Espionage Aficionados discussion

30 views
Movies/TV > Book -to -TV & film adaptations

Comments Showing 1-19 of 19 (19 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by James (new)

James | 1 comments Does anyone think that novels that are adapted into Tv shows or movies should remain strictly within the same characters, sets and plots as the author's original format? I thank that this is the best way to go in order to encourage the original fans of the book to cross over to the shows or movies that are created around the literary pieces that they love.


message 2: by Feliks, Moderator (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 680 comments Mod
As a writer myself (one of several in this little group) I would say that sometimes it just doesn't work out that way. Theatrically-formatted narrative has its own set of rules it must follow and they are much stricter than printed prose.

When a reader encounters a 'lull' in a novel they can set it down and come back to it later. They probably won't just toss it in the rubbish, on the spot.

But if you allow a slowdown in a televised story, there's a serious risk of losing the audience entirely and not getting them back.

There's been many good and many bad examples on each side. Sure, screenwriters would like to stay faithful but there's instances when it just can't be done. In such cases, I'm sure the producers can only shrug and remind us that we are still welcome to return to the book (if we love it so much) and give it a re-read.

Unfortunately --in a capitalist society-- their mission is ratings and ad-revenue: not the satisfaction of purists.


message 3: by Stacey B (new)

Stacey B | 27 comments James wrote: "Does anyone think that novels that are adapted into Tv shows or movies should remain strictly within the same characters, sets and plots as the author's original format? I thank that this is the be..."
How many times have you heard "the book was better than the movie?" The feeling is you have to give a seated audience more. I am all for "creative license", but not happy seeing the movie where I can barely recognize book ..Theatre is completely different. Can you imagine if you were to read a serious book, lets say "Hamilton' and then seeing the play on the stage?


message 4: by Stacey B (new)

Stacey B | 27 comments Feliks wrote: "As a writer myself (one of several in this little group) I would say that sometimes it just doesn't work out that way. Theatrically-formatted narrative has its own set of rules it must follow and t..."
--Sorry I flipped these two posts.
Felix- Hope you are well.
I could argue the point of necessary ratings and dollars.
You are right, theatrics are different.


message 5: by Feliks, Moderator (last edited Jan 21, 2020 08:16PM) (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 680 comments Mod
Aye. Thanks. But it really is all about money even more than I can express to you. TV and film scripts are written with the precision of drug prescriptions. They are pored over by a series of gatekeepers who study it from every possible angle with one thing in mind: 'how much will it cost to make' vs 'how much will it earn'. This really is the only metric. Anything else aesthetic, happens tangential to this!


message 6: by Stacey B (new)

Stacey B | 27 comments Thats bc the costs of those venues are more than buying a book and because they have to raise capital, the returns need to be major.
There are many authors writing novels in hope of hitting the jackpot.
There are others who write simply to get their message across.
And there are others who write as a catharsis.
Cant measure it as apples to apples.


message 7: by Feliks, Moderator (last edited Jan 22, 2020 06:58AM) (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 680 comments Mod
Genre authors? Not sure what you're saying here. The main thing about writing a genre book is not *usually* catharsis and not *usually* a message. To write in genre at the professional level, tremendous skull-sweat is expended first to find some premise which (1) seems fresh and (2) adhering to the parameters of the genre the book belongs to. After the book is complete, are the enormous tasks of editing, re-writing, and marketing. These struggles tend to quash 'writing from the heart'. It's a serious amount of grueling, repetitive, labor.

If you want to say that authors can still be sensitive artists and that therefore bad adaptations of their works --that the fault for this is all on the side of the studios? Is that what you're suggesting?

Well ...yes, but I can't go along with this notion very far. The fanciest and most artistic novels, the most sensitive and individualistic, the most mind-bending, (aka literary fiction) are the least often adapted. They are also the least dominant in the writer's market. The landscape is mostly comprised of writers cranking out formulaic 'yarns' looking for a sale.

Studios seek a narrow set of hallmarks: money is paid out if you can imitate Hammett or Chandler. 'Give us the same old thing again'. Its just so much horse meat for the stew pot.

