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From book to film

Posted On : October 13 2018

Writer : Rick Pipito

Which is better reading a book or watching a movie based on a book? Then comes the question whether the book is better or the movie? These have always been a matter of debate. Author Rick Pipito writes on this topic exclusively for Bookaholicanonymous…

From book to film

Let’s face it… Not everyone likes to read.  Those who don’t enjoy a great book, still crave an interesting story.  To fill the void, they may immerse themselves in binge watching TV shows, going to the movies, or playing a few video games.  Me?  I’m a mixture of both worlds and then my own.  I enjoy a great book, show or movie as much as the next.  The ones that stand out to me often inspire me to write a certain way or to an extent give me ideas. 

At an early age we see these things in pages or on screens and our imaginations run wild, putting ourselves in the world of those narratives.  A rarely debated statement is “the book was so much better than the film.”  I can’t argue there, but it is a matter of taste.  Some people enjoy films better.  I’m of the former mind-set where I usually always find the book to be superior, but there are exceptions.  Take Stephen King’s, ‘The Shining’.  The book was a great book.  The Stanley Kubrick film was a great film.  King didn’t like how the film differed from his novel, but I would disagree. 

This brings up the whole topic of this piece.  How does a great book become an equal or superior screenplay?  I think this boils down to getting the author involved.  In some instances, this may not be an option.  If that is the case, then whoever writes the screenplay needs to be an actual fan of the original work.  The characters need to be what the author intended.  Sure, there are certain liberties one can take creatively, but to alter a character to be someone entirely new is absurd.  Why not just introduce a new character to atone for the film maker’s desires?  I will never understand this.

An all-time classic example is the 1939 ‘Wizard of Oz’ movie.  It differs from the book many times, but both are excellent pieces of work.  Why?  L. Frank Baum had a hand in making the film happen.  He realized that there had to be adjustments (for example the ruby slippers in the novel were originally silver shoes.)  Despite the adjustments, and the added characters of Dorothy Gale’s uncles, the film stayed true to its origins.  Yes, there are parts that I wish would have made it to the big screen, but the fact is some things need to be omitted when it comes to reproducing a book visually.

Films that take characters and put them in a new plot and setting need to be careful where they tread.  Disney seems to have nailed it when bringing Marvel characters to life in new and exciting ways, where some of their competitors strive to make things new by abandoning what made those characters and interactions great in the first place.

What I’m getting at is simple.  Books contain words that create vivid pictures in our minds.  If that same feeling isn’t brought to a film, then there’s something that the makers of the flick didn’t get about the source material.  Films can be as exciting and sometimes better than what they were given, but only if a respect and understanding to the author’s work exists.

I’ll close by saying this… I had my first trilogy make it to a movie studio in Hollywood a few years back.  After a couple of meetings I was told that it needed to be pitched as a television serial.  Was I upset that it got rejected for a major motion picture?  Sure, but I was happy to see that those particular decision makers understood that some books can’t be translated certain ways.  They need to be replicated not just for the fans, but for the people who created them.  Only then will reader, writer, and filmmaker find a mutual happy place.

 Thanks Rick for always supporting and liking Bookaholicanonymous…

(Rick Pipito is an award winning author of over 25 published works.  His Eternal Hunger Saga series earned him a place in top 25 and 100 lists.  Born in 1978 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he learned various musical instruments and played, wrote and sang in original bands over a span of fifteen years. In 2010 Rick teamed up with his brother, artist Dan Pipito, and formed a little company called ‘sCrypt Comics.’  Their efforts working with other artists was a success.  When Rick’s novels started becoming noticed they redirected their idea into sCrypt Publishing.  While Rick writes, Dan provides most of the cover art for the novels and books.)

Visit Rick’s website: www.rickpipito.com


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