Harry Potter and Theme from A History of the Art of Adaptation [Video] (0:55)

You Can Please Some of the People Some of the Time… None of the People All of the Time: A History of the Art of Adaptation in Movies like Dune, The Godfather, Harry Potter and More!

Dr. Rosanne Welch speaks on A History of the Art of Adaptation in Movies like Dune, The Godfather, Harry Potter and More! at the California State University, Fullerton Library

Part of the program series for Dune by Frank Herbert: A 50th Anniversary Celebration.

Watch this entire presentation

Harry Potter and Theme from A History of the Art of Adaptation



This is a huge thing to adapt and what I think is fascinating is This guy over here, Steve Kloves, he did 6 of the 7 Harry Potter movies. He actually quit after the 3rd movie. He’s like “Well I have to go focus on my own work” and his son said — his son was 10-years-old — “Dad, there’s no cachet in being the son of the guy who used to write the Harry Potter movies.” So he took on the next one and he did all the rest of them. He created a great friendship with J. K. Rowling to the point where they could talk often about things she hadn’t released yet. He was privy to new things coming up and books that had yet to be published and it was a very deep secret — you can’t tell anybody, blah, blah, blah. Really kind of fascinating, but to study the work they did — and one of the great things he said in several interviews — was that they had to look at these giant books and think of the theme. Which is what we teach people to do when their writing films. It’s all about theme. Start with a theme and any storyline that is tangential to that theme has to be thrown away. We can’t waste our time on that.

About this talk

Dr. Rosanne Welch (RTVF) speaks on the craft of history of film adaptations from the controversy of the silent film Birth of a Nation (protested by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1915) to Breakfast at Tiffany’s (to which author Truman Capote famously said, “The only thing left from the book is the title”) to The Godfather . Naturally, the behemoth in adaptation – Harry Potter (which depended on the relationship created by adapter Steve Kloves and author J.K. Rowling) will be discussed, as will the subject of this month’s celebration: Dune.

Date: Wednesday, October 14, 2015 Time: 1:00pm – 2:00pm

About Dr. Rosanne Welch

Dr. Rosanne Welch is a professor in the Low Residency MFA in Screenwriting Program from Stephens College, California State University, Fullerton, Mount San Antonio Community College and Cal Poly Pomona.  In 2007, she graduated with her Ph.D. in 20th Century U.S./Film History from Claremont Graduate University.  She graduated with her M.A. in 20th Century United States History from California State University, Northridge in 2004.

Welch is also a television writer/producer with credits for Beverly Hills 90210 , CBS’s Emmy winning Picket Fences and Touched By An Angel . She also writes and hosts her own podcasts on 3rdPass.media, her first one titled “Mindful(I) Media with Dr. Rosanne Welch.”

Her upcoming book, “Why The Monkees Matter: Teenagers, Television and American Pop Culture” will be published in Fall 2016

Three Ring Circus: How Real Couples Balance Marriage, Work and Kids and The Encyclopedia of Women in Aviation and Space are two books she has written. Los Angeles Times and the Journal of Screenwