7 Screenplay Tips For Faithfully Adapting A Book To Film
There is a burning desire in every writer to be famous and reach a wider audience who will appreciate their work.
These days, authors are not limited to just books but seek other entertainment forms, with the most prestigious being a movie adaptation.
The movie industry also realizes the value of good source material from books, making it a win-win situation for everyone.
However, novels must first undergo the process of screenplay writing to be more in tune with a movie. From dialogues to scenes and camera angles, everything is depicted in the screenplay.
If you are thinking about adapting a book into a movie script, the following tips can help you out.
1. Read Screenwriting Tutorial Books
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You may be a professional author who writes novels for a living, but it can be a bit overwhelming if you are beginning your journey in film adaptation. As such, it will help if you learn how to write a proper screenplay.
Today, many books, blogs, and videos can guide you through the process in a more meaningful way, with simple words and explaining the craft’s technical terms.
Once you have learned how screenplays are written, you’ll be familiar with the subject and can move on to read famous scripts.
2. Read A Book First And Watch The Adaptation Later
Many famous books have been adapted into sensational movies that are known far and wide. If you’re just starting in screenplay writing, you can look at these films for some inspiration.
It might be helpful first to read the book and understand the entire story and then watch the movie. Note the different changes between the book and the film and develop a mental list of additions and omissions.
Take a minute to observe how the book’s raw information is reworked to the finished product in the form of a movie. This practice will give you some perspective on how to work with the source material.
Some of the popular books that were adapted into movies with great screenplay are as follows:
- The Godfather by Mario Puzo
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone by JK Rowling
- Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
3. Read Some Movie Scripts
Reading is an essential part of writing and can significantly improve your skills. Moreover, reading famous and established scripts can help you learn from other great screenplay writers.
This way, you will have a relatively good idea of how a script is written with its character development, plot, setting, and dialogue for a movie.
Do not discontinue reading. Instead, try reading at least three scripts a day so that you gain the required experience and motivation for writing a script.
4. Get A Good Screenwriting Software
It is good to know about the structure of writing a script, but there are many standard rules that you might not be aware of, such as the specifications for indentation and margins.
Remember that all aspects of a script, including scene headings, character name, action, dialogue, transitions, and parentheticals, have a separate way of representation on paper.
Reliable screenwriting software can take care of these details by indenting the writing at a specified distance from the margin. It offers templates, plot suggestions, and also remembers the character names for you.
As a result, you can devote your full attention to the task of adapting the novel as faithfully as you can.
5. Outline, Analyze, and Realize Novel And Movie Limitations
Screenwriting is a continuous learning process. As you watch movies and read books, try to build an outline of the plot in simple words with a linear story. Focus on actions more than words or thought perspectives.
When you outline a story, you can analyze the critical aspects of a novel that make it enjoyable. Depending on the need, you can alter or combine characters, change protagonists, and even make some significant plot changes.
Movie scripts are more concise and range only about 100-120 pages. In contrast, a novel describes the characters and other settings in great detail, so it’s fitting that it spans a full length of over 300 pages.
In a movie, you can take a slight departure from these intricacies and only include the most exciting parts of the plot. Adding too much unnecessary information can affect the pacing of the film.
Another aspect of a movie is that it is a visual platform, and so your focus should be more on actions and less on dialogues. Try to keep the exposition and narration to a minimum and use images to convey the story.
6. Create A Plan For Movie Adaptation
Before writing your script, you can create character descriptions, including physical appearance, emotional state, triggers, wants, and desires. Once you have carefully thought them out, they’ll be easier to develop.
You can also have a theme and outline of the novel to stay true to the subject matter. Make sure to finalize what you require in the project and what you do not.
Create a logline that revolves around the story’s main focus, including the protagonist, antagonist, and the stakes character.
You can also build storyboards based on different scenes to get a brief idea of how you want the script to progress. It will present a visual image of the project and build on camera shots, lighting, and motion.
7. Take A Bold Step
A book adaptation is a wonderful way to share a special story with the world, so you need to choose your source material wisely.
Ensure that the audience can find some common ground with the film’s characters. Viewers must feel the protagonist’s struggle towards the goal, stay invested in the plot, and root for the character to either win or fail.
Finally, you need to have faith in your abilities and put your best foot forward. Move with confidence to create a good movie adaptation of a book.
Adapting a book for a movie can be both fun and challenging. Along with discipline, you need to make sure that you have the best screenwriting software at your disposal to create excellent scripts conveniently.