Created By: Wackd on October 15, 2012 Last Edited By: Morgenthaler on June 11, 2016
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Self-Adaptation

The creator of a work is heavily involved with that work's adaptation.

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(Trivia)

So, you made a thing, and that thing is successful. Suddenly folks are hounding you to make a film or a TV series or something, anything out of it that they can make money from. And while you like the idea, you're more than a bit worried about Adaptation Decay, and not entirely sure you can trust the execs with your masterpiece.

So what do you do? Well, it's your work, so you've got some leverage. And you're a versatile guy, how hard could it be? You know what bits are important and what can be cut, and how to make sure your favorite bits stay in. So you write it yourself.

These are the results.


Examples:

Film
  • Clive Barker was a horror writer before becoming a film director. He has based several of his films on his earlier stories, such as Hellraiser (based on his novella The Hellbound Heart) and Lord of Illusions (based on his short story "The Last Illusion").
  • William Goldman had experience writing for film, and so rewrote The Princess Bride himself, removing many of the (admittedly unfilmable) metatextual elements of his own accord and shifting the focus towards the fairy-tale parody angle, retaining the editor's notes about the story being read to him as a child as a different Framing Device.
  • Louis Sachar's draft of Holes almost wasn't used, but ultimately retained, and skewed far closer to the book than the other optioned draft with minimal edits.
  • Ayn Rand wrote the screenplay for the adaptation of The Fountainhead, and had significant say in the creative process. Among other things, she absolutely insisted that Howard Roark's climactic monologue at the end of the film be reproduced from the novel in its entirety; it ended up being one of the longest monologues in cinematic history.
  • During the filming of To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee used to come everyday to the set, but stopped after three weeks because by then she knew the movie would be fine without her.
  • Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola worked very closely to adapt The Godfather and built together the new storylines of the sequels.
  • Nicholas Pileggi served as Martin Scorsese's co-writer in two adaptations of his books, GoodFellas (based off Wiseguy) and Casino.
  • As of 2012, comedian Jerry Lewis has brought his original version of The Nutty Professor to Broadway; as well, as managing a CGI-animated sequel/remake to the original, produced exclusively for DVD.
  • Frank Miller was a co-director on Sin City, as Robert Rodriguez felt that being such a direct adaptation of the original comics (the visual compositions usually being directly lifted from the panels) meant that most of his directorial work had already been done for him by the creator.
  • Stephen King made the movie Maximum Overdrive, loosely based on his own short story "Trucks" from Night Shift. He even released a trailer in which he directly addressed the viewer, boasting that if you want something done right, you've gotta do it yourself. It's the only movie based on his stories that he personally directed and reception was pretty negative, an opinion King himself later agreed with. By his own admission, he was also drugged out of his mind for most of the shoot.
  • J. K. Rowling was actively involved in the creative decisionmaking for the Harry Potter films.
  • Tom Stoppard wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of his play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, and ended up directing it as well. Rather than seeking to keep everything the same, he had no hesitation about making substantial changes, adding new bits to take advantage of the new medium and cutting out bits that no longer worked. He said in an interview that part of the reason he took the director's chair was that it "just seemed that I'd be the only person who could treat the play with the necessary disrespect."

Live-Action TV

Western Animation
  • The scripts for the Peanuts specials, more often than not, would simply be ripped directly from the comic strips with minimal changes, so Charles Schulz was the lead writer by default. But Schulz had a lot of creative control, often writing any additional material as well, and many of the specials' trademarks—the jazz score, the casting of children, and the simplistic animation style—were his decisions.
  • Peter S. Beagle wrote the script for the animated movie adaptation of his novel The Last Unicorn. Due to a notorious case of "Hollywood accounting," his share of the profits was much smaller than would seem fair.

Other
  • Douglas Adams' level of involvement with each adaptation of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy varies, but the novels and computer game are the ones he had the biggest (or, in the case of the novel, only) hand in, and he delighted in completely reworking the story each time he tackled it. The TV version also had his input, and his last draft of the film before he died was used as the final one with minimal editing.
  • Bryan Lee O'Malley was heavily involved in both the film adaptation and video game adaptation of his Scott Pilgrim comic books.

Community Feedback Replies: 27
  • October 15, 2012
    Koveras
  • October 16, 2012
    KarjamP
    This is Trivia.
  • October 16, 2012
    Wackd
    Is that a problem?
  • October 16, 2012
    Folamh3
    Agree that it's Trivia, and no, it's not a problem.

    • Graham Greene wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of his own novel, The Third Man.
    • Stephen Chbosky wrote the screenplay for and directed the film adaptation of his novel The Perks Of Being A Wallflower.
    • Stephen King, unhappy with Kubrick's version, created his own TV miniseries based on The Shining. This version adheres much more closely to the novel and avoids the Kubrick adaptation's Maybe Magic Maybe Mundane approach, presenting the events as explicitly and unambiguously supernatural in nature.

    I've Seen It A Million Times, I'm sure some more examples will come to mind.
  • October 16, 2012
    Folamh3
    • Ayn Rand wrote the screenplay for the adaptation of The Fountainhead, and had significant say in the creative process. Among other things, she absolutely insisted that Howard Roark's climactic monologue at the end of the film be reproduced from the novel in its entirety; it ended up being one of the longest monologues in cinematic history.
  • October 16, 2012
    Wackd
    For the record, I'd like it if folks could provide details about what was changed in the adaptation, as it says a good deal about what the writers found important about their own work.
  • October 16, 2012
    Tuckerscreator
    • During the filming of To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee used to come everyday to the set, but stopped after three weeks because by then she knew the movie would be fine without her.
  • October 16, 2012
    TrollBrutal
  • October 17, 2012
    Waterlily
    "Louis Sachar's draft of Holes almost wasn't used. The film is much better for his involvement, and manages to retain most of the intricacies of the original."

    Is it just me or is that too opinionated?
  • October 17, 2012
    Wackd
    It is indeed. Fixed.

    How the hell did I manage to write that without bashing the Hitchhiker's movie and still have bias?
  • January 10, 2013
    randomsurfer
  • January 10, 2013
    SKJAM
    • Peter S. Beagle wrote the script for the movie adaptaion of his novel The Last Unicorn. Due to a notorious case of "Hollywood accounting," his share of the profits was much smaller than would seem fair.
  • January 10, 2013
    justanotherrandomlurker
    • As of 2012, comedian Jerry Lewis has brought his original version of The Nutty Professor to Broadway; as well, as managing a CGI-animated sequel/remake to the original, produced exclusively for DVD.
  • January 10, 2013
    TonyG
    Charles Schultz himself wrote all of the Peanuts specials and features made during his lifetime.
  • January 10, 2013
    chihuahua0
    • In-universe example in FanGirl, where Gabe Foster writes the script for the television adaptation of his graphic novel series Zocopalypse, as a way of keeping it as faithful as possible. On the other hand, he modifies the ending of the final episode as to hint toward Alexandra and Cole's romance later in the series and to give closure just in case the the TV series wasn't renewed.

    I think wiki policy is to keep the redlink, just in case the page for it is made.
  • January 10, 2013
    robinjohnson
  • January 10, 2013
    Tomodachi
    Well... this is a example, but im not sure this count as an example, since its a latin-american movie/Book. But, Dona Barbara author, Romulo Gallegos (Trope Namer for Mister Danger) also co-wrote the screenplay for the 1943 movie adaptation.
  • January 18, 2013
    Larkmarn
  • June 3, 2016
    Morgenthaler
    Since it seems the OP has forgotten about this one, I'll take up sponsorship.
  • June 3, 2016
    DAN004
    I heard that Oda is involved a lot in the Non Serial Movie of One Piece, and in particular he wrote both the stories of 10th (Strong World) and 12th (Film Z) by himself.
  • June 4, 2016
    Arivne
  • June 4, 2016
    Morgenthaler
    I'm wondering if this should be trivia. Thoughts?
  • June 4, 2016
    DAN004
    ^ Somebody above already said it
  • June 4, 2016
    Gamermaster
  • June 5, 2016
    Morgenthaler
    ^ x5: Example formatting, please.

    ^ Needs more context.
  • June 5, 2016
    Wackd
    Oh hey this is a thing again.
  • June 11, 2016
    PaulA
    • JK Rowling was actively involved in the creative decisionmaking for the Harry Potter films.
    • Tom Stoppard wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of his play Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead, and ended up directing it as well. Rather than seeking to keep everything the same, he had no hesitation about making substantial changes, adding new bits to take advantage of the new medium and cutting out bits that no longer worked. He said in an interview that part of the reason he took the director's chair was that it "just seemed that I'd be the only person who could treat the play with the necessary disrespect."
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