That’s the rule, right?
Books rule over movies.
Before I got involved with this whole short film thing, I always would get indignant after watching yet another failed movie adaptation of a book I liked. And I would always wonder to myself why in the heck could they never get it write/right.
Until on a whim I decided to try my hand at adapting my short story LEAVE into a screenplay.
Right away I realized that this was going to be no easy feat.
Introspection and contemplation that serve a short story or a novel so well is basically useless in a screenplay where just about everything must be represented as action and dialogue so it can be seen and heard by the audience.
Of course LEAVE as a short story is mostly introspection and contemplation by the protagonist so right off the bat the whole structure would have to change in order to be able to show his shift of character from beginning to end.
To do this, new scenes had to be invented and new characters had to be developed and within the first writing of the story of LEAVE as a screenplay, it was already hugely different from the story of LEAVE the short story. And that was only by my own efforts.
After I showed it to an actor friend for his feedback, from his guidance it went from 33 pages down to fifteen. And yes, to whittle it down that much there had to be a significant change in story and tempo.
But really, the biggest changes to the story didn’t occur until once the screenplay was accepted by a studio and a director was found and she got ahold of it… and then several of the lead actors got ahold of it…
Talk about feedback overload. It took much effort and persuasion to maintain it as a story I recognized.
And, while we are scheduled to begin filming in two months, we haven’t yet cast the lead actor so I can only wonder what changes still might occur to it.
But you know what… the story as it is now as a near fully developed screenplay is really not that far from what it is as a short story.
It is just different.
And much, much better in my opinion.
Still, I guarantee it if you read the short story and then see the film, you will be significantly surprised by the differences that there are between the two.
I just hope you are not significantly disappointed.
But I can pretty much guarantee that you won’t be because we have an awesome crew and the cast is going to be first rate and impressive.
And I can also guarantee that from now on whenever I watch a movie that has been poorly adapted from a book that I like I will certainly be less critical and more understanding of the differences between the two and the winding and somewhat weary course that had to be traveled to get the story to the screen.
Because now I know.
And now I have only one rule regarding movies and books.
Both of them do.
Rule, that is…
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