Monday, September 27, 2010

Adaptation... A Moment In Time

When working on an adaptation, you will have to prepare yourselves that the story will change.

It’s inevitable.

Remember the story of Pinnochio? Jiminy Cricket and all that real boy stuff? Well, in the true story, Pinnochio KILLS the cricket! And on purpose, too! It wasn’t during a cheerful musical moment. Now ask yourself why Walt Disney didn’t put that in his now classic animated movie?

I’m currently writing and rewriting an adaptation from a short story with some students. It’s the longest short story I’ve heard of, and has several stories within the story. How can we get all of that into ten pages for a ten minute short?

We can’t.

We must ADAPT.

We read the story and saw that the main strain, the main truth through the story was that our hero was a habitual liar. Bam! Now our story is about a habitual liar. From here, we pick our favorite scenes and push the story forward. We lose the fact that the hero has an uncle with Down’s Syndrome. Did it move the story forward? No. Cut it. Did it matter that her false boyfriend went to Dartmouth? No. Cut it.

An adaptation is different than a creation of a script. It’s like you have a puzzle box full random of pieces. Some of them fit and some don’t and it’s up to you to figure it all out to make a picture people can see.

And when adapting a SHORT film (as we are):

It’s all about a moment.

Once you find the truth of the story, focus on the one moment that moves you. That’s all you have time to show. One moment.

And that is a FAR cry from an entire story, isn’t it?

No comments:

Post a Comment