A screenwriter asked the other day what adapting a screenplay to a novel would cost. Here's what I told her.
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Does $100,000 sound reasonable? I didn't think so. How about $80,000? No? Okay, but here's the problem we run into for any amount of money.
Screenplays and novels are totally different creatures. Novels are far more complex and require more literary knowledge than screenplays. Infinitely more. That's both because novels have a more complex structure, more "moving parts," and because they're the end result of one writer's work (with very rare exception). Screenplays are collaborative efforts. Sure, a freelance screenwriter may write his entire 90-110-page first draft by himself, but by the time the script is made into a film, several dozen to several hundred people have contributed their expertise to the transformation. That includes five, six, eight, or even twelve different writers or more, all taking your baby out for a walk around the park.
That explains why really good novelists have very little trouble transitioning to good screenwriters, but very good screenwriters nearly never work out to be good novelists. Not only are most novels three-to-six times longer than the average feature-length script, but also they contain far more interrelated elements that must all work together. There's simply a far greater learning curve (and experience factor) in producing a well-written novel than there is in producing a top-notch screenplay. Read More