Adaptions

One of the questions that comes out of the Superheroes discussion from a few weeks ago is the question of adaptions. Most superhero TV shows or movies are adaptions from comic books or graphic novels. Some from straight novels.

Studios and executives (people who fund moves and TV shows) LOVE adaptions. Something that is being adapted from something else will have a built in audience: the people who watched/read/followed the original material. Those people will come out and see a movie or tune in every week for a TV show because they’re already invested. This is especially true with direct interpretations.

There are two type of adaptions: the more obvious and “normal” is the direct adaption, where they take what’s on the page and put it on the screen. The more removed is what I call a “loose” adaption. The first will be pretty true to the original while the later will often can mix it up and be a little different.

Direct adaption stories will lock in the hard core fans. You are guaranteed a decent sized audience with a direct adaption… if you can pull it off. The hard part of direct adaptation is that if things are too different from what the fans had been thinking of then there will be push back. Talk of people ruining the original story. Some of this will happen regardless, but sometimes if the control room doesn’t look exactly the same or better than the fans imagined it in their heads… you could be feeling the back end of some serious hate.

With a direct translation the creators live and die by how accurately they portray the original source material. And even if it’s pretty close, sometimes it’s not enough. At the same time there’s fear of looking too much like the old material and if that material is culturally outdated or morally suspect to today’s society it can lead to calamity. So sometimes you just change it all.

The changing everything mind-frame leads to a loose adaption. This is something where we skip a generation and follow our main character’s son or daughter. Or where we take a side character and give them their own story entirely. Parallel to, and occasionally intersecting with, the original story, but able to stand on it’s own. Or when we take the characters and story from an older novel and put them in modern times.

A lot of times a loose interpretation can be more accessible to an audience who isn’t familiar with the source material. It allows for more wiggle room as you redefine characters we know and introduce us to new ones. Settings and relationships can feel more fresh in a loose adaption, and the re-introduction can be a great way for new viewers to access old material.

Of course this is not to say that one type of adaption is better than the other.  Only that the two are different, and it’s good to be aware of the differences. What are your favorite adaptions? Is it a loose adaption or a direct adaption?

 

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Power

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People think that there is just good and bad, but there are so many variants between them.  To regulate something as large as a government or a corporation as “Bad” negates any good they may have done.  In order to gain power, a group has to have had enough good for people to think it was the best option.  Weather they can continue to do good depends on an endless number of factors.

One potential problem with this is that no one should be completely dependent solely on one other person or organization for everything we need or want.  Sometimes it happens though, that we find ourselves depending anyway.  Not because of meaning to, simply because it’s easy.

Easy isn’t always bad, mind you, but often it’s not as good as it could be.  Easy is paying someone to do what you know you could do.  Easy is sitting on the couch instead of going for a run.  Easy is complaining about something even though you have the power to change it.  Easy is maxing out your credit card while online shopping.  Not on purpose, but just because you don’t realize how much you’re spending.

Money matters, politics matter, they matter because we let them matter, but we let them matter because we as humans want things to make sense.  We want order and organization to make sense of the chaos, and economics and governments give us something to look at for that order.  Or perhaps more accurately they give us something or someone to blame.  And isn’t that what we want most of all?

We want change and radicalism.  But we also want easy.  And I can’t think of a moment in history when change has been easy.  Surprising, yet inevitable?  Always, but never easy.  In all that order it’s so easy to let the chaos sneak back in.

Of Summers and Playdates

Remember when you were little?  How when you finished school summer stretched out before you like an open playing field.  Summer was the time of dreams.  You would be free from school, free to do whatever you wanted.  No one was going to stop you from having a great summer.

Then summer actually came and you spent the first month of it relishing.  You slept in as late as you wanted.  You went to the playground and mastered the monkey bars, nothing could hurt you.

All of the sudden it hit you: summer was actually really boring.  There was nothing to do.  Sure, in a few weeks you were going to camp, but that was only for a week.  Maybe you were going to go visit Grandma and Grandpa for the 4th of July, but that was just a weekend.  Before you knew it, you were counting down the days until school was going to start.

In the meantime, Mom made you start doing chores.  You went out for playdates with people that you would see every day during the school year.  You spent a lot of time with the children of your parent’s friends (which was fine if they were nice).  For the most part you sat around at home and played by yourself.  You watched movies with your siblings and argued over what games to play.  If your mom was anything like mine you also did a worksheet of math and reading every day so that your brain didn’t deflate.

Now the weird part, is that I’m in college now and I’m doing the same collection of stuff.  About once a week I go rock climbing with a friend or two from high school (playdate).  In a few weeks I’m going on a family vacation (4th of July at Grandmas, figuratively), but I’m only going the weekend because I’m taking a summer class at City College (worksheets).  My sister and I are watching our way through Buffy the Vampire Slayer (movies) and occasionally we go shopping (which sometimes leads to fights).  Last week I volunteered for my church’s Vacation Bible School (camp).  And today, I went out to lunch with my mom, mom’s friend and her daughter (parent’s friends children).

Now granted, I’m actually pretty okay with this.  My summer so far is pretty awesome.  It’s just fascinating how little has changed in my summers.  I have gotten to reconnect with friends and been able to do things for myself, and that’s enough for me.