Adapting novels (books) to screenplay became a trend and lasted for many years.
There are many movies made based on books and I always wondered about the process of using a book as source material to create a movie.
From a book to the big screen. Is the transition process really so easy?
I believe the success or failure of the process depends on the transition of the book to a screenplay. It shouldn’t be a copy and paste process. There are scenes or dialogues written in books that do not look good on screen. So I believe there are a few scenarios the writer needs to take into consideration:
- What If?
I think that the writer needs to establish its goals for writing the screenplay and answer the following questions:
- Define your genre category? (the What)
- What is the opening scene, the climax scene and the last act? (the What)
- What is the message of the story? (the Why )
- Define your timeline: past, present, near future or far future (the When)
- Define your location (the Where)
- Define your main characters (the Who)
- Define the knowledge for the screenplay (the How)
- What are the things you know and are familiar with?
- What are the things you know or believe don’t exists?
- What are the things you don’t know exist?
- What are things you need to learn or create for the screenplay (new languages, new cultures, new races, new planets, etc,)?
- Edit the selected scenes from the novel into shorter versions for the screenplay (the What if)
- What formats will you use in the movie (life action, CGI, etc)?
- Connect the dots of all scenes together
- Challenge your story: change or remove what you think is outdated, irrelevant to your story
There are many genres and categories in sci-fi that writers can choose from but normally the novel already establishes the genre. Science fiction allows the writers to develop creativity and imagination. Writers can add additional genres or combine them to create the story for the screenplay. In all honesty the process seems really complex to me. There are many things to take into consideration.
Here are some examples of books that were transformed into screenplay successfully:
- Harry Potter Series
- Fantastic Beasts And Where to find Them
- Lord of the Rings Trilogy
- Cloud Atlas
- Silence of the lambs
Take a front-row seat and witness the filmmaking magic that brought J.K. Rowling’s script for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them to the screen.
Adapting books into screenplays is a complicated process. It requires a messy structure to ignite creativity and the exploration of imagination. Even though lately we have seen many book adaptations on screen, it does not mean that it is so easy to take a story to the big screen. I appreciate it when a story has every detail in place, where a whole universe (worlds, characters, etc) was created.
Do you want to see more book adaptations on the big screen? Do you have higher expectations when the movie is based on a book? Feel free to leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.