Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Your Talentless Mate Demands a Part in the Film Adaptation of Your Novel

Signs of a problem: mate buys you many drinks; mate starts talking with exaggerated diction.

The symptoms: dread; guilt.

A major film studio wants to make your novel into a blockbuster movie. It’s a dream come true. You haven’t announced it yet, but you have told a few close friends and family. Suddenly, your best mate becomes unusually overdramatic – his diction has improved considerably and he is making overblown hand gestures. Then it dawns on you – he wants a part in the film.

It’s not that you don’t believe your best mate has what it takes to be a film star; it’s just that he’s a cockney mechanic with a marked speech impediment and a missing leg. Had you known that he would suddenly develop film star aspirations, you might have written a part for a cockney mechanic with a marked speech impediment and a missing leg but as things stand, you’ve only written parts for bidexters who can pronounce the full alphabet.

Being the good friend that you are, you consider adapting a character to suit your friend, but no matter how hard you try, a tale about five clog-dancing mountaineers just cannot accommodate a unidexter.

Stop right there! You’ve only told a few close friends and family about your film deal, yet already at least one person is after a part. If you cave now, you will be making compromises left, right and centre. If you accommodate your flamenco-dancing dentist, your soprano window cleaner and your bedridden aunt with only one eye, your story will become so warped that you will jeopardise your film’s success. That’s if you have any wriggle room to begin with; it is unlikely that the film studio will allow you to make casting decisions – something your friends will have to learn to accept.

However, “Sorry mate but you don’t have enough legs or consonants,” is not going to do your friendship any good. Neither is giving him false hope. Lay it on the line. Tell him you don’t have any control over casting, and promise him a seat at the premiere

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