Most authors do exactly as studios ask, from Stephen King on down. It starts from the first word on the first page. Professional authors write with sales in mind. Otherwise they resign themselves to being hobbyist writers, dabblers, 'hoping for a lucky break'.

This is the commercial scene. There's other forms of writing, yes. You can play around with literary magazines, anthologies, content-farms, copywriting, ghost-writing, college literary circles...you can do open-mike poetry readings, even.

The real mystery is why so many books are good, while so many movies are terrible. I'd love to blame screenwriters, but at the end of the day screenwriters meekly follow orders too. The execs call the shots and everybody --absolutely everybody--kowtows; big movie money ultimately does rule everyone. Otherwise we would just be like Emily DIckinson and shove our stuff in a drawer.


message 8: by Stacey B (new)

Stacey B | 27 comments No- the opposite. Im on the author's side.
I agree with everything you said- and blame screenwriters and producers for taking great books and ruining them on film.
But the author sells the movie rights, sometimes receiving a percent of movie-before screenwriters do damage.
Too late when he is shocked by what he is seeing on
"Take 3 and wishes he hadnt sold his soul.


message 9: by Sarthak (new)

Sarthak Bhatt (liszt) | 3 comments I usually watch movies or tv series first and if i like them i go for the book. I am 19 so i didn't know much about the many amazing spy books written during the cold war but i am introduced to them through their mordern day tv adaptations. For example when i first saw tinker tailor soldier spy(movie) i loved it but it strays too far from the original novel after the movie i saw the tinker tailor(tv series) and i loved it way more then the movie and finally i heard the radio drama with Simon russel beale as smiley it was ok too now the question arises do i like the adaptations? the answer is simple fuck yeah i do but i also like the novel a lot i guess my point is that younger audiences like me wouldn't know these masterpieces existed if their tv adaptations were not made.


message 10: by Feliks, Moderator (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) | 680 comments Mod
We're of like mind then. :p


message 11: by Doubledf99.99 (new)

Doubledf99.99 | 123 comments Watched the fine 12 episode series of "Berlin Set, Mexico Set, London Set" with Ian Holm. Thought it pretty good and it has a nicely done slow pace about it.


message 12: by Brian (new)

Brian | 9 comments I watched “SS-GB” based off Deighton’s book. It’s been a long time since I read the book but I remember enjoying it. The mini-series was good as well.


message 13: by Hans (new)

Hans Ostrom | 4 comments I think that since they're two radically different art forms, filmmakers have to be able to add or subtract. Allegedly Hemingway said that if you sell the rights to Hollywood, then drive to the California border, take the money, give them the book, and don''t give it a second thought. Of course if the changes don't work as film or TV, then they deserve a thumbs down.


message 14: by Doubledf99.99 (new)

Doubledf99.99 | 123 comments This weekend watched the BBC's, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, followed by Smiley's People. Nothing like classic spy TV.


message 15: by Sarthak (new)

Sarthak Bhatt (liszt) | 3 comments Doubledf99.99 wrote: "This weekend watched the BBC's, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, followed by Smiley's People. Nothing like classic spy TV."
Cambridge spies is another show worth watching, the people who made it stuck close to the original story of the magnificent five that's why i adore the show there are a few minor fictional embellishment but they'll only bother you if you are a hardcore philby fanatic like me.


message 16: by Christine (new)

Christine Wishman | 7 comments Doubledf99.99 wrote: "This weekend watched the BBC's, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, followed by Smiley's People. Nothing like classic spy TV." That was one of the best book movie that I had ever seen. I remember waiting for the next episode. Sir Alec Guinness was marvelous. Whole thing was marvelous.


message 17: by Doubledf99.99 (new)

Doubledf99.99 | 123 comments Your right about that Christine, I can watch both those series every few years and never get tired of it.


message 18: by Christine (new)

Christine Wishman | 7 comments I'll have to try and find it out buy it or something. One of the best things I have ever watched.


message 19: by Doubledf99.99 (new)

Doubledf99.99 | 123 comments I watched them both on youtube, no issues at all. Give it look-see.


back to top