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Learning to let go: book authors see their creations morph into different beasts

From New Yorkers riding the subways, to L.A sun bathers looking for an escape to Oprahoholics looking for their monthly fix, the book/novel/novella is definitely not dead: especially when it gets a second life on film. After hardcover, soft cover and then rebate bins – only a lucky few authors get the additional highs (and sometimes lows) of actually seeing their characters and storyline transferred onto the silver screen.

From New Yorkers riding the subways, to L.A sun bathers looking for an escape to Oprahoholics looking for their monthly fix, the book/novel/novella is definitely not dead: especially when it gets a second life on film. After hardcover, soft cover and then rebate bins – only a lucky few authors get the additional highs (and sometimes lows) of actually seeing their characters and storyline transferred onto the silver screen.

Yesterday’s NYTimes’ Rachel Donadio article caught my eye particularly because it applies to one of IONCINEMA.com’s monthly features (Watch What they Write – where we interview authors who have their works adapted to the big screen) and mostly because it addresses the need for quality in an age where remakes, sequels, prequels and trilogies are common place.  But the question remains: do authors have more to gain or lose?

The combination can be a potent cocktail for the senses or a disaster in the making when the film and the novella come together, but I’d still argue that there is so much more to gain by citing the fortunate example of The Shining. The King-written book and Kubrick-directed film only reminds us readers and viewers that both worlds and voices need and should exist: hence authors shouldn't hold on too tight and nor should we.
 
We’ve got a nice 2008 line up for our Watch What They Write series, hopefully we can get a better sense of what kind of role film history, filmmaking conventions and screenwriting play when a book author creates his/her world.

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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