Since I've already written my Book Satellite L-21 and attempting to write the screenplay adaption of it, would you say it is good to use the dialog word for word in each scene or should I create all new?
Copy the link below to share this page:
Its not that you have to create ALL new dialogue - you can use some of the same lines if they're essential. but when you're adapting, remember you're actually adapting a concept, not a book. it is a totally new document.
When something adapts, it changes. My daily Script Tip on Thursday is on Adaptation... http://www.scriptsecrets.net/tips/tip309.htm
I agree with Danny and William. A screenplay is different from a book. I've done an adaptation, and the dialogue changed a great deal, as did much of the structure of the book. You will likely find dialogue that works on a page does not work in a screenplay, when read out loud. Less is more in a screenplay, imo. Maintain the essence, but let the screenplay stand on its own.
I haven't read your book, so this in an uninformed statement. Is the dialogue part of the characters personality? I'll just say "elementary dear Watson".
Best to change. Screenplays are very conservative and each word must advance the story. Even if your characters only discuss eating McDonalds, as in Pulp Fiction, that scene still shows the viewers that this was a daily routine for the two hit men. Screenwriter's Bible by David Trotter is a good place to start. Also, read Silence of the Lambs and compare it to the book or even Shutter island.
The utilization of dialogue is vastly different between a book and a movie. A book is all tell, no show. A movie is mostly show, partly tell.
My next question would be: why are you adapting the book into a screenplay?
@ William: One thing I learned is never read a book before watching the movie adaption. One exception was the book/movie Black Hawk Down. (Not sure if you've read the book)That movie was almost word for word action scene to action scene straight from the book. The only thing missing really was the background into each of the soldier's lives. Otherwise the movie was the book. When I write my stories (books) I visualize them as I write them as if I'm watching the movie version. And have been told by a few people that Satellite L-21 is the type of book they could see as a movie after they've read it. So maybe the word I should of used instead of Adapted Into should of been Based On.
I transfer the prose to screenplay, dropping almost all of the description and leave the dialogue for the next sweep. Then, I go through and shore things up, tightening dialogue, making sure it's how someone would speak--no, not everything needs to stay. Much can be implied. I try to remember that it's not the book, and although that might sound like a 'yeah, duh' when we authors get going on adaptations, we tend to cling to what is unnecessary in film because we are used to the novel. It takes practice. It also takes the balls to cut cut cut.