Film Adaptation


Staff member
Obviously, I am an 'amateur', who does not know the first thing about film production or script writing. I realize that some of the other people involved in this project bring more experience with them, thankfully!

It does occur to me, though, that with all the 'behind the scenes' footage and discussion on film projects of all sorts that are available, we might glean some tips about how a script is put together that can be helpful to keep in mind. I mean, apart from the business of the studio execs trashing your dreams. :p

Sample (from the BBC version of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell):
I think the key take away here is that this guy did not read the scene he was adapting very closely :p If he'd read it more carefully, he'd have come to the conclusion that the interviewer did. I think that as you work on an adaptation, 'your' version will eventually supersede the original in your mind. But that aside, the importance of having a beginning and ending scene for each episode, and how those serve the overarching theme, is very clear.

And here, the idea that in a film adaptation, each scene must lead to the next one - it can seem hokey to have two characters talking about something, and then cut to the person they are talking about, have to do that sometimes, and the idea is to do it well rather than to avoid those links. To my mind, a film like Pan's Labyrinth handles these transitions very well, deftly handling the back-and-forth transitions between the fairy world and the real world as well as the scene transitions. Much of that is film technique, not script-writing, though (ie, using a camera angle as a point of view, or something).

I purposely didn't choose PJ's Lord of the Rings as the first example, as chances are we are all somewhat familiar with that! But please, if anyone would like to share insights from 'behind the scenes' features (from any film project, but particularly TV shows or novel adaptations) here as they relate to script writing, I think that would be educational :)


Well-Known Member
There are dozens of podcasts that help with this sort of thing, as well as hundreds of books about screenwriting and suchlike. I'll share some of the ones I like when I get home.