I've seen a lot (for me) of movies lately, the latest being Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I loved the series, the earlier books more so than the later ones, and the first movie just blew me away. Now, we all know that the sequels rarely live up to the original, but with this series, I'm willing to go with it.
Until this movie.
We all have that dream: that you get the call Spielberg (or Chris Columbus, or M. Knight Shamalyan, whomever...) wants to make your story into a movie. How cool would it be? Then, you find out they want to make your entire SERIES into movies. Look out, honey, I'm quitting the day job! Woo hoo!
So, we sign on the dotted line, in triplicate, and kiss our characters bon voyage on their big screen adventure.
But what if it doesn't live up to your expectations?
I have to think that, after seeing Half-Blood Prince, JK Rowling is crying all the way to the bank. She sold the rights, the movie's making money, but it's just not that good. I'm not going to give away any spoilers except to say that the Half-Blood Prince part is never explained. Oh, we find out who it is, but we get zero explanation. None. Just an off-hand, "Oh, yeah. I'm the half-blood prince." As for the action of the movie, I felt as if I were watching a collection of vignettes with teenage hormonal angst woven around it. It was not the Harry Potter I wanted to see. It wasn't the one JK Rowling wrote.
But this isn't a posting about that specific movie. Let's call it a What-If blog post. What if you did sell movie/tv rights? How would you, as the author, deal with the blown-to-smithereens expectations? What if the reviews were lousy, dragging down your great book's reputation? What if you still had more of the series to write?
Obviously you don't want to go around saying, "Oh, they made my movie a piece of junk," but do you nod and smile and say "thank you for making the movie, no matter what you did with it?" And I know that it really doesn't matter what you would like to do, if you want someone to buy your next film, you DO say "thank you for making the movie," and leave it at that.
But what would you really like to do?
Yes, I would love to have these problems. :) And JK Rowling probably isn't the best example since she's practically built her own genre and will have her followers no matter what. (And yes, even though I'm not a huge fan of the last book, nor the fact that they're making not one, but TWO movies out of it, I will go to both). Like me, people will go to see the end of the series just to visit the world.
But how would you feel if your vision became someone else's and it wasn't one you liked? Is crying all the way to the bank an even exchange?