separate entity open to different interpretations and out of the author's control.  We were taught a lot of pretentious rubbish but that is one bit that did make sense.  Sometimes you have to write something and then let go of it and let others make of it what they will.
 

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If someone came in to basically take my story idea and use it as a foundation, then change everything around for their own purposes I would definitely not be okay with that. Like more readers I prefer the novel to the movie, so it would be hard to settle for me.
 

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The one movie I ever saw that followed the book precisely was "The Outlaw Josey Wales." I subsequently read the book (original title: Gone to Texas, which was later changed to the movie's title) and was amazed that it was almost identical, even down to the dialogue. So, if you want a movie made which follows your book, get Clint Eastwood to direct it. ;D

I really don't have to worry about this question myself, because I doubt if any of my books would ever be selected. There's too much "in the character's head" stuff which would probably be difficult to translate to the visual medium. And the couple of my novels which might work (readers keep telling me they'd love to see a High on a Mountain movie) would be far too expensive to produce (especially Scribbles and Tugger's Down....too many special effects would be required in those two).

I've written one screenplay, and if I ever get out from under all the novels I intend to write, I'll get back to it, edit it and see if anything can be done with it.....
 

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I'd like to take a shot at writing a movie adaption to one of my stories someday.

I realize, as was stated here already, that the writer has very little creative control once the rights have been purchased but I'm hoping that by showing the producer and director that I'm open-minded, flexible, dependable and easy to work with might allow more of my involvement and input on the project.

We know our characters, setting and plot better than anybody so why not be the ones to decide what gets pruned? The other side is if you were part of a really GOOD movie (that made lots of $$$) that both fans of your novel and movie fans liked and proved easy to work with then you would be greenlighted for future projects and more control.

Since this is all hypothetical, the first thing I'd probably do is go to my manuscript and order the scenes by most expensive to least expensive to produce faithfully in video. Then I'd make a list of characters from most important to least important in the story. Then I'd do a breakdown of most important scenes to least important scenes and estimate the percentage of overall screen time each scene might take.

This would give me an idea of what might have to be cut for budgetary and time reasons and how I'd have to patch these parts in order to make the story remain true (or at least close to true to the novel).

The other things I'd want to keep in mind: would this be a 3D picture? If so, there might be certain scenes or parts of scenes that would work better in a 3D environment than 2D. If the film is to be shot in 3D versus shot in 2D and converted in the studio that's a whole different ballgame. I hate it when 3D movies don't use the format. Thor was a good movie but where was the 3D?

In short, I see the movie as a much different medium than a novel with pros and cons over the novel. Adaptions that use the strength and minimizes the weaknesses of the format seems to produce more favorable reaction and reception.
 

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Funny, I was just thinking about this while running an errand for my day job.  I am attached to my novels, but not so much that I would have any problem turning them over to another writer to turn them into scripts.  I look at it this way - a story can be told many ways.  I told the story the way I felt it should be told and I would find it interesting to see how another writer would interpret it. 

Now, if I could just get a movie producer to want to buy one of my novels to turn into a movie!
 

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Todd,  Lemmee ask you a couple quick questions since you are now "costing out a shooting script."  How would you ever know how to, like, Oh, whats the cost of 3 Panavision Cameras and a Steadicam with 3 Operators and a Cinematographer and assistants and lab costs for film?  Or blue and green screen costs or CGI or...lighting and grips or any "below the line" costs?  This is just the very basics and I haven't even touched the pricey stuff.  

You may be able to write a book, but let Hollywood do Hollywood since you don't know what you are talking about.  In an LA second--nobody will listen to you, they'll be walking away fast.  You'll just get in the way.

 

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Ryne Douglas Pearson said:
.... agent and say I'd just sold film rights to a book. He asked what it was about. I told him the same three sentences (maybe it was four...not sure) and he went and sold the book for an ungodly sum. One week earlier this book existed only as an idea scribbled in a notebook. And this book has not been made into film 13 years after the fact. It's gone through a half dozen or more different scripts, millions of dollars in development, and sits on a shelf somewhere watching other books make their way to the big screen.

A book is not a movie. Some books fail and some movies fail. Doesn't matter if they are good or bad. Poorly marketed or lavished with fifty million dollars of slick advertising. It is, sometimes, a case of luck. Bad and good. A comet passing close to earth and sprinkling magic dust upon it.

What I learned mostly was--let go. Move on. Write the next thing. And cash the check.
Great story Ryne, Hollywood has a million of them. I bet you have a few more to tell. Crazy money!
 
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