Originally published on July 3, 2016
For those who are unaware, I am an author, and this month will mark two years since I released my debut novel, “A Moment’s Worth.” Published July 15, 2014, it’s more theme-driven than plot-driven, as it focuses on the interconnections among the human race, the fine line between what is real and what could be a dream, and the value of moments in time.
It’s not super well known, though those who’ve read it seem to, for the most part, like it. Being in the literary world now where so many others have been a part of long before me, I’m suddenly exposed to thoughts regarding possible considerations about what could become of my works in the future – in particular, the possibility of adaptations for film. This is where I want to say straight off: I have zero desire for “A Moment’s Worth” to ever be remade in that particular format.
Just to make it clear, I have not been approached by anyone regarding the possibility of adapting my novel for screen. In this case, I am playing with a hypothetical situation, in a time where a vast majority of films we see nowadays are sequels, remakes, or book-to-screen adaptations.
Not that this is a new phenomenon or anything of the sort, for book-to-screen adaptations have been going on for decades. Sometimes they are beautifully done, while other times you wish they never existed. It’s just that for some reason, such films appear to be coming at a much higher quantity in today’s time, and often within a few years after the book’s publication.
But not only are not all books destined to be adapted to a more visual format, but there are some that just won’t work in another format other than a book. That is something that I recognize in “A Moment’s Worth,” as it structurally does not have the typical beginning, middle and end. It’s stretched out like a web, with various characters and events intersecting or connecting to each other, and that is something that won’t translate well into a screenplay. Remember CLOUD ATLAS, the adaptation of David Mitchell’s 2004 novel of the same name? Trust me when I say that it was not effective in doing its source material any justice, and part of it had to do with the unique structure of the novel.
There’s also the matter of avoiding the hazardous choice that, for some reason, are still made to this day by higher powers when casting for particular roles: Whitewashing. Most of my characters are either Asian American or multiracial, and so to see such an old, racist trope be used in the hypothetical film based on my novel would be something I’d never be able to live with. It did not fly in CLOUD ATLAS, as well as the countless number of other films where it’s been used. I just do not have the will within me to entrust a major Hollywood studio with getting the faces right for my beloved characters.
Now if I were approached for the possibility of “A Moment’s Worth” being adapted into a web series on the other hand, I’d probably be a little more open to it. Yes, there is the route of turning it into a mini-series for television (or Netflix), but a web series would actually work better; in terms of not having each episode be a strictly set length, it could be more accessible to viewers, and the story could be told more accurately as opposed to a two-hour film.
But of course, there would be
A RULE that would have to be taken into serious consideration if this were to
work: NO WHITEWASHING! If it’s a mixed race character, you’re casting a mixed
race actor. If it’s an Asian American character, you’re casting an Asian
American actor. It’s really quite simple. If the opportunity ever presents
itself, I just want the characters to look the way that I envisioned them.
Just to reiterate what I said earlier, I have not had anyone approach me regarding the possibility of adapting “A Moment’s Worth” for film or any other medium for that matter, and honestly, it will not be the end for me, nor my writing career, if that never happens. I am just playing with hypothetical situations, due to how trendy it is nowadays to adapt a book for screen.
At the end of the day, books are meant to be enjoyed in thoughtful concentration, as the reader dives into the narrative provided for them, and make sense of what the author is trying to tell. It’s about finding depth in a fictitious circumstance and giving it meaning. That’s how it’s always been for books, which is why contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t need to be adapted into a more visual format, in order for it to have the full life of a story.
“A Moment’s Worth” will always have an ongoing journey; in being discovered by others and analyzed and dissected for its multiple meanings. To me, that brings me more joy than any offer for the possibility of being adapted for film. It’s been almost two years since its publication, and while I continue to write other novels, I’ll always look at this one with a special fondness, with or without a film adaptation.