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Thread: Comics Into Film: A Cautionary Tale

  1. Sliverbane Guest


    Thank you! This answered a lot of my questions on the topic. I will share this with my friends.

  2. CalvinCamp Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeNordling View Post
    In short, it goes far beyond whether a concept makes sense for a comics market, trade book publishing, film, or TV.
    Well, okay. That makes sense when you start pointing to issues like film execs not liking narration and such. I was looking at it as more of a concept/character/genre question, and it seems I missed the true scope.

    I wasn't aware that particular story telling devices, or pacing tricks (cliffhangers for floppies) were even an issue - I just assumed they always rewrite the story anyway, using the base ideas, and that whatever devices work best for each medium would be used for that medium, as part of the adaptation process. So I'm glad I raised the question - now I know enough to realize how little I know.

    Would it make any sense to talk about what some of those problem story-telling devices are? Or are the differences too extensive to get into here?

    Personally, I think working to make the best comic possible, utilizing the strengths of the comics medium, is the way to go...because the better it is, the more somebody's going to want to embrace the headache of adapting it to film.
    I'm not saying it isn't the way to go. I'm just asking if there's any potential validity to the idea of making concept/character/genre choices that might maximize the breadth of the comic's appeal. Subject matter and story choices, rather than storytelling method choices.

    To take something Steven said, "I also know that some things won't make it to the screen the way I wrote it.".... I couldn't care less whether it gets there the WAY I wrote it. I'm just wondering if there's anything that could increase the odds of it getting there at all (beyond the old truism of, "Just tell the best story you can"), because I suspect there is.

    Re. the other tangential conversation, I'm a professed believer in graphic novels for trade book publishing...but again, it's not for me to say what somebody should or shouldn't try to do with their career; I'm just discussing the paths to success and failure, and noting some of the odds.

    Again, the choice of what to eat is up to them.
    I don't think I asked if I should target trade book publishing or not (I know that's my choice to make), just whether some of the considerations were similar. Y'know... like what genres or concepts do well in the book trade, whether those are similar to what does well in movies, is a comic that might do well in the book trade in any way similar to a comic that might do well as a movie, etc.?

    Is there a similarity between going from direct market floppy to film and going from direct market floppy to trade book publishing graphic novel?

    Yes, only in that making any change of format, medium, and/or readership requires some shifting of gears.
    Any chance that you might one day get into what that shifting of gears, from direct market to book trade, might entail? Is there more to it than just the difference between the serialized 22-page format vs the X-hundred pages from beginning to end, and fewer superheroes?

    I ask because I'm interested in the potential of the book trade market, but there seems to be precious little information available on it, and I'd love a chance to hear your thoughts on the subject.
    Last edited by CalvinCamp; Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 03:13 AM.

  3. LeeNordling Guest

    Hey, Calvin.

    In order:

    Yes, too extensive, and ever-changing. But, if you and others stay true to the comics medium and produce great work, you won't have to worry so much about it. But, if somebody has it in their head to write a movie on paper as close as possible to the film they want to write, then I suggest they learn everything they can about what's hot in Hollywood for the next five minutes. Whoops. Hollywood changed again. Yep, it can be like that. Trends constantly shift, usually changed by stuff that cut against the grain of what was perceived as "commercial" that then made bunches of money and became commercial.

    Next: Yes. Buy John Truby's book, buy his tapes, get engrossed in the Hollywood culture so much so that you develop an instinct for it. When I freelanced for Mattel, producing the Masters of the Universe mini-comics, I get a real feel for toys. Same with working at the LA Times Syndicate and what could sell as a strip. Same with working at Disney. Same with DC. Same with Nick Mag. Same with the Hollywood production company that shall not be named. There isn't a list that would be good for more than five minutes; you need to BECOME a film industry thinking person...just the way you've become a comics industry thinking person. Flip it around: imagine a film person trying to "get" the various comics industries, and how they differentiate...then imagine them trying out their new superhero idea (without understanding the full breadth of the genre). Sure, some do it, but that's because they ARE engrossed in comics, or because they're name brands that comics publishers are willing to show the ropes to and help along.

    Next: Yes, there's a ton more to thinking about making the shift from the direct market to comics/sequential art. More than you can imagine. Look at what I wrote about film, and imagine trying to make the same transition. One of these days we'll get to it, but if you're interested in OGNs and book publishing, you need to know the categories, what sells and why, who the major publishing players are, what they buy and why...and little of it is similar to the answers you'd get from major or indie direct market publishers. In fact, this is one of the reasons so few comics creators have a clue about making this shift; they're producing based on what they see on the shelves, without understanding WHY it's on the shelves. We'll get there eventually, but much of this, like the direct market, like film, like TV, needs to learned by hardworking professionals who are studying their market.

    On this last point, I will note that my third article on pitching touched on this: learn the market.

    That's also the least read of the columns...and I remain not the least bit surprised.

    Learning markets is work. It's exciting, but it's not fun.

    Last edited by LeeNordling; Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 04:03 PM.

  4. CalvinCamp Guest

    Thanks, Lee. It gives me a starting point.

    Off to begin researching, oh, let's see... major OGN publishing players. Find out who they are, I can find out what they publish, find out what they publish... yeah... looks like I'll be awhile. Talk to you later.

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