Recently, two readers of Thinks Out Loud contacted me and said they thought the book would make a good movie. That was flattering! Honestly, I’d not thought of that possibility, primarily because it’s a novel written in blog form, far far afield from a film’s script format. At least by beginning with a traditional novel, a screenwriter using that as a basis for a movie’s script has a foundation for moving forward.
But a novel of blog postings? How would a screenwriter even begin to translate that into a film version? Each posting is from one of several bloggers, each with his or her own take on the world. Plus, much is going on in the characters’ heads (though revealed in their text), how could that possibly translate into the language of film? Finally, how would the sense of blogging, so essential to the essence of the book, be conveyed on screen? (Think of how woodenly texting and emailing is shown in contemporary movies.)
On the other hand, although it’s in blog format, the book does contain the basic elements of fictional construct: plot, setting, character, conflict, tension, climax, and so on. There’s the plucky band of young bloggers thrust into the role of trying to save the world from the monomaniacal designs of the brilliant but flawed high-tech CEO. The setting would shift back and forth from the fast-paced world of start-ups in Seattle to a traditional South Seas community protective of its identity that brings into its midst a lost blogger who could upset the island's carefully crafted way of life. So, yes, that could be ‘movielike,’ though capturing the book’s playfully irreverent tone might be a challenge, if that is the tone the would-be producers would want to maintain.
And then the author begins to imagine how his dear creation might fare in the midst of Hollywood’s creative ferment. I knew of a writer in Santa Barbara who was surprised to find himself being approached by a film star interested in his deceptively modest novel of unrequited love set in the high desert of Southern California. He sold the rights and the film was actually made and did well. The plot and characters, however, bore little resemblance to the original book, except for its title: Murphy’s Romance.
Where was I? Oh, I asked the author if all the changes bothered him. He said no. They’d paid him fair and square and were under no obligation to re-create the original novel on the screen.
Where does that leave me? Not anywhere really, except as the author of a novel written in blog form that I would willingly leave to others to attempt to massage into a cinematic treat while I retreat to go work on another novel.
SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT THE BOOK AND AMAZON: If you order Thinks Out Loud from Amazon Prime, you will be receiving an older version that is out of date and whose printing is lighter than the current edition. If on Amazon, order from the Thinks Out Loud seller option which will be the newer better print version. You can also order the newer version directly from the publisher via this website, thinksoutloud.com, or from your local bookstore, which will either have the book in stock or available via a quick special order from Ingram, the wholesaler.
Thinks Out Loud, a Blog at First
by Martin Perlman