Converting novels into TV scripts is no easy task, workshop told
Discuss the adaptation of popular online novels into film and TV production.
By Joyce Xu
Movie producer 20th Century Fox held a workshop to discuss the adaptation of popular online novels into film and TV productions at yesterday's ongoing 20th Shanghai International Film Festival.
Liu Lianzi, author of hit online novels "The Legend of Zhen Huan" and "Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace," discussed the challenges he faced in also writing the TV scripts for dramas based on his novels.
The 76-episode TV drama "The Legend of Zhen Huan," directed by Zheng Xiaolong, was among the highest-rated TV productions in China in 2012.
It focused on imperial concubines using scheming and intrigue to compete for the emperor's affection. In addition to the TV series, the novel has been adapted for a Yueju Opera stage performance.
The series "Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace," starring Zhou Xun and Wallace Huo, is one of the most highly-anticipated dramas in China.
"As a scriptwriter, I have to set the story to a certain historical backdrop and create detailed scenes and characters," said Liu. "But I also managed to make up for the regrets and deficiencies evident in my writing of the novels."
Zhang Xiaobei, film critic and director of sci-fi movie "Path Finder," spoke highly of the successful film adaptation of "Life of Pi" and "The Godfather."
"The most challenging aspect of the change from words to images is how to visualize the imaginary worlds created in the novels," said Zhang.
"Words usually pose no boundary for the imagination. But when they are turned into sequences on the screen, the scriptwriter and director must take budgets and technology into consideration."
Experts agreed that films and TV dramas have limited available space to tell a story. They needed complete lines of drama conflict and special storytelling methods and not all best-selling novels were suitable to be adapted.
Also yesterday, Millennium Pictures released its new epic film project titled "731." Set in the 1930s, it depicts how Chinese people suffered during the war. Directed by Zhao Linshan, the film will start shooting next year.