Literature: an Inspiration for Film

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Literature: An Inspiration for Film
Masterpieces ought to have a muse. A muse doesn’t always need to be a beautiful woman femme fatale, either, as popular belief might suggest. It simply must be an inspiration; a child with a watering can for Renoir, a quarrel with a woman for Ray Charles. Inspiration can be everywhere, so why not in words? Literature can be- and often is- a grande muse for people. One of the most popular ways literature embraces it’s splendid inspirationalism is through the big screen, the movies.

Literature is an unending ocean of ideas for films. The adaption into film from basic stories can take years, but the once one has the basic idea, as the saying goes, they are halfway there. As director Sidney Lumet puts it, “Sometimes it happens with a book. I read Prince of the City in book form and knew I desperately wanted to make a movie of it” (Lumet 8). There are a few basic steps of how literature becomes a movie, and throughout the process, substantial amounts of times, money, and effort from many people are made toward the cause. First, a book must be “optioned”, which means that the rights to “have the option of making it” is up for sale (Peirce, “How a Book Becomes a Movie”). If a producer or studio buys it, they have a certain amount of time (usually between one and three years) to make a film from it before the rights are reverted back to the author, who then can keep the money from their purchase and can option their book again for more money. In the event that the book option is bought, the second step is the attachment land, where the director or studio hires actors and develops a screenplay. Big name actors will hopefully get the attention of a studio, thereby acquiring money from a studio as movie making racks up large expenses. If a production survives the first two steps (which it often doesn’t before cancelation), it begins Pre-Production. During this time, people will be hired and contracts will be drawn up, and the...
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