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Rules of Cinema and Books

Rule #1. The book is always better. Why? Because characters are more fully explored than they are in movies. This is for the simple reason that movies must be compact (unless you’re Peter Jackson) and therefore characters are as well (as Joss Whedon said, a TV show gives much, much more space to develop characters). Which leads us to…
Rule #2. A book with as many pages as there are minutes in a movie of the same book, is still longer.
Rule #3. A book’s readership is no measure of its greatness, although a book’s greatness is a good predictor of its readership.
Rule #4. A movie’s box office receipts, critical response, and DVD sales are no measure of its greatness, and a movie’s greatness is no predictor of any of these.
Rule #5. A classic is anything (good) that has touched multiple generations across time. Examples of classic books: Pride and Prejudice, Heart of Darkness. Examples of non-classics: Twilight, Harry Potter (sorry, Rowling…I’m sure they will be!). Examples of classic films: Gone with the Wind, Ben-Hur. Examples of non-classic films: anything made in the past 15 years. Which leads us to…
Rule #6. Films have much shorter time requirements than books do for becoming classics. Why? Because film consumerism is much more immediate and repeated, but we can’t measure a film’s greatness by its consumption (see Rule #4), so we must measure it by its worth and influence.
Rule #7. An adaptation should never aim to please only fans (hello, Twilight), and should never change anything solely to make it “cinematic.”
Rule #8. Rules of what makes a movie “cinematic” mean nothing. Let there not be a happy ending for once. Let something develop through dialogue rather than through events.
Rule #9. Limit exposition. Especially in TV.
Rule #10. Books will always be better on paper; movies will always be better in a theater.