90tonothing asked: Considering I have just discovered that more of my favorite books are becoming movies today, I thought of a good question (well, questions) to ask you. What are your thoughts on book to film adaptations vs original screenplays as a writer? Which would be your preference to write? Do you think you that originals require more creativity or that an adaptation requires just as much? And if you could pick one book you could write a screenplay for, which one would it be?
I find the idea of adaptations daunting. On the one hand, you always have a built-in audience with adaptations because there are going to be people who love and are invested in the original material, or who have at least heard of it. But on the other hand, though people almost always watch movies/TV(/etc) with some sort of expectation as to what they’re going to see, with an adaptation, that expectation is often even more firmly cemented in their heads. And everyone’s is different. So you’re not going to please everyone, and the odds are stacked against you in a lot of ways.
On kind of a tangent, though, with things that are adapted over and over again, like Pride & Prejudice, and Batman, and Sherlock Holmes, and whatever else, that stigma of sorts dies down a whole lot. I talked about this a little bit in an interview MK and I did about LBD with inconnu (page 56) way back when, but I think when you aren’t the Sole Adaptation of something someone loves, they’re more likely to be able to sit back and enjoy it for what it is, rather than being concerned that it isn’t so true to whatever original they loved. So with LBD, that was way more advantage than disadvantage.
I have not answered the question, have I?
I think adaptations require a lot of creativity because if you’re adapting from say, a 400 page book, you’re having all this material thrown at you — all these plot points, characters, themes, etc. Things that are both concrete and open to interpretation. And you have to figure out what parts you want to keep, what you can discard, what you want to change, and how you want to reinterpret things. And it all has to fit into a < 2 hour movie, and make sense for a cinematic experience (novels and movies are very different beasts). And there are certain beats you have to hit in terms of plot and character, but then re-figure out how to maneuver in between in a way that still makes sense for this new story. Seems really daunting to me, and like a lot more work than just starting from scratch, in a lot of ways. Though you do have the benefit of knowing that the basic structure of whatever you’re adapting, presumably, works for audiences. But you have to be able to identify what that structure is and keep it somewhat in tact.
Obviously, making something original also requires a lot of creativity, and there’s a lot more freedom as to where you can go with the story and characters because it’s all coming from your head. I personally mostly prefer to work on original things, because I like to explore characters and ideas that spark some sort of interest in me so I can see where they end up going, as opposed to knowing where they’re headed (in an adaptation), and playing around within that. But I’ve also learned that I do love having to find a way to be creative within the constraints of adaptations, and there are definitely adaptations of other stories I’d love to take on some day. Though it’ll be more likely to be under the illegal realm of (not-for-profit) fan films because, as I think y’all know, I enjoy getting to stray a little farther from canon sometimes. And tbh, I’d appreciate adaptations that even do that when it makes sense in the end, and that almost never happens. (Come on guys, film!Harry should have ended up with basically anyone but film!Ginny (and I’m not a Ginny hater, ftr, I think she’s amazing), but probably film!Luna.)
And I really want to make an appropriately dark Animorphs film not for kids. //things that have no audience //things I will make anyway MARK MY WORDS.