The next time you’re looking at a book in a library or bookstore, or you’ve just watched a movie trailer, visit the Internet Movie Database and find out who the writers are. You’ll discover….
Actors Write Screenplays: Tom Hanks stars in the WWII drama, Greyhound (2020), and he also wrote the screenplay. It’s an adaptation of the novel The Good Shepherd by C.S. Forester.
It isn’t unusual for two movies to be based on the same source material: The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009) and The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) are both based on the novel, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three by John Godey.
Sometimes writers adapt their own work: Aaron Sorkin wrote a successful Broadway play, A Few Good Men. He then wrote the screenplay for the movie A Few Good Men, which was released in 1992.
Narrative Non-Fiction books are popular with Directors and Producers looking for source material: Narrative Non-Fiction books present the facts, but describe the people and places surrounding events, so it feels as if you’re reading a novel. Ben Mezrich, Erik Larson, and Stephan Talty are examples of Narrative Non-Fiction writers finding success in the film industry.
The title of the source material may not be the same as the movie title: Some of the best examples are in the science fiction genre. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) is based on the short story The Sentinel by Arthur C. Clark. Blade Runner (1982) is based on Philip K. Dick’s novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
One movie is all it takes: Once one book, play or short story you’ve written has been adapted for a movie, everything you write is immediately considered potential source material. Consider the Internet Movie Database listings for Philip K. Dick and Ben Mezrich; their careers are excellent examples.
Do you have a story idea that’s been rattling in your brain like marbles in a tin can? Perhaps today you should take some time to write. You’ll never know the full potential of your storytelling talent, until you start.
Copyright © 2020 by J. Paul Cooper