What to Adapt and What to Create

Almost every new movie that is being produced these days has been adapted from a “true story” or from a novel. Why does it seem that the film industry is not looking for the next big idea anymore, but instead, looking for the next good book that already has a following? Everything is about the bottom line in this day and age, and fewer and fewer people are concerned with the true art of creating something that is purely their own. It seems to me that no one is willing to take the big leap to come up with a new idea for a movie because of the fear that there will not be enough pay out in the end. The entertainment industry uses popular novel writers as their inspirational crutch, pursuing only those that have devoted fans to buy movie tickets no matter the outcome or quality of the film. They take the structure, characters and ideas that people already love and put them into film form to make a profit.

Marvel comics is the perfect example, having made a resurgence in the American household, drawing in the fans that grew up with superheroes as their childhood staple. Their success in the movie industry highlights the theory that money will follow these works, but what about the movies that should never have been adapted in the first place? The Twilight series gets the greatest criticism for this, having had such a strong following of teenagers after the books were released and such horrible reviews after the movies were made. The story could not translate from text into film well, creating one of the most profitable series of questionable quality in the past couple of years.

Conversely, a company that has worked hard to come up with original ideas has been Pixar, working with an inspired group of writers that are not afraid to invest in ideas that have not been previously tested in another market. Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc, Wall-e, and many more are considered classics in their own right because of the creative new ideas that did not come from a book. More producers should understand the importance of originality and taking a chance on new ideas; waiting for books to gather a following to adapt is taking the industry nowhere.

-Nicole Wong 

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About BentleyWritingCenter

This is the official blog of the Bentley University Writing Center staff.
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