I’ve been thinking this week about Stories and how when they are framed for different mediums, the creators focus on different aspects to emphasis.
When I was in the 3rd Grade we read ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ by Dahl and watched the 1970s movie staring Gene Wilder. Our teacher asked us what the differences were between the movie and the book, making us think about not just the details, but how in a movie, you have to have the action flowing and in a book, you have to focus on some breaks in the action so your reader can breathe. She was doing it to show us why you can’t usually watch a movie that was based on a book to totally get the impact of a story. Yet, she also inadvertently was exposing me to the truth that no story is set in stone when it comes to adaptation.
That’s what I love about our world though. A good story usually is universal. Look at all the Superhero movies that we have out in the world right now. All of these stories were based off of comic books and graphic novels cataloging these character’s lives. There is no way a comic would completely work as the only script for a movie. You need to consider lighting, sound, and different shots of action. Then of course, there is the editing, where all the real magic of the story comes together.
When I was in high school I read a ton of Japanese Mangas. I wanted to read Manga all the time because the stories within them were so beautiful and so easy to get through, yet they usually held a lot of emotional and intellectual impact. One of my favorites from high school was a high school Romance story called MARS by Fuyumi Soryo. MARS was about two broken people who wind up making each other stronger and overcome a lot of tragedy and sadness together. It was one of the first times that I had seen a book approach suicide and rape with such a focus on the survivors of those events.
Now, there has been some decay in it’s message as the work in question is about 26-20 years old. Attitudes and understanding about suicide and rape has changed. But at the time, it was what truly my first encounter with subjects that serious put in such an understandable manner.
I have been a romance junkie since I was a kid, ok. So the romance is beautiful, but what touched me more was the focus on the two people trying to WORK through their problems and coming to terms with what it took to survive and thrive in the real world. That was a story I loved when I was in high school, but what I didn’t know until this week was that Taiwan had actually developed a live-action drama series by the same name in 2004. I wasn’t too sure about that when I first learned of it, but I was curious.
The only other Asian-Style live action dramas I’ve seen aren’t really dramas. There was a live action Sailor Moon back in the 2000s that I’ve seen, but it was by it’s nature a bit goofy and silly. I was not prepared for the absolute seriousness that the creators of MARS the TW-drama was going to take. Not at all. Because they do. They treated the source material with the greatest respect and went at the entire story with a few interesting changes.
They aged up the characters from being in high school to being in College. As an adult, of course I find that sort of thing easier to relate to. It also made the wildly uneven scheduling and the extreme amount of class-missing that happens with certain characters a lot easier to understand for me. While they do the best they can to focus on the way that Soryo framed her shots and artwork, mirroring many of the scenes from the book, the drama also gives the viewer the experience of feeling what the characters are going through by having their actors focus on their facial expressions, the dynamic change that comes from a character making connections in their head as opposed to the Manga style that allows a reader to hear a character’s thoughts.
It’s why I’ve been taking such care with my current story and work in progress. I want the reading medium to give as much as impact as possible when I finally publish what I’ve working on. So I’ll be over here, polishing the facet of my story until it gleams.