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Thread: Adapting To the Cinematic Sandbox

  1. LeeNordling Guest

    Calvin, since I started the conversation on this topic, let's be clear and not change the rules. You wrote: "I stand by my opinion. Market/brand was certainly a part of what drove Silence of the Lambs, but it wasn't the biggest part. And without the execution (perhaps the concept?) of Lecter as the genteel, charming guy the audience could be creeped out by kind-of liking (or at last being fascinated with), I still say it would have been no different than any of a hundred other movies or tv shows where the protagonist has to get inside the head of a killer to catch a killer."

    Market driven is why these movies got set up, not what made them good. That's a different discussion than the one we've been having about the nature of creating the adaptations.

    Let's try to keep these discussions separate, or it'll become more difficult to discuss them.

    Manhunter (Red Dragon) got set up for two reasons: it was a hugely successful and critically acclaimed book that an up-and-coming director (Michael Mann) wanted to direct. That's two brands/market-driven pluses.

    Silence of the Lambs got set up for two reasons: it was a hugely successful and critically acclaimed book that an up-and-coming director (Neal Jordan) wanted to direct. That's two brands/market-driven pluses.

    My goal for bringing this up is for comics creators to be aware of the variables that come into making the first decision to acquire something.

    My next goal was to point out how adaptations are approached, and I offered some perspective on how and why some are done well, some aren't done well.

    My goal here is to get you (and perhaps others) to keep their eyes on these particular balls, but the balls are separate, not schmooshed together.

    --Lee
    Last edited by LeeNordling; Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at 06:21 PM.



  2. CalvinCamp Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeNordling View Post
    Calvin, since I started the conversation on this topic, let's be clear and not change the rules. You wrote: "I stand by my opinion. Market/brand was certainly a part of what drove Silence of the Lambs, but it wasn't the biggest part. And without the execution (perhaps the concept?) of Lecter as the genteel, charming guy the audience could be creeped out by kind-of liking (or at last being fascinated with), I still say it would have been no different than any of a hundred other movies or tv shows where the protagonist has to get inside the head of a killer to catch a killer."

    Market driven is why these movies got set up, not what made them good. That's a different discussion than the one we've been having about the nature of creating the adaptations.

    Let's try to keep these discussions separate, or it'll become more difficult to discuss them.
    Understood. I was beginning to suspect that I was drifting off the subject, the farther I went in my thought process, which is why I acknowledged that my comments "may not really be relevant to the point you were trying to make." I wasn't trying to change the rules. I was just trying to analyze what I was seeing.

    I was looking at Silence of the Lambs and trying to see what made it good. What I think made it good was primarily the execution. (Manhunter had the same basic concept and was pretty awful). But it can't be good or bad until after it's chosen in the first place, so I see your point about smooshing.

    So there's really two targets to keep an eye on. There's the question of, "Why are we choosing this source material?" (Which is the market-driven, concept- driven, etc. lesson from the earlier column) And then there's the question of, "How do we best adapt the source material for our purposes?" (which is the "finding the focus/theme/etc. lesson from this column)
    Last edited by CalvinCamp; Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at 07:53 PM. Reason: Edited because I realized that my follow-up question was not honoring Lee's request to keep the discussions separate



  3. LeeNordling Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by CalvinCamp View Post
    Understood. I was beginning to suspect that I was drifting off the subject, the farther I went in my thought process, which is why I acknowledged that my comments "may not really be relevant to the point you were trying to make." I wasn't trying to change the rules. I was just trying to analyze what I was seeing.

    I was looking at Silence of the Lambs and trying to see what made it good. What I think made it good was primarily the execution. (Manhunter had the same basic concept and was pretty awful). But it can't be good or bad until after it's chosen in the first place, so I see your point about smooshing.

    So there's really two targets to keep an eye on. There's the question of, "Why are we choosing this source material?" (Which is the market-driven, concept- driven, etc. lesson from the earlier column) And then there's the question of, "How do we best adapt the source material for our purposes?" (which is the "finding the focus/theme/etc. lesson from this column)
    Yep.

    Should (not here) the topic come around to a discussion about the "making of Silence of the Lambs," then smooshing the two parts into a discussion of each stage makes sense (but we're not doing that). It would also have to include a history of the novel and its success (but we're not doing that), the addition of many players, film crew and actors, the many versions of the script, the shooting and editing--check out the deleted scenes from the Criterion dvd; they show stuff that's interesting...but diverts from the main thread, and would've made for a weaker film had they been incorportated--(but we're not doing that), and then its release, reception, Academy Award, and how it spawned the COMMERCIALISM of the serial killer sub-genre of crime, (but we're not doing that).

    BTW, if this kind of stuff DOES interest you, check out "The Devil's Candy: The Bonfire of the Vanities Goes to Hollywood" by Julie Salamon; it's an amazing book that shows how to start out with the intent of making a blockbuster and ending up with one of the biggest duds in film history (but we're not doing that). You will never read a better book (except perhaps for Final Cut, but they're very close) about how films are made...from a truly objective source.



  4. CalvinCamp Guest

    Yeah... I do tend to get carried away by following an idea further than the idea was necessarily intended to go. Someone will say, "Look at this." And I'll be all, "Oh, that's cool. And it's kind of like this, and it relates to that, and has an influence on this other thing, and... and..." I probably need to keep someone around to just smack me up side the head when I do that. (We need one of those club-to-the-head smileys like DW has)

    And, yes, I do find that stuff interesting. But I sometimes think I find far too many things interesting for my own good, which doesn't really help the effect described above.



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