Q: How did you discover the short story What's Your Poison??
Chris Keaton: Honestly, I posted to a writing board on (Zoetrope.com) and asked if anyone wanted their short stories adapted. I received a few interested parties, frankly I got a lot. This was the one that I felt had the most potential for adaption. Almost everything works in a short story, but not everything works on the screen. For example budget is a big factor in films. A dragon spitting flames is perfectly fine in your short story, but would cost way to much for a short film. This story, once adapted, wouldn't cost the producer an arm and a leg.
Q: Do you have any personal connection to Annemarie Bogart? Are you a fan of her work?
CK: I never knew Annemarie until she sent me her story. She is very a talented writer.
Q: What did you like best about adapting the story?
CK: I like the challenge of converting an authors vision to a visual medium and adjusting the story to fit what is expected from a film.
Q: What was the most challenging aspect of adapting?
CK: For me it is respecting the material. A lot of adaptations take far too many liberties with the source material. Often changes are required, but I want to make sure the tone and core of the story remains intact. If I can't do that I might as well write an original story.
Q: Which do you prefer: creating original stories or adapting?
CK: I enjoy both. They have their own challenges. With adaptations you must keep the core of the original work, add where needed to keep appropriate arcs and beats, while never losing that feel the original material gives you.
Prolific Chris also has a novel soon to be released. Visit the promo site at http://www.themosaicnovel.com
Excerpt from What's Your Poison? short script
EXT. STREET - DAY
Brett shuffles off the busy main street down a side alley. The noise of the bustling city fades away.
He looks up at the sky his eyes red. Brett looks back down and notices a small chipped sign that hangs from rusted chains.
The sign reads ‘Chinese Herbals – Natural Healing.’ A small breeze swings the sign with a SQUEAK.
Below the sign is a picture window filled with jars and boxes of herbs and powders.
He peers into the shop, but he can’t see past the display.
INT. CHINESE HERBALS - DAY
Can I help?
His mouth moves, but nothing comes out.
She smiles a semi-toothless grin.
Come closer, child. So, I can get a better
look at you.
Glaucoma clouds her eyes.
What’s your poison, son.
I know it’s hard.
Tears fill his eyes. He braces himself against the counter.
My wife... I want her to live. Please,
help me. I don’t want her to die.
She pats his hand. Her smile fades to a concerned frown.
She turns and disappears behind a red velvet curtain.
Brett sniffles, wipes his eyes, and straightens his shirt.
The old lady returns carrying an unlabeled mason jar.
She hands him the container.
That’s it? What is this stuff?
It’s a custom mix. I could tell you all
the ingredients, but I’m sure their names
would mean little to you.
Brett looks up with a question on his lips.
Yes, this is what will do what you wish.
Now, please, she must inhale the smoke
that emits from the jar.
The old lady reaches out.
Brett hands her the jar and she pantomimes the instructions.
Put a lighted match right into the liquid,
it will ignite, then place it under her
She sets the jar down.
What you asked, will then become a
Brett stares at the jar a moment. He nods.
The old lady gestures to the cash register.
Two thousand dollars.
Brett looks back at the jar and then the old lady. She nods.
He pulls out his wallet.
© Chris Keaton
# # #
“What’s your poison?”
She turned from Brett and walked into the back room concealed by a red velvet-like curtain.