Tag Archives: Shadowhunters review

Should Authors Have More Say in Adaptations?

30 Jan

Should authors have more say when their novels are adapted to TV or film?

Short answer: Absolutely. But the long answer is a lot more complicated.

For one, authors write novels for a reason. That’s how they like to express themselves. TV and movie writing is a completely different ballgame. When I studied screenwriting in college, for instance, I had never felt so lost in my life. That being said, I don’t think authors should be entirely removed from their work when it is adapted just because it’s a different art form. In fact, I think it benefits everyone to work together. (I also understand that TV/Film rights have a lot to do with the author’s literary agency and how they negotiated a deal.) After acknowledging that, though, I want to talk about why I wish authors had more say so in the end.

Do you watch Shadowhunters on FreeForm? No. Don’t worry. I’ll write this article around it, but I think it’s a great, modern example of how adaptations can go wrong, even in a damaging way, so it might be easier to understand if you do watch the show or read the books or check out the article I discuss below.

Recently, Cassandra Clare did an interview about the adaption of her popular YA series, The Mortal Instruments, both with the flop-film in 2013 and the current TV series, Shadowhunters. I highly recommend you read this (and share it): Cassandra Clare Shares the Troubles and Triumphs of Seeing the Shadowhunters World Onscreen

Listen, I’m a HUGE Cassandra Clare fan. I’m also a pretty open-minded fan. In fact, I rarely complain about adaptations, because that’s what they are—adaptations—and I even enjoyed the movie. (No, seriously, I own it and watch it all the time.) I was also a fan of the show…until recently.

Returning to the interview (which again, please read), I was appalled by some of the changes and ideas strewn throughout the show.

It grosses me out that FreeForm’s original goal was to take away Alec and Magnus’s relationship, because they are gay, while adding unnecessary violence against the female characters “to attract a male audience.”

Um…excuse me?

I mean, seriously? Does that not gross you out? That entire concept?

pexels-photo-66134

Spoilers ahead for books and show. If you want to skip, look for next bolded line.

I was always bothered by Alec’s fiancée Lydia in Season 1, but I can also admit that I didn’t notice the difference in violence against the female cast until last week’s episode. Between Lydia’s attack, Izzy’s attack, Clary being “stabbed” in a dream sequence, and Jocelyn’s death that never happened in the books, I found myself highly uncomfortable and trying to figure out why. Then I read Cassandra Clare’s interview, and it all made sense. I am all for adaptations, but last week’s episode was wrong, whether or not Jocelyn comes back to life in tonight’s episode.
 (Which, I think, she most likely will.)

End of spoilers.

The new team claims to have a different stance than the previous producers, but last week showed much of the same problematic instances, including unnecessarily violence against the female cast and keeping a gay couple apart because “no audience wants to see that” (insert middle finger here). I also did not find it a coincidence that they only sent Clare the first three episodes of Season 2 for her approval and then this fourth one followed the original, damaging aspects. Granted, will I watch it tonight? Probably. I want to see if they’ll change their ways before I judge too harshly. But that doesn’t change my opinion about last week’s episode or what we learned through Clare’s interview—an interview, I will add, that was very brave. Authors aren’t normally so open and honest about this topic. Mainly because there is a conflict of interest, but also because we expect authors to simply be grateful that their work is being adapted at all. A sentiment I disagree with.

I am so glad Cassandra Clare fought to change some of the script, because the changes didn’t just misrepresent the story; the changes misrepresented the work (and the author) entirely.

If an adaptation is homophobic, racist, sexist, or otherwise damaging, shouldn’t an author be able to step in and stop it?

Again, I’m ALL for adaptations. I’m not saying that an author should have the final say over every little thing, or even over major aspects of book-to-movie life. But I do believe in creating better, positive pieces of art. And if a director told me they were going to start abusing females and tearing LGBTQIA characters apart because “men like that”, I’d hope that the world would back me up in stopping such an atrocity.

What do you think? Should authors have more say-so in adaptations? If so, what should they have control over and when? Where is the line? And should they draw a new one?

~SAT

 

#ReaderProblems Fandoms vs. Mobs

3 Feb

All right. All right. I’m not telling anyone they cannot have an opinion. You can. (Of course.) But I wanted to discuss an upsetting trend that bothers me down in my fandom core.

Readers ALWAYS hate every adaptation. And it isn’t just hate. It’s very loud, very aggressive, very complete hate. Welcome, fandom mobs.

I get it. I do. I am a reader before I am a writer. I’m in many fandoms, and I am in love with many worlds and characters and storylines, and they mean more to me than words on a page. Those worlds were my safe places when I wanted to escape. Those characters were my friends when I felt alone. Those storylines were my explorations when I couldn’t leave my home. Seeing them butchered is like witnessing the mockery of something you love. I get it. But don’t pick up the pitchfork yet.

Adaptations are adaptations. They are not a mockery, because they are not the same thing. The adaptations are inspired by the books we love, and we must keep that in mind…and we need that mind to be an open mind.

Why?

The reason movie and television producers pick up books and create adaptations is because there is already an audience. That audience, hopefully, will attend first, and then encourage others to attend too…even despite differences. If anything, I remember differences being another form of entertainment. When Harry Potter first started releasing (when I was 11), my friend delighted in explaining what was different, but she never said it was wrong or terrible or discouraged me from trying it out for myself. If anything, it made me consider reading the books, and she offered me her first one to borrow so I could catch up by the sequel’s release.

This is what we, as a fandom, need to concentrate on. We want to encourage new readers and viewership so they can make their own opinions…even if you don’t like the adaptation…and that means concentrating on being positive. A newcomer is not going to pick up a book if that book is in the hands of an angry mob with pitchforks. But if you sit back and—in the least—enjoy discussing everything, maybe they will pick up that book and join your awesome fandom.

The reason I wanted to talk about this, as I’m sure many of you know, is due to the second adaptation of The Mortal Instruments. The 2013 movie bombed, and now, the TV show has released. Personally, I loved the movie. I also enjoy the TV show. I’m not picky. (Obvs.) I read the book, and I know this isn’t the book. In fact, the producers made that quite clear. To me, as long as they get the “mood” of the characters, I’m pretty happy. In fact the show changed the overall tone of the story for me. As a reader, the books were a dark paranormal comedy, but the show is cheese all around. You know what? That’s okay. I could use some more cheese in my life. And one of my favorite parts of this entire experience was calling up my best friend to discuss the differences between the books and the show, because we read them together years ago and reread them together again. (Chernobyl, seriously?)

Then, as opinions rolled out, I saw it happen again. Just like the movie. The mob came out.

The disturbing trend of absolute hate in this adaptation, not once but twice, is a great example of the consequences that could follow if we keep doing this.

adaptations

The book, the movie, the show

When the movie released, everyone hated it. Hated it. Now that the show is out, I see more love for the movie than ever. I do find it ironic that everyone is suddenly talking about how much they loved The Mortal Instruments movie now that they dislike the TV show. Granted, marketing had a lot to do with the movie’s failure as well, but the fandom had a huge hand in it.

All the complaining about the movie convinced no outsiders to see the movie, and the poor sales caused the sequel’s cancelation.

So…where were all these “lovers of the movie” back then? I know I didn’t see many, because I felt rather alone in how much I enjoyed it. I saw it twice—in a nearly empty theatre both times—and I’ve watched it over a dozen times total. My DVD copy sits on my DVD player at all times. Other TMI fans even made me feel like a bad TMI fan because I liked it, but I still talked about how much I loved it. Don’t be afraid to say you enjoyed it, and don’t attack fellow fans. This is where we go wrong…but please don’t get me wrong. I had my dislikes about the movie as well. (Alec, for one, who I actually enjoyed in the TV show.) And I was vocal about that to my friend. That being said, I also gushed over Lily and Jamie and even Raphael. I told everyone I knew to at least try it out or to read the books. I also explained a lot of the missing elements to the friends who checked it out and wanted to know more.

It’s okay to complain or discuss differences, but try to be positive. This is a fandom, after all. You want more people to join it. Why not explain some differences of the show to newcomers and encourage them to get the book?

I might tell people I liked this or I disliked that, but I try to focus on what I liked the most. I try to tie it into the book. I try to do what my friend did for me all those years back with Harry Potter. I sit down with them and talk about it and explain questions the adaptations might not have covered and I encourage them to get the book and see for themselves.

Don’t let your fandom turn into a mob. Fandoms are supposed to be fun. They are supposed to be exhilarating and great. A place where all fans can come together and be friends and discuss and draw pictures and write fan-fiction and celebrate the books.

If we keep doing this, our fandoms will no longer be fandoms; they will be mobs. And those mobs are going to take out all future adaptations. Eventually, there will be no reason for producers to pick up a book’s crowd.

Read, encourage, repeat.

But, most of all, have fun again,

~SAT

Come get your books signed on February 13, from 1-3 PM during the Barnes & Noble Valentine’s Day Romance Author Event in Wichita, Kansas at Bradley Fair. Come meet Tamara GranthamCandice GilmerTheresa RomainJan Schliesman, and Angi Morgan! If you haven’t started The Timely Death Trilogy, don’t worry. Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, is free!

Minutes Before Sunset, book 1:

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Seconds Before Sunrisebook 2:

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Death Before Daylightbook 3:

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