You publish a novel that movie makers want, how much freedom to change the storyline would you give?
So let us say you just published a great novel and hollywood wants to make a movie from your great work! How much freedom would you give them to change things in your book, like adding characters or deleting events to changing the title?
Depends on how passionate I am about the work and if the changes will effect what I was trying to portray. I would definitely have that clause in the contract.
It's a tough question. I think in most situations, if the author isn't also a screenwriter, there is very little control given to the book's creator. Essentially you sign away the film rights and cross your fingers. There are instances of contracts where authors have input, but supposedly Terry Goodkind had input on Legend of the Seeker and that was a horrible adaptation. I liked the show, but only as a separate universe. It's also tough because a lot of things in books don't translate well to the movie format. For example, in the Hunger Games, the movie couldn't portray Katniss's clever problem solving and instead substituted in notes that explained things to her along the way. So, while I would love to have some control over a movie version, I feel like it would be too difficult to hold onto and navigate properly. The biggest thing I would fight for is a strong director/writer. If you get people who can make strong movies, it will be good regardless of the deviations and retain the core values of the story.
I would want it to be as close as possible, but in the ideal world I would be working very closely with the screenwriter to make sure it was right.
I took a screenwriting class in college. When a screenwriter adapts a novel they essentially take then 10 most important scenes and fill in the rest with stuff that is mostly accurate to the original storyline. So if the 10 major scenes didn't include a character then that character essentially disappears from the movie.
I like Dremer's Hunger Games example. I heard a lot of people complaining that the movie wasn't accurate to the book, but the book was written in first person, something that is already difficult to adapt to the screen because nobody wants a constant voiceover of the character's thoughts. Second, nobody wants to watch a 4 hour movie of Katniss starving in the woods. So they picked out the major plot points and filled in the rest.
Whenever I watch movies that have been adapted from novels, I tend to hate those that deviate too much from the original book. Because I enjoyed the story in the novel, changing things too much makes me not want to watch the sequel. For example, I used to watch The Vampire Diaries. But when I read the novels and the story changed too much, I stopped watching it because it just wasn't the same anymore.
In order to avoid that from happening with other viewers, I would like to still be consulted when they change the story. And the changes that I would allow would not be major.
If you don't want them tinkering with your book to fit another media, don't sell the rights.
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