Book to Film

I was lucky enough to see World War Z on the big screen this weekend.  There are just some movies that need that treatment for viewing.

In the last few years I have been going out of my way to read (or audio book) a few books before I saw the film.  Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, World War Z and Under the Dome spring to mind.

As a studio I guess the question is always going to be “How close to the original do we want to be?”  In the case of Harry Potter and Hunger Games I think the content is pretty close to the book.  As a viewer I look to see how close my vision is to the director’s.  How about the actors, are they what I expected.  But if it’s more than one book is there anything left to get excited about after the first.  I admit I kind of lost interest in the Harry Potter movies near the end.  I knew how they would end and it was only a matter of how much CG would be used to get there.  As a writer I guess the story had been told according to the books so what was left.  I think it would have been nice to leave it open ended for others to come up with something.  Of course that is what a re-boot is for. 

As for the Hunger Games I know that book two seemed a bit slow for me.  If the primary focus is on the next set of games then I think the non-readers will get more of the same but it may not lead into book 3 as well.  Only time will tell.

So the other side of the coin for the studios is to keep some of the sorry but change it for the non reading audience.  World War Z is a perfect example.  Now I know that there were a lot of changes during production and I can only guess at the details.  I do know however the Max Brooks’ novel had very little reference in the movie.  Yes the title was the same and yes there were zombies but that is really as close as it gets.  Don’t get me wrong, it was a great movie and I will buy the Blu-ray.  But I knew going in it would be different and I have not read the novel in a long time.

Under the Dome is a different story.  Unlike a movie, a TV series could last six episodes or 11 seasons, so to take a story with a finite length and make it fit would be impossible.  I think it took me about 6 episodes to come to terms with the fact that what I was watching on TV had a lot of the same characters, but not the same story.  Now that they have been renewed for a second season I think I will be able to go into it with an open mind and enjoy it more.

I wonder what I should read next? 

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That’s your job? Producer

One of the most interesting parts of my job is explaining what we do in the Film, Television and Mulitmedia industry.

Over the next few weeks I will breakdown what a person does and how they effect the project.

Producer – Executive, Associate, Co-Producer, Segment, Coordinating and Line.

On the majority of my projects the Producer is the person that oversees the entire project from the creative vision to crew options, travel needs and post production. A lot of the time the Producer is also the Director. They will work with everyone on the team and normally has the final say in how the project is run to meet the needs of the client and stay on budget.

Here is a further breakdown of the different types of Producers and you will see that the size of the project will dictate what Producers are required.

Executive Producer is the person who oversees a TV or Film Project either on behalf of themselves, a studio or broadcaster. Sometimes in TV you will find this person is also the creator or writer for the show.

An Associate Producer is brought on to lighten the workload of a Producer by performing specific tasks set out by the Producer with the Producer having final say.

Co-Producers are two or more people who share the producing duties equally with the same goal in the end.

The Supervising Producer oversees the work of the other producers on a single or multiple projects at one time and they report directly to the Executive Producer who gives them direction.

A Segment Producer will look after one or more segments in a project that has a number of segments. If you watch a news show with a number of segments then odds are there will be a different producer for each segment. And those people may or may not be back the following week with new content.

The Coordinating Producer will oversee the work of two or more producers who are working independently but where the final product must look the same. If we go back to the news example then this person would oversee the Segment Producers to make sure their content fit the look of the show.

Line Producers are the people who oversee the spending of the budget for a movie or TV show. They usually don’t affect the creative on the show, they just make sure the show gets what it needs while staying on budget.

I always watch who the producers are on a movie and a lot of times you will see one of the lead actors in that role. It shows they are committed financially to the project as well.

My Confession

In case this blows up or I appear in a court of law, I want to make one thing perfectly clear, I never thought of myself as a writer. 

Growing up and going to school I never felt strong enough with the written word (especially spelling).  Math was way more fun because it had a fixed set of rules that never changed.  The English language just seemed like a bunch of people were make it up as they went along.  And a think a few of them missed the monthly meetings to keep everyone on the same page.  Much like the VHS / Beta debacle.

Now I have a job where I interact with a lot of people through email (just like everyone else) and on occasion I end up writing lengthy proposals for possible projects.  So now I think of myself as a writer.

I was always taught that you never apologize before giving a speech or sending an email (unless you have messed up and it’s necessary) so please don’t take this as one. 

My goal with this blog is to educate people about video (such a small word for such a big, no huge topic) how it works and why I love it so much.  I hope that some of my clients read it and I know many of them are exceptional writers.

So if you feel you need to comment on my writing, go ahead, odds are I can beat you in a footrace and if we lose electricity for seven day the last thing I will be thinking about is a missing period in my blog.

Please enjoy.