Survival of the Fittest for Movie Genres

People often complain that movies are never like the book. The movie cuts too much or adds unneeded scenes. Most of this is due to the fact that people don’t understand that movies are alive. Yes, alive. At least in the sense of survival of the fittest.

Movies are created by producers who pump money into an idea. The producers aren’t parents, yearning for their filmic offspring to go onto glory. Awards and accolades are added benefits. No, movie producers want one simple thing: to make money.

Viewed from this perceptive, books adapted into movies make sense. The goal isn’t to transform the vision of the text to film. (The director or the actors or screenwriters might strive for that.) No, producers only want to transform the readers of the book into watchers of the movie. If that means they have to adhere to the story, fine. But mostly, movie producers take liberties because the readers will still flock to the film and see it.

The-Hobbit_01

Why this long tirade about books and films? Mostly the Hobbit. I love the book, but wasn’t wowed by the film. I understand all the additions and changes as it made its way toward film. Ultimately did the film make money? Yes. Will more like it be made? Yes. It’s like evolution in film. If a certain type of film makes money, then more will be made.

Parker Movie Free

Another adaptation is Parker with Jason Statham. The original book, written by Donald E. Westlake, is nothing like the film. (For a more in depth view of the book, check out the Weekly Rot.) The protagonist is unlikable and repugnant. However, the genre of action-movies states that the led be likable and somewhat honorable. Thus the Statham Parker says: “I don’t steal from people who can’t afford it, and I don’t hurt people that don’t deserve it.” There’s little to distinguish this film from the many other Statham action films.

Parker was expected to make money by following the genre formula, yet in this one fumbled.

In the future, when you complain about movie adaptations, consider this: If people refused to see it, then that genre would wither and die.

Tim Kane

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How Far Would You Go to Write?

I had a dream the other day that I was stuck in LA traffic, late for a meeting with a film producer. And when I say traffic, I mean that the cars had virtually stopped. I drove in the shoulder and veered through off ramps just to make some time.

The trouble was, this wasn’t a dream. It was a memory.

As I began my writing career, I had aspirations of becoming a screenwriter. I dashed off three or four of my own scripts. Read Variety. Even started filming a Dracula script with my friends. It was through Variety that I found a producer/director that needed his script punched up. I won’t mention the name. The script is still active and I could get paid upon production. I’ll also develop the mutant power of telepathy and go to Vegas and make millions at poker. The chances are about the same.

This script was along the lines of the Syfy network movies. You know the ones I’m talking about. They have a colon in the title—Magma: Volcanic Disaster, Kraken: Tentacles of the Deep. Only this script wasn’t fantasy or scifi. It was a heist flick where girls took off their clothes every five pages or so for no important reason. Yet, and I have to emphasize this point, the producer wanted this to be a serious action film.

I took on the job and worked many late nights grasping for reasons to justify the main female characters disrobing. I managed to get the producer to cancel all but two of the scenes. (Maybe if I hadn’t, the film would have gotten made. Who knows.) Anywho, I live in San Diego and the producer was, well, in Hollywood. A few times a week, I’d drive up there to meet him and go over the script. It was hell. I never got paid. Not even for gas.

What can I say? I was young and hungry. The opportunity looked good. I learned plenty from the experience. I could finish a whole script under deadline. I could convince someone to ditch unwanted scenes. I could dodge cars while driving fifty in the shoulder.

How far are you willing to go for your writing?

Tim Kane