LB: At Last! The Real Differences Between Writing Film, TV & the Printed Word

by Larry Brody

One of my favorite blogs is ComicMix, which quite simply is the most more interesting and best written and edited sources of comics industry information on the net. (You may have noticed that TVWriter™ regularly features columns by two of Comic Mix’s glorious writers, John Ostrander and Dennis O’Neil.)

I admire the blog’s entire staff for its varied comic book work and its amazing insight into creativity as a whole. Today’s case in point is the most recent column by CM’s Marc Alan Fishman, one of the creator-partners at indie comics company Unshaven Comics and a force to be conjured with indeed.

“Game On, Comics Off,” the particular column in question is a look into the relationship between video games and their comic book spin-offs as Marc discusses why the comic book versions of hugely successful games like World of Warcraft, Assassin’s Creed et al so often end up tanking when it comes to sales.

It’s quite a perceptive analysis, but that’s not a subject that TVWriter™ has much to do with. What knocked me out, as we used to say back in the days of Frank Sinatra and the ratpack, was an absolutely spot on throwaway paragraph that positively screamed, “Epiphany! Epiphany!” and which I think all of us who write TV, film, and prose fiction of any kind should take to heart.

Here’s The Paragraph To Always Remember:

When a book becomes a movie, the movie must drop nuance and backstory for increases in action and visual exploration of settings. When a movie becomes a TV show, it drops the quality of the settings, and becomes stifled by commercial breaks interrupting story. When a TV show becomes a movie, it loses the ability to explore nuanced characterizations afforded to longer interactions across multiple episodes.

Got that? Read it again. And again. The bottom line here is that Marc has answered, clearly, succinctly, and incredibly accurately, the age old fan question: “But why isn’t the [film] [TV show] [book] more like the [book] [TV show] [movie]?” in a way that not only is easy to explain to fans but also clarifies the adaptation process for everyone involved in writing said adaptations.

In other words, if you let Marc’s words roll around in your head and become fully absorbed, the odds are very, very good that the next time you attack an adaptation project the writing is going to be not only better but easier because you’ll have a finer grasp on what it is you have to do.

And anything that makes the world’s most difficult creative endeavor (AKA writing) easier is to me as important and sacred as the most revered pronouncementfrom, yeah, God.

Thank you, Marc Alan Fishman, from the bottom of my creative soul.

And as long as we’re talking about it, why not check out the full column HERE ?

About LB

Larry Brody has been profiled in such national magazines and websites as Esquire, Entertainment Weekly, Starlog, People, Electronic Media, IndieSlate, TechTV, io9, and of course TV Guide.

A legendary figure in the television writing and production world, with a career going back to the late ’60s, Brody has written and produced literally thousands of hours of network and syndicated television.

Brody has also been active in the TV animation world, writing, creating, consulting, and/or supervising the cult favorite STAR TREK animated TV series, the SILVER SURFER, SPAWN, SUPERMAN, SPIDERMAN, and SPIDER-MAN UNLIMITED animated series, and was showrunner of the French animated series, DIABOLIK, as well as part of the team that developed and wrote the live-action/cgi animation sci-fi series Ace Lightning for the BBC.

Shows written or produced by Brody have won several awards including – yes, it’s true – Emmys.