Feltus Ovalton…The Movie

Ok, I know I should probably have put a ? at the end of that line but I figured more people would be likely to read the blog with a headline like that. I’m not altogether perpetrating a falsehood because there has been some interest in acquiring the rights to the book by a few different production houses; even one in Los Angeles! Nothing has come to pass but I can keep dreaming, can’t I? In fact isn’t it the base desire of most writers to see their babies up on the silver screen? After the sweat and grind of actually writing a book and then polishing it and working with our editors to make sure that every word is perfect and in the right place, don’t we all start thinking about movies, marketing and merchandising and all those other amazing vistas that the likes of J.K. Rowling have opened up for us?

I happen to think that Feltus would make a great movie and a really cute doll. You know what worries me though? It’s that the movie would be bad. What if, instead of the Harry Potter series (all of which, except for #3 The Prisoner Of Azkaban fall far, far short of the books), you got the awful adaptation they did a few years ago of A Wizard of Earthsea or Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time or Narnia or Eragon which—And this is just my humble opinion here—took a tedious, dull book and made a bloated dull movie out of it. Actually I guess that was a pretty faithful adaptation. I know, I know. Christopher Paolini was only 15 when he wrote it, and he definitely deserves acclaim for that, and so do his parents for instilling the belief that there was nothing little Chris couldn’t do. I wrote books when I was fifteen too and I certainly wouldn’t have wanted any of them to see the light of day. They were derivative, predictable, overly long and probably more than a little pompous. Not that I’m necessarily saying “Eragon” is like that, but…

Anyway, so how do you ensure that your baby is given into the loving and dexterous hands of a Tim Burton or a Miyazaki, and this if the acquired rights have even been picked up? The answer is – you don’t.

The Hollywood machine is a double-edged blade. You might love your reader (the person who reads your book for the director or production house) as I did (and by the way, what a great job that must be!), and you might even love your director but unless you’re writing the screenplay, you might as well hand the book over, close your eyes and pray they don’t mess it up too badly because chances are they will. And even if they make a pretty good, clever movie from your book, like for instance the Lemony Snicket adaptation, theres no guarantee they’ll make another one (eg. Lemony Snicket) and turn you into a million-dollar making franchise. So see how the odds are stacking up? Badly; and yet I still dream of a pose-able Feltus doll with accessories, and a lego version of the Magical Ewe cafe©.

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