Our final project in the course required us to analyze a text that had undergone three levels of (re)creation. I selected Stephen King's 1982 novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, which became the 1994 film The Shawshank Redemption, which was turned into a 2009 episode of Family Guy, called "Three Kings." Adaptations rely upon the new artist's vision of the work, as well as the culture in which the new vision is emerging. And what can be read on a page is often very different than what can be seen on a screen or heard through music or speech. The text can change dramatically, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse, but it's always interesting to explore. For you teachers out there, consider having your literature students work on a similar three-stage adaptation study in your courses next year.
I write all this in light of this week's video on the Lessons from the Screenplay channel on YouTube, which examines one of the best films of last year, Arrival. The video describes the process of turning Ted Chiang's 32-page, 1998 short story into a screenplay and eventually into a visually entrancing and deeply philosophical sci-fi film. Enjoy!