Stephen King – Film Elements
Movies are becoming more and more popular with new special effects and stories that are intriguing and gripping. Movies now have lasting effects on viewers, like books do, since the stories are becoming more involved and more in depth. Screenwriters are constantly trying to put forth better screenplays to transfer into motion pictures, but out of the millions of screenwriters it can be tough to get into the movie business. The Writer’s Guild of America reports that in one year an average of 40,000 screenplays will be submitted and out of those only 120 will be made into motion pictures.
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Stephen King, who has no affiliation to being a screenwriter, has written numerous novels that almost everyone knows without them having ever read one word. Stephen King has a way of writing that appeals to both readers and film lovers. King who is an author of books has beaten out millions of screenwriters in the movie business. What is funny is that King himself does not expect a movie adaptation when he writes his stories. Stephen King’s writing style is the main reason why King’s novels are almost always found on the big screen.
King purposely uses images in his novels that tell stories themselves. These images help enhance the story as the reader reads King’s work. These images are ones made by the reader and are limited to just the images we see on screen. Of course some of the better King movies do have wonderful imagery that can be associated with the same image the reader would have made in his mind. One popular movie that was based on King’s work is Stand by Me, which has terrific examples of this imagery. Stand by Me is based on King’s novella “The Body” which can be found in Different Seasons.
The Body” is a coming of age story about a boy named Gordie Lachance. Gordie is faced with the death of his brother, but is confused about his feelings. He knows he should be mourning for him, but he does not seem to have any remorseful feelings towards his brother. The story is about Gordie and 3 of his close friends on a journey through the woods to find a dead body. Throughout their journey they face all types of obstacles and go through a series of ups and downs. In the end they find the body and face a climatic altercation with the neighborhood gang.
The four boys end up scaring the gang away and go home without ever telling anyone about their journey. The theme to the story is about losing one’s innocence, the transformation from being a child into being an adult. The film portrayed the theme very well and viewers did not lose much if they have never read the actually novella. When a book transfers over to a film much of the content is usually lost. It is a very tough feat to keep everything that was in the book in tact and still portray the same effect. When a reader reads a novel, they take their time and they get involved with the characters and learn about them.
When a viewer watches a movie, the director needs to pump out as much information as he can in two hours and still stay within the parameters of the book. What happens most of the time due to budget or time constraint is not everything from the book is transferred over to the film, which causes gaps in the story. Also, directors need to find actors that can portray the feelings of the character and at the same time complete the look of the character. Sometimes one thing is sacrificed for another and the character is not as magnificent on screen as they were in the book.
The fact that the book loses a lot of content prevents many directors from trying to adapt books into film, but there are directors that try. When writing a story and writing a screenplay the two are very much alike but at the same time very different. A screenplay is basically a movie on paper. Everything that happens on the screen would be put into words, from camera movement to dialogue. For example here is the opening sequence to The Green Mile which was a movie based on one of Stephen King’s novel. Frank Darabont wrote the screenplay.