For this unit on adaptation, we will observe medium-specificity. What this means is that we will treat books and movies as apples and oranges. One is not inferior to the other. They just use a different language to communicate.
Literature uses a wide array of linguistic constructions, from the utilitarian to the most poetic. You might think of something like metaphor or rhyme as examples of the latter.
On the other hand, cinema uses mise-en-scene, cinematography, editing, and sound. Think of how much attention David Lynch placed on all of these details to direct his films.
So, let’s try this exercise. Here is the first sentence from E.L. James’s 2011 bestseller, 50 Shades of Grey:
“I scowl with frustration at myself in the mirror.”
How might I adapt this sentence if I were a film director? “I” and “myself” indicating a personal narrative (should I use a first person camera?). There are, technically speaking, two persons here (including the reflection). The mirror seems like an important artifact–its place in the sentence suggests more than a mere decorative prop. Questions of identity, and possibly body dysmorphia loom large. The words “scowl” and “frustration” are redundant. Does one “scowl” without feeling “frustration”? And yet there is an opportunity here for cinematic emphasis. What will it be? A close up revealing an actress wearing heavy make-up? No make-up at all? A particular type of speech/noise sound coming from her to indicate how she feels? What other possibilities exist?
You see that I am giving this one sentence a very thorough reading, and then thinking about how I might adapt it. I’d like you to do the same with a novel that you’ve read. Give me the first sentence, and then tell me how you might go about adapting it. You may choose any novel. No need to read a new one. Please include the name of the novel and the sentence, and then write a 100-word blog post of how you’d approach your job as director.
Please post by next Tuesday at 6 pm. That gives you a full week.