Difficulties of Novel to Film Adaptions Part 1

One thing that will always be exciting is the breaking news of a hit Novel finally hitting the big screen for it’s film adaptation. However there will always be complaints about the differences between the book and the movie. But moving from book to film is more difficult than what some might see.

In order to educate the fans of the books on the difficulties of the adaptions, they will be broken up to different challenges.

Challenge One: The Length

The longest Harry Potter book was “Order of the Phoenix,” with a page count of 870 pages in the american version. The run time for the film is 2 hours and 18 minutes. In screenplay format, 1 page is equal to roughly 1 minute of the film. That makes the screen play 138 pages, give or take a few due to the opening and closing credits.

There is no way to cram a novel of that size into a screenplay, therefore, screenwriters will attempt to capture the essence of the novel in a much shorter amount of time. They will cut out certain pieces of the novel that don’t move the plot as much as another scene does. Or replace it with a scene that moves the plot just as much as multiple scenes from a novel.

Challenge Two: Point Of View

Novels can have a range of different point of views, however, film is very limited to attempt to show the story instead of tell it. For example, in a novel,  the protagonist might read a news article about an event that has taken place in the story. But in a film, they will capture this by having a supporting character inform the protagonist by telling him. The film will then show us the scenes of the event with voice over from the supporting character.

Adapting a book to a film isn’t as easy as simply copying and pasting the novel into the screenplay. Another challenging aspect of film adaptation is internal dialogue. That will be discussed in Part two.

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