I sometimes worry about pissing people off when I write things, but sometimes, a person has got to do what a person has got to do. The one thing in my life that I know is fandoms. It may not be a skill that most think is useful, but I can tell you this – it is to me.
I have been on the fandom side of many movies. I have been on the fandom side of many books. I have watched and I have listened. I have emails that have been sent to me describing campaigns and ideas. I can tell you what works and what doesn’t. I am an expert – a self proclaimed one. But I don’t mind that fact.
l am worried about The Mortal Instruments.
Here’s the thing. I love TMI and I have been one of it’s biggest advocates. I can’t tell you guys some of the things that go on behind the scenes, because well, sometimes confidentiality is key.
But I am worried because what TMI has proven is that they will stray away from the books. The movie proved that. It wasn’t successful. You want me to remind you of some other things that weren’t faithful to the books and failed – Beautiful Creatures, The Host, Percy Jackson, The Giver… – I could go on.
Now I am not dumb. I have been around the block enough to know a few things will change. Inevitably for a television show, people will be aged up. Some characters will change. Aging up – I get it. The laws and rules from unions – they are a bitch. It’s better if characters are older to a certain point so that there can be better – well, adult scenes, language, and behind the scenes – longer work days.
But there are somethings that people can not afford to change.
I can tell you where Beautiful Creatures went wrong. I can tell you what happened and I can tell you that I fought for that movie. We were very lucky, because we were involved in that film. Up until the last minute, we talked and fought with producers, trying to get people to listen to one fact.
People need to stop changing the framework that they start with.
Do you think a book is successful because people don’t like it? No, it’s successful because they do. And though minor changes can be accepted, huge changes can’t. I can get if you want to update to a current hairdo – but if you change the beginning, middle, and end – what you did was buy a name for your own project. And then as a movie or tv show you are doing a disservice to the fans. And I guarantee you fans will fight you on it.
When I watched TMI, my first reaction was I loved it. And I did – because I am not like everyone else. I have been around this job long enough to know that before going into anything, you have to be able to separate yourself from the book. Where as I can – most people can’t. Especially die hard fans.
The TMI movie screwed up. People didn’t read all the books, didn’t realize that the universe was fucked the moment that Valentine didn’t end up with the cup. They added stupid stuff – like the composer (yes, I can’t remember his name right now) being a Shadowhunter. They changed Valentines hair and clothing to make him look like a man that stitched scraps of leather, stole everyone from the 80’s rat tails, and forgot his daily dose of Prozac. They added music where there needed none. They made sure that Jamie Campbell Bower’s hair looked like it he had stuck his finger in a light socket and then put his head in a football helmet that pumped in a lethal dose of Aqua Net. They neglected the adult love story.
My biggest fear is that Constantin hasn’t learned that they need to stick with the story.
My biggest fear is that Ed doesn’t know the fandom like he should.
My biggest fear is that they aren’t listening to what they need to.
History proves that we can count on one thing – if the spirit of the world that was created, and the bones of the story are not there – well, you are going to turn off a fandom, who will in turn trash your movie or tv show. In return the word of mouth will inevitably make a series fail.
And if there is one thing we know – it’s word of mouth from a fandom can either make you succeed or fail. You have a choice – and I hope you make the right one Constantin.
If you don’t listen to the fans, you will be screwed.
And here’s hoping they do.