A friend is turning one of my manuscripts into a screenplay.
In all honesty, I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand I’m really honored and flattered and happy. I mean, someone thinks that something I’ve written is so good she’s taking on the fiendishly hard job of transferring my story into a different medium. That’s true validation for me.
On the other hand, I feel guilty. Here she is, a young gifted actress trying to make it in New York, working a full-time job and spending her free time making the rounds to auditions, and she’s going to spend countless more hours constructing a screenplay based on my novel. Even if she writes an Oscar-worthy one, that doesn’t mean it will get her anywhere because Hollywood is notoriously tough to break into. Good writers and great talent are ignored, churned up, spat out, sucked dry. Only a handful will make it.
My sister has a friend who’s an Emmy-winning writer and he has a few horror stories about the business. He retired early and moved to Santa Fe. I think Disney tried to tempt him back with a lucrative contract to write some Nickleodeon series for someone like Miley Cyrus. I guess he’d rather shoot himself.
On the other hand, a whole lotta actors only made it when they wrote a screenplay the studios wanted. Think Sylvester Stallone (Rocky), Chazz Palminteri (A Bronx Tale), Ben Affleck and Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting). There have been so many actors whose careers had stalled until they wrote a breakthrough screenplay. But they would only sell it when legally promised the lead role.
For my friend’s sake, I really, truly hopes this will happen to her.
The good news is she’s smart, talented, and has already done a theater workshop reading from my novel. I guess the reaction of her friends/ audience was strongly favorable. So a screenplay might make sense. On the other hand… I just feel guilty. If her screenplay goes nowhere, it will ultimately be my fault because the story and characters are mine.
I wish her all the luck in the world. And at her request, I’m sending her notes and my synopsis. Maybe, in the end, I’ll be cheering her on at the Oscars.
Have any of you had literary dalliances with the big or little screen? Ever been tempted to write a screenplay of your novel? Ever wondered if suicide would hurt less?