*This blog was written a few months ago but with the film done, dusted and heading for release, I thought it worth posting again because.*
As I sit here typing this, on the other side of London (Croydon to be precise), a crew and some awesome actors are filming scenes from my own adaptation of my novel Top Dog.
For various reasons, not least the fact that I abhor the area around Croydon with a passion, I have stayed away from the set today and am instead, sitting at home. However, with no game to occupy me thanks to the FA’s obsession with international football, I thought it might be an idea to write a short blog about a question which has been repeatedly asked of me since the shoot began. To be specific, what’s it like watching both my book and my script come to life?
In a nutshell, it’s bloody awesome. But for five very specific reasons most of which wouldn’t apply if I’d handed the novel to someone else to adapt. So…
- As a writer, when you construct a novel or a screenplay, you play every single scene out in your head even before you commit it to paper (or keyboard). Seeing and hearing it unfold in 3D in front of your eyes is an incredible experience because it proves you’re not actually mad after all.
- Watching great actors actually act is an amazing thing (and we have GREAT actors on Top Dog). Not only do they give everything you’ve written a depth you cannot really put into a paper version, but they work with your words to make them even better. Understanding this can only make you a better screenwriter.
- Every once in a while, the actors will perform a scene EXACTLY as you imagined it when you wrote it. This has happened a few times on Top Dog and the feeling is indescribable.
- It’s fabulous for the ego. And by that I mean that as a screenwriter, nothing will ever dispel your self-doubt faster than the sound of a director saying ‘Cut. That’s brilliant’.
- Standing on a film set surrounded by amazing people and knowing that they’re only there because of you gives you a feeling that makes all the hours, days, weeks and months spent at a keyboard worthwhile. Not because it’s a power trip (it isn’t) but because it’s proof that if you keep at it long enough, dreams can come true. And on top of that, you get paid. What’s not to like?
Thankfully, we still have a week of filming to go and whilst I’ll obviously be sad when this stage of Top Dog comes to an end, I know that the final wrap will signal the start of the next stage of what’s proving to be a fabulous journey. And on top of that, I’ve another film slated to start in March 2014 so I’ll be able to do it all again.
How cool is that?
It has hopefully not escaped your attention that my novel The Crew has this week been re-issued in print thanks to the wonderful folk at Caffeine Nights Publishing.
It can be found sitting on the shelves of WH Smiths and all decent bookstores alongside Wings of a Sparrow which also completed the journey from eBook to paper last week.
Both books are available to order online from Amazon, iTunes, etc if you’d prefer and are of course, still available in eBook format.
And yes, Top Dog will also be re-released in paperback around the same time as the film is released. But like all of my work, there will be a twist in the tail…. 😉
6 thoughts on “5 reasons why adapting your own novel for the screen is a great idea.”
You ask how cool is that? Very cool, indeed. Happy for you. I’m currently involved on a film project. I showed one of the producers a manuscripts of one of my novellas, and he asked if I could format it for the screen. I wrote a log line, a synopsis, and the treatment. He loved it. Hopefully I’ll experience that same elation you have. What an encouraging post you have written.. Thank you! Blessings.
Thanks for those very kind words and the very best of British luck to you with your project.
Congratulations on Top Dog, and kudos hearing your words spoken aloud by skilled actors. For me it was like being deaf and suddenly being able to hear: a fookin’ miracle.
PS Even though I’m American, I speak a little English. Laughed out loud at your expression “lover of all things Blokey.”
Thanks Tom. It was certainly a very odd but gratifying experience.
You are so lucky! You deserve it. I can’t wait to watch Top Dogs. Just ordered “The Crew”. As an American, I admit: I’m an “anglophile”.
Why thank you. I apologise in advance for the ‘Englishness’ of the book (and by that, I mean amongst other things, the colourful language!).