What happens when one of America’s biggest rock stars leaves the Las Vegas stage to run for the United State Senate?
The ultimate celebrity candidate, Tyler Sloan is no stranger to politics – his estranged father was a California governor who narrowly lost a Presidential campaign. He runs as a political independent, refuses campaign contributions, and dismisses special interests and lobbyists.
Sloan is caught in a political campaign fraught with; sexual scandal, corruption and conflicting loyalties. Will he be able to navigate through political turbulence and his own past to win the race?
THE SWEET SPOT IN FILM ADAPTATIONS OF BOOKS
There have been countless fiction and non-fiction books adapted to the screen. My list of great films that were derived from books includes the classics; The Godfather, Schindler’s List, Gone with the Wind and the Wizard of Oz. Our entertainment world is richer because of both the books and the films.
What elements are necessary for a movie to be a great adaptation? What is the ultimate goal? What is the sweet spot?
First, the disclaimer—in art there are no hard and fast guidelines. It’s art.
A successful adaptation will have a film that completes the story, creates a universal, visual image to the protagonist, edits out the background details and has a quicker pace for a two-hour film.
The sweet spot is when a movie is true to the novel’s characters, pacing and plot; but conveys unique qualities that result in a movie as memorable as the book. The movie needs to enhance the most memorable moments of a book. Ideally, a film maker respects the novel, but trims what needs to be trimmed and focuses on what needs to be focused on. Ideally, the director has a new “take” on the novel.
There are numerous reasons why a book is a natural starting point for a movie—the novel has the story, characters and plot. A screenwriter does not begin with a blank page. The latest adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie is a classic story with numerous television and film adaptations. A screenwriter can read the novel and place the characters in numerous locales and scenarios.
A novelist focuses on characters, plot and pacing. The novel has the time to complete the characters, fills in the blanks of their thinking and motivations. The novelist does not have the worries that plague filmmakers of actual filming; lighting, sound, inclement weather, temperaments of actors and directors or logistics that exist in films.
A great film immerses the viewer with sight and sound. The visual images and expansive sound transport you when sitting in a dark theater or living room. This is where the director’s imagination comes to life. One of the most enjoyable aspects of any adaptation is to hear the dialogue spoken by a great actor or actress.
The purpose of adapting a novel is to illustrate and create visual depth to the author’s work. Books are far more detailed and offer their own rich, compelling experience. A good read is: thought-provoking, escapism, illuminating, and ideally, makes the reader pause to think about the meaning or characters of what they just read. When I close the book of a good novel, I yearn to read the next chapter. A good read is a long and satisfying meal. A novel’s pace is always slower than the film. I savor a good novel far longer than a two-hour film.
Let’s look at four book-to-movie adaptations. Critics of the film The Hunger Games claim the film was too similar to the novel, it was too faithful. I loved both the novel and film, The Godfather. The audience was hooked in the film’s opening scene with Marlon Brando’s memorable half-speak, half-mumbles. One wave of the great actor’s hand spoke volumes.
The Great Gatsby is a classic American novel. Yet both film adaptations fell short, despite great actors; Robert Redford in the 1970s and Leonardo DiCaprio in 2013. The novel’s characters and dialogue possessed emotional insight, but the 2013 film appeared chaotic with its visual explosions of color and decor.
J.K. Rawling’s Harry Potter has a unique place in the pantheon. My wife and I read the novels to our young sons until they could read for themselves. The novel forces its readers to employ their imagination with the characters. Reading the book and visualizing the Hogwarts School was a supremely enjoyable exercise. The movie also delivered. The special effects were outstanding and seeing Alan Rickman portray the life of anguish of Severus Snape was uniquely fulfilling.
There have been many stories of authors being thrilled or betrayed by the film adaptation. I hope I have that opportunity with my novel Roll the Dice.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Wayne Avrashow was the campaign manager for two successful Los Angeles City Council campaigns and a Deputy/Chief of Staff to those two elected City Council members. He served as a senior advisor for a successful city-wide referendum in the City of Los Angeles, co-authored ballot arguments on Los Angeles County-wide measures, served as Chairman for a Los Angeles County ballot measure, and was a Los Angeles government Commissioner for nearly twenty years. He currently serves as a Board Member of the Yaroslavsky Institute, a public policy institute founded by long time Southern California elected official, and now UCLA professor, Zev Yaroslavsky.
His background in politics, government, business, and law provides unique insight into the machinations and characters that populate political campaigns.
Wayne is a practicing attorney who specializes in government advocacy, real estate, and business law. Formerly, he was an officer in two real estate development firms. As a lawyer-lobbyist, he has represented clients before numerous California municipalities and in Nevada and Idaho. He has lectured at his law school and taught at Woodbury University in Los Angeles. He has also authored numerous op-ed articles that appeared in daily newspapers, legal, business, and real estate publications. In addition, he is the author of a self-published book for the legal community, Success at Mediation—10 Strategic Tools for Attorneys.