The Plasmatic Writer

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Books to the Big Screen

Posted on August 23, 2013 at 2:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Ever have that dream where your book gets made into a movie, you know after it’s become a best seller? I’m sure most of us have. While this is a long shot for a lot of us dreamers, those who do aren’t as lucky as we think they are. I’m sure it’s an overwhelming feeling to have one’s book made into a movie but whether or not the author has say and how much of the movie is truly based off the book is another thing. Imagine your books sold pretty well and out of the blue you find out that big movie producers want to bring your book onto the big screen and into a movie. Your probably jumping for joy and ready to shoot off to the moon in total enjoyment and disbelief over it. You meet with and discuss the general idea and sure enough they want to make your book into a movie. You make your way to the set and discuss a little bit more about the book and how it will translate then that first scene gets under way..

You know your book by heart, you’ve not only went over the pages over and over but you’ve created scenes of how it would go as a movie in your own head. To your horror you realize the scene is nothing like it is in the book but you keep calm. You think it’s only one scene but as scenes keep playing out you realize again that they aren’t taking your input into consideration or taking things from the book. They are taking them and twisting them into their own ideas which are nothing like what you would ever think of. You point out that this isn’t in the book and not what you want. The producers and directors tell you, they're the professionals and they know what it takes to make a movie. You tell them this isn’t what you signed up for, that you thought you would have say and input and this is not anything like your book. Again, they tell you to relax, the changes will be better then the book and if you continue to complain this movie will not be made. This is where you must make the decision, Do you pull the plug and walk away, try to reason with the producers and directors or just go with it?

Okay back to reality. If your ever faced with that situation then deal with it then but until then let’s talk about some of the things within that fantasy. Now I am no expert, producer, director or any head hancho for that matter so I have no idea if they would really treat someone like that. Based off what I do know about authors who have made movies I know that they haven’t always had say or input. Ever read one of Stephen King’s books and then watch the movie version and notice that some scenes and takes on the plot are completely different from the book? Now while I’m sure King agreed with and had input on most of these changes and gave the go ahead I know for a fact that there is one major movie to which he was not happy about when changes were made. Most of the movie version of “The Shining” is different than the book. The books focuses on Danny Torrance while the movie focuses more on his father Jack. I read that King agreed to this but not 100% and was really not pleased with a lot of the changes from the book to the movie. Again this is just an example and King is widely popular and one of the best authors of horror but it shows that authors don’t always get what they envision in their books.

Given the fact that most of us will never have our books made into movies let’s look at this discussion from a reader standpoint. As a reader how do you feel when you watch the movie version of one of your beloved favorite books only to scratch your head in bewilderment at the confusion to what’s taking place on screen? Yes I am aware that not every movie based off a book is different from the book itself but those that are what is your take? To me, in pivotal and key moments in the book they must remain the same when going into a movie. The structure of what makes the book ridiculous must be seen somewhere in the movie of else it will feel cheap and just not the same. Many people when you ask them will say “I liked the book better”.

This is true because the movie came after the book and the book is what the author had in mind whereas the movie usually has what the author, producer and director all had in mind. When have you ever known a book to come out after the movie version? I certainly cannot think of any such case. Another thing you may remember hearing people or yourself say when asked if you read a book is “Oh I saw the movie”. Okay well sometimes it’s not the same. Most of us found this out when we were in school doing a book report and instead of reading the book we watched the movie. When it came time to ask a question we were busted because a scene in the movie was not in the book.

So what it all comes down to is this, how do you like your movies that are made from books? Do you like them exactly about the book, exactly about the book with changes here and there or nothing like the book or nothing like the book with some things the same? Personally I like the first two, it let’s me know that the author didn’t sell out and that they had say. It tells me while maybe they could have gone in another direction they decided to keep the movie as the book because they believed in the story that they wanted to tell. Now it may be true that not all movies make big changes compared to the book but even if no changes are made at all we all usually come to the same conclusion, the book version is better.