On this early Friday morning, the blustery wind blowing flurries of snow (yes, I know spring is supposed to be here), I’m contemplating this week’s blog. Looking for ideas, I surf the Internet, read a chapter or two of the book in front of me, and finally check email.
One of the messages interests me, then intrigues me, then…well gets a little bit weird.
POST THIS…OR ELSE
That was the subject line. When I open my email I see a message by this author named Gerald Griffin:
Post the following on your blog. Failure to do so could result in my throwing trash upon your front lawn and letting my dog poop on your sidewalk.
My reply was: Ha! People already throw trash on my front lawn and I have a neighbor who frequently lets his dog poop on my sidewalk.
However, when I read what he wanted posted, I acquiesced. Actually, it’s pretty interesting. So read on…
OF GOOD AND EVIL — a wild ride, a strange flight, a slight metamorphosis!
While writing this thought-provoking suspense thriller, I never envisioned it becoming a movie — never thought I’d be up to that, anyway. My total focus was on a well-written story, one that was crisp and clear, with vivid and vibrant characters resonating perfectly with an innovative fast-paced plot keeping the reader on edge from beginning to end.
The book reviews on my novel say that I succeeded in this.
For example, one reviewer said of the novel: “Of Good And Evil is the very embodiment of what a thriller should be. It’s such a marvelous tale that you don’t even have to be a fan of its specific genre to enjoy it. The sheer caliber of talent this author possesses boggles my mind. One of the best books I have ever read.”
Another reviewer said: “Of Good and Evil is so finely written, so well plotted and paced, that the reader is immediately drawn into the book from the first page and held to the last. Griffin has such extraordinary skills that the story at times is nothing short of breathtaking. A must read!”
And still another reviewer stated: “In writing his brilliant story, Gerald G.Griffin displays the gifts of a truly great story-teller. He delivers his passion with the talent of a born writer, a special kind of talent going that step further separating good writers from great writers.”
This acclaim notwithstanding, I still didn’t believe my novel could be adapted as a film, even though many people having read the thriller thought otherwise. When a reader told me face-to-face, “Your story would make an exceptional film,” or something similar, I’d politely shrug, not taking their comment seriously but merely regarding their sentiment as complimentary good manners. I knew there was a world of difference between writing a novel and writing a screenplay for the cinema. For the mind, writing a novel is more internal and meditative, whereas writing a screenplay for a film is more external and visibly expressive.. I didn’t feel I was adequately oriented to the latter, especially with OF GOOD AND EVIL.
What I’m about to tell you, as a prescription for getting your story from book to script to screen, is unlikely to occur, for it requires fortuitous opportunity, rare luck, and the intervention of just the right people. In other words, something not likely to come to pass. But it did for me, in spite of my initial feelings about it.
Here is my tale.
To promote OF GOOD AND EVIL, I, like countless authors, fell prey to marketing madness. As part of this assorted madness, I managed to arrange a radio interview by phone hosted by a Facebook friend of long standing and her sidekick. But also joining in that interview as an added host, unbeknown to me beforehand, was Alexandria Altman (preferring to be addressed as Alex), daughter of the deceased film producer Robert Altman, and one acquainted with well-known movie people in Hollywood.
In the easy give and take of the interview, the spontaneous chatting back and forth about my novel, Alex, whom I didn’t know from Adam, enthused, “Really, your book sounds so terrific!” Then, out of the blue, she added, “It could be a great movie!” Not this again, I thought as she then said, “Let me read the book.”
I mailed her a copy of OF GOOD AND EVIL. After reading it, Alex phoned me, exclaiming, “You have a giant on your hands. A masterpiece here! A major movie! But we need a script.”
Oh, God, I mused.
But Alex knew a script pro who would help write the screenplay. He, in consultation with Alex, worked on the screenplay until they achieved an acceptable draft, then the script was presented to me for whatever corrections and changes I deemed necessary to make it the final draft.
Frowning was my companion as I read through the script. “Holy cow!” I agonized in some spots. “How on earth can I smooth this out!”
All the corrections and changes I saw that were needed — plenty of them, no mean task — presented me with a huge problem. The script given to me was just too limited in scope compared to the novel. At one point it even lost me. Part of the essence of the novel was gone. To be sure, the script handed me was amazing in its own right — still captivating…moving with graphic lure, sticking to the gist of the story line. But to me the problem was that the perfect resonance between the characters and plot in the novel was disrupted in the script, becoming more choppy and abrupt, this dictated by the constraints of movie reality.
What bothered me most was that some major scenes in the book…some minor characters…had to be cut, as well as some essential character threads, nuances and developments, sort of deleting part of the novel’s soul. I tried as best I could to restore this soul, restore what I felt was needed for plot cohesion, but I couldn’t do it as completely as I wanted. I had no choice but to compromise for the movie’s sake or else the screen script would be too long. The script I ended up with would be two hours of movie as it was.
When I presented my final corrected script to Alex, and she read it, she replied to me: “Griff, you are amazing! The script looks and reads as in perfect! I am yelling this out of pure joy and delight. Thank you so much for helping us to fix your script. It was a biggie because you are a giant! I am blessed.”
From there, the making of OF GOOD AND EVIL into a movie was in Alex’s hands. She became the film’s prime Producer, packaging the script, sending it out to producers and other movie people, eliciting interest and negotiating matters. Now, because of Alex’s spirited efforts, her movie friends are aware that OF GOOD AND EVIL will be a big film that will sell. Subsequently, the movie is almost fully funded and ready to go. Once funding is complete, things will move quickly, and shooting the movie should begin later this year.
There you have it. The unlikely. From book to script to screen.
To order OF GOOD AND EVIL, go to Gerald’s author blog, http://geraldggriffin.blogspot.com/. On the home page, at the top, click the “Buy the Latest Book” box. On the page coming up, you can order directly from Amazon (including eBook on Kindle), Barnes & Noble or the publisher.
For UK, click http://www.amazon.co.uk and use the search box.
In addition to Kindle, the eBook version can be ordered on Ipad, Iphone and other eBook providers.