Writing with film in mind

27 08 2013

Should you write a book, a story, a tale of woe, always with a thought of the film rights dancing around in your head?

Does your hero look remarkably like Tom Cruise or Tom Wilkinson or heroine have the same hair or eyes as Jennifer Aniston or Helen Mirren? As dialogue flows in your head is it spoken in the manner of someone you have created or someone stolen from the big screen?

This is a difficult path to follow. A scriptwriter can write with some bare bones around the dialogue whilst someone putting a story to bed needs to ensure the reader dreams the situation, they add the flesh to something you have already given musculature and definition to.

Sequels are different. If you have a book already up on screen you would be foolhardy not to start adding affectations to your text. Your director has recruited (hopefully) strong actors who will have taken the screen adapted words of your book and given life to the character – probably not everything will be as you expected but that is the way of film. To even recognise your own story is sometimes hard enough after twenty different screenwriters have all tried their hand at making a complex, thought-provoking book into a 90-minute cinema-filler.

But to return to the theme. Should you write your novel with a film in mind? It can’t hurt to contain some scenes in the same location if location is less important – it makes for cheaper production costs. If the cast of thousands add nothing to your tale but bluster then burst that bubble. Ultimately though, you are writing your story. I say this again and again. You are writing a story for you. If your story needs to blow up the Houses of Parliament there are good CGI studios out there who can do it for the cost of hiring Colm Meaney’s left thumb for a play.

Just get on and write!

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