The Shrinking Appearance of Original Screenplays

Two weeks from now, Part 1 of the film adaptation of “Mockingjay” will be playing in movie theaters all over the world.  Based on the final book of the same name of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy, this will continue the adaptations of the books for film, with Part 2 of “Mockingjay” set to come out next year.

It’s anything but unheard of for a book to be adapted for film nowadays.  While this has been a recurring venture that’s been going on for decades, it’s been especially common in today’s time where practically everything that’s being shown in the movie theaters are either based off a book or real life events- and if not either of those two common occurrences, then it’s based on a comic series or it’s a remake of a film.

I remember being at a movie theater just last month, and I noticed how all the trailers and previews they showed prior to the feature presentation were for films that were either remakes or based off of books.  Oh, and in case you were wondering what movie I saw that day, it was Part 3 of the horribly done film adaptation of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.

Can someone please explain to me what’s with all the remakes and adaptations nowadays as far as movies go?  I don’t understand it.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing bad about adaptations- especially if it’s done well- because as I said in a previous post, that means that the filmmakers behind the production must have really enjoyed the original text if they found it worthy enough for it to be converted into a different medium.  However, when the number of them get to where it’s a common happening, I cannot help but get concerned.  It makes me wonder what’s being taught in screenwriting classes.

There are so many examples to go off of as far as the irony of adaptations go.  For instance, no one had ever heard of Witi Ihimaera’s The Whale Rider until a film adaptation of it directed by Niki Caro was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2002- even though the name of the main character was changed and incorporated several elements that otherwise weren’t in the book such as the appearance of a waka and usage of the taiaha.  There’s also the very popular Marvel films that are constantly being made and released, and have the original comics to fall back on as their pre-made storyboards.  Disney films are the PERFECT example of books constantly being adapted for film; so much as to where when you watch the behind-the-scenes feature for the 2003 film “Brother Bear,” one guy makes a point of saying how this was a rare opportunity to decide which direction to take the story, seeing that it’s not based off of a pre-existing story or legend.  Also, let’s not forget the numerous times Shakespeare plays are adapted for screen.

Do you see where I’m getting at?  It’s almost like in The Fountainhead where all the architects just hone to historical conventions while Howard Roark finds purpose in creating originally-designed buildings.  Have we hone in to a collective ideal as far as making a good movie goes?  Honestly, at the rate we’re going at, to see a film that’s based off of an original screenplay will become a rare happening.

As I’ve said several times before, I don’t have a problem with drawing upon inspiration and influences from other places.  If anything, that serves as a benefit for the original creator, in regards to the fact that he or she is making waves with their content.  And like I said before, I don’t have anything against adaptations- especially if they’re done well- which is why I have no shame in going to see “Mockingjay Part 1” when it comes out.  However, I’m worried about the number of adaptations.  They’re increasing in numbers and their occurrences are becoming more and more frequent.  It’s gotten to the point now where an author’s dream may not be publishing a book, but for a film to be made off of it.

I wish there was a strive for more original screen content.

A Moment’s Worth is now available through the following venues: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, iTunesPlease leave a review if you can, for my goal is to get a total of at least 20 reviews on all venues (so far, I’ve gotten 5 reviews so I’m already a quarter of a way to my goal).

Check out its Goodreads page, which includes two trivia quizzes for all who’ve completed reading it already.

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