Kong: Skull Island – How A Professional Translator Brought The Novelization To Japan

Kong Skull Island Japanese Novelization - Translated by Maniwa Arisawa

Translators work hard to protect the cinematic vision of the director, and the Literary vision of the author, when bringing film-based novels to international audiences.

Like anyone who loves giant monkeys and scary dinosaurs peppered with humor and buttloads of action, I’m super excited about the upcoming Kong: Skull Island release tomorrow (March 10 2017.) In fact, I’ve been telling everyone I can that the last trailer released for this film (below) is possibly one of the best edited and sound designed trailers EVAR.

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From Screenplay to Novel – How One Short Scene Became A Whole Chapter

rocket summer novel

Here’s the story behind what turned a simple cutaway scene in the screenplay’s third act into a whole *new* chapter in the novel – and why I think it works.

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Screenplay to Novel: Rocket Summer. The Conversation.

rocket summer movie posterThis is a passage that’s been rewritten SO many times in the screenplay it isn’t even funny. It’s a turning point for Lacey, a glimpse for her into her father’s process, and the beginnings of her realization that he’s human and hurting.

I’m hoping this is finally doing what it needs to do. Of course, this isn’t the whole conversation.

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Converting a screenplay to a novel: Rocket Summer

rocket summer movie posterThis is a long one.

There’s a theme in Rocket Summer that touches on child abuse and abandonment… this is Darlene’s perspective.

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Converting Screenplay to Novel: Rocket Summer

rocket summer movie posterAnother excerpt from the novelization of the Rocket Summer screenplay. “It was everything she’d imagined…”

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Screenplay to Novel – Rocket Summer

rocket summer movie posterAnother chapter down… now we’re at the point where a great trust has been broken. It was a delicate trust to begin with.

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Converting a screenplay to a novel: Rocket Summer – the Bun excerpt

rocket summer movie posterAnother excerpt from the slowly evolving project of converting a screenplay into a novel.

What these kids are doing  is dangerous. Someone could die.

So they’ve cobbled together a safety feature. But it needs testing… and none of them want to be the guinea pig.

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Screenplay to Novel: Rocket Summer – the haircut

rocket summer movie posterIt’s time for a new excerpt of the slowly project of converting a screenplay into a novel.

So I may have been giving up too much information (spoilers) in the previous posts.

I’ll try to stop that.

These kids will do anything for this project of theirs… even get a haircut.

Why? One day you’ll be able to buy the book and find out…

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Screenplay to Novel: Rocket Summer – On Darlene

rocket summer movie posterIt’s time for a new excerpt of the slowly project of converting a screenplay into a novel.

Those who have followed this project from its inception know that the characters have had their genders reversed. Not in the context of the story, but as a practical point.

Originally, the lead boy was Charlie. He had a crush on Lacey, and was best friends with Davey. Davey had a big brother, Mike, who they had to invite into their summer project because he had a truck and a driver’s license. Charlie hated Mike. Not just because he was a huge jerk (he was) but also because Lacey had a crush on Mike.

During the editing process, the producers felt they had a better shot at selling the film if it revolved around a female lead. So Charlie became Lacey, Lacey became Charlie, and Mike became Darlene.

So Lacey’s problem is that she likes Charlie, but Charlie likes Darlene.

Darlene still needed to be all the things Mike had been: older, a badass, and handy with a wrench. And the object of someone’s desires.

Here’s my take on Darlene…

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Novelizing a Screenplay: Rocket Summer – the Berta excerpt.

rocket summer movie posterHere’s the latest excerpt on the slowly progressing process of converting a screenplay into a novel.

Berta was a character that originally had a much bigger part in the story… she was inspired a bit by the storyline in Breaking Away, where the kid has to get a job at the local car wash. He’s derided by his pals for taking the job (and being responsible) and is so incensed by the whole thing that he quits before he even starts, punching the time clock (literally) and walking off before his first shift begins.

I always felt like that was an interesting story point, but that by having him quit right away, we missed an opportunity to see how the experience of working  might have affected the story.

Berta was my take on that… Lacey’s boss at the job Lacey hates. But I kept Lacey on the job, because I felt it was part of her maturation process. Through all the edits, Berta’s part has been mightily whittled down, but I’ve brought some of it back in the novel.

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