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Monday, July 06, 2009

3 writing myths challenged


Okay. Here are 3 commonly held beliefs that writers seem to have. All 3 probably need to be blown out of the water. Ready?

One: "You have to change everything when you are adapting for the big screen"
You hear this a lot. That if you are adapting a novel to the big screen you have to change big chunks of it. And probably the ending. I say - not true. You may need to change some intenal thoughts that are on the page and make them dialogue. But the narrative doesn't HAVE to be altered. A story can be moved virtually intact between any dramatic or narrative form. Audiences don't like a radically changed ending. And the excuse of 'different form' is used all to often when it needn't be.
What we actually mean is... I've optioned an arty novel and in fact I wish I'd gone for something more commercial. So I better change it.

Two: "Writers aren't well known."
Again, nonsense. Writers can be famous. Eg. My mum can name Arthur Miller, Tom Stoppard, Dennis Potter, Richard Curtis etc etc. None of these are writers of modern mainstream Hollywood films. And there is the thing. Mainstream film and TV is about the franchise being bigger than anyone. If you want to be 'a name' then you have to stay smaller. THE OPPOSITE IS TRUE FOR ACTORS. So don't copy them. Writers can be famous and respected. But you have to give somethings up to get there.
What we actually mean is... I'm not famous and its not fair.

Three: "The producers / studio / commissioners aren't fair / don't know what they are doing.
They represent the audience. Does the audience know what it is doing or worry about being fair? No. So there you go. This problem will only go away when you can get 300 random people to agree on what they would like to watch together. So I guess that would be... never. But we all know the solution. We all know what we need to do - keep doing things our way, keep telling our own kind of stories and hope they hit home with folks.
Because what we actually meant was... my latest thing didn't get picked up by the people who said they loved it last time. And I'm going nuts.

Image of magma 'being blown out of the water' from here.

3 comments:

Tim Clague said...

Damian made a comment about this on facebook:

"I want to write a great film script - what I actually mean is: I want to HAVE WRITTEN a great film script and be living the high life off the proceeds."

Tim Clague said...

More facebook...

Paul made a comment about your link:

"1. Matt Damon wrote Good Will Hunting
2. Ben Affleck helped him and brought him tea
3. I am talented"

Web Tasarımcı said...
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