Adapting a novel into a screenplay is a challenging task. Working closely with Michael Morpurgo, Simon Reade wrote the screenplay for Private Peaceful.
- Watch this interview with Simon Reade. As you watch, try to listen out for Simon mentioning the following points about the adaptation process:
- Increasing dramatic tension
- Entering the world of the characters
- Keeping true to the spirit of the novel
- Re-ordering the narrative
- Extending the stories of some of the characters
- Creating some backstories
- Making Tommo more active and less passive
- After watching this interview, place the points above into an order of priority putting the one you believe to be the most important at the top and the least important at the bottom. Give reasons for the order you've created.
- In the interview, Simon Reade mentions several moments from the screenplay that he feels are particularly significant, one of which is the scene where Tommo's and Charlie's father is killed by the falling tree. Read the shooting script for this episode and the relevant paragraphs from Chapter 1 of the novel. Simon explains how he tried to keep the scene very faithful to the novel. Look closely at both texts: in what ways are they similar and different?
- Now choose an episode from the novel that you think is an important moment in the whole story. When filmmakers plan how to shoot different scenes, they set out their ideas visually using a storyboard, which shows what every frame will look like through the camera lens. Using a storyboard template, show the camera shots you would use to portray events or re-write the episode as a scene from a screenplay. Copy the same layout as in the extract from the screenplay above. If you choose to write the scene as a screenplay, remember that film is essentially a visual way of communicating so try not to use too much dialogue.