On of September 21st and 22nd I’ve been asked to host a Guardian Masterclass in screen adaptation. This comes at an interesting time for me because I’m currently working on an adaptation of my 2012 novel, Baptism, for director, Phil Hawkins. I’ve adapted all of my novels into screenplays. My first novel, Hitman, was also my first film script. I adapted it out of necessity. A producer was interested in making the film of the book and didn’t have enough initial funds to commission a screenwriter. So I thought to myself, how hard can it be? I’d already done the hard part – or so I thought. I’d written the book. There was the story between two nice glossy book covers. All I needed to do was pick and choose the best bits, lash it all together and hey presto – film adaptation. It didn’t quite turn out like that of course. The Hitman project has gone through about five different directors and about double that in terms of producers. There are three distinct versions of the script, each of these having various different drafts. There are numerous treatments and outlines and despite the book being published over thirteen years ago and there being some, only very recent, interest from a producer, the film remains unproduced. However, the experience of adapting Hitman and the next book I published, The Fixer, has provided me with my own personalised eleven year masterclass in screen adaptation and the associated independent film industry.
I have written and co-written quite a few original screenplays. A couple of them have even been produced. I’ve been commissioned by various film, television and digital games companies to develop scripts but, for me, and I think for any writer of fiction who also has aspirations as a screenwriter, there’s something about the adapted screenplay that remains uniquely special.
Most of my years as a screenwriter have coincided with my time lecturing on the Creative Writing programme at Brunel University. I have lectured and tutored undergraduate, postgraduate and research students in all forms of screenwriting and script development. This has made me read many books about screenwriting and think long and hard about screen narratives. All of this has, hopefully, made me improve as a screenwriter and a screenwriting theorist and practitioner.
What I hope to do in this Masterclass is impart everything that I’ve learned over my eleven year screenwriting odyssey and hopefully help students develop their own screen adaptations as well as answer questions – as best I can – regarding the theory and practice of screen adaptation and screenwriting generally. I can also reflect on the problems, pitfalls, disasters and funny moments that have accompanied my own experiences. I will also be joined by award-winning director/producer, Phil Hawkins, who has his own unique insight and experience of adapting novels for the screen.
For further details of the Masterclass and to book on-line, please go to: http://bit.ly/1862qUC