The Art of Adaptation Turning Fact And Fiction Into Film

Linda Seger

Holt Paperbacks



Trade Paperback

256 Pages



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Adaptations have long been a mainstay of Hollywood and the television networks. Indeed, most Academy Award—and Emmy Award—winning films have been adaptations of novels, plays, or true-life stories. Linda Seger, author of two acclaimed books on scriptwriting, now offers a comprehensive handbook for screenwriters, producers, and directors who want to successfully transform fictional or factual material into film. Seger tells how to analyze source material to understand why some of it resists adaptation. She then gives practical methods for translating story, characters, themes, and style into film. A final section details essential information on how to adapt material and how to protect oneself legally.


Praise for The Art of Adaptation

"Once you have a piece of source material, adapting it for film seems simple. It isn’t—as we have all learned. But it will be easier in the future, thanks to Linda Seger’s comprehensive and artful book."—Stan Margulies, producer of Roots and Separate but Equal

"Linda Seger's book clearly and concisely offers a methodical and accessible study and guide to adaption for film and television."—Marc. E. Plattt, president of Orion Pictures Productions

"A thorough how-to-adapt book for the beginning and experienced writer to guide and focus feelings and thoughts to get on with the writing."—Malia Scotch Marmo, screenwriter, Once Around and Hook

"A great book. It answers every question that pertains to fictional or factual adaptations to film. It is thorough right down to where to find a lawyer if you need assistance in securing the rights to a story. An invaluable asset to a producer."—Pat Finnegan, producer, Finnegan-Pinchuk Company

"The most useful book I've read on adaptation. Clear, concise, insightful."—Cynthia Whitcomb, coauthor, I Know My First Name Is Steven; author, Selling Your Screenplay

"Should be required reading for anyone interested in adapting other material for the screen. Clear, thorough, and extremely helpful. I highly recommend it."—Richard Zanuck, producer, Driving Miss Daisy and Jaws

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

Art of Adaptation, The
PART ONEWHAT'S THE PROBLEM?1WHY LITERATURE RESISTS FILMThere is something delicious about reading a good book. I have been an avid reader since the age of seven. Having begun with the Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew, I moved to the richer fare of Jane Eyre and Little Women, Gone With the Wind and To Kill a Mockingbird.Because of my frequent airplane trips, I have recently been reading a number of best-sellers. On my way to New Zealand I found myself stranded in Honolulu for a day because of airplane troubles, and spent the time mesmerized by Presumed Innocent. Curled up in
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  • Linda Seger

  • Linda Seger has been a script consultant since 1981, working with writers, directors, producers, and companies throughout the world, including Tony Bill, William Kelley, TriStar Pictures, and the New Zealand Film Commission. She has given seminars for ABC and CBS television networks, Embassy Television, the “MacGyver” series, and for producers and writers in Rome, London, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. Dr. Seger is the author of Making a Good Script Great and Creating Unforgettable Characters.
  • Linda Seger