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Horace Richards p2

Chums film writer Horace Richards writes about treatments of the adaptation…

Mr Richards wrote that the average length of a film drama was rarely more than an hour and a half. There was just not time to include the whole novel or original story. And the film had to alter the book to allow extra characters to be brought in.  Most films required a certain amount of humour and sometimes a comedian was brought on. But he had to be given a part that was essential to the drama. This has to be written in and the plot slightly altered to permit it.

He writes: Also, many things that sound all right when read in a book cost too much to film. With the result that instead of showing, say, a complete Cup Final being played, we just see a man describing it into a loud speaker.

When the adaptation is finally approved, the next thing is to get several men on to writing treatments of the adaptation. Each describes on paper his idea of how the story should be developed. For instance, there is a fight between the hero and the villain. That’s settled. Now how shall the fight proceed? Shall it be done outdoors and culminate in the villain being knocked over a cliff or shall it be down indoors?

When each of the six or seven treatments are finished, the director, the art director, the camera men and the man responsible for deciding how much money shall be spent on the film go into conference. Each of the men may like a certain treatment…but the man who holds the purse strings says “No. That treatment will cost too much.” In the end after much heart-burning and discussion the best bits of each treatment are selected and welded together till there is a finished treatment.

Right! The Treatment is O.K.’d. the next step is to work out the sequences.

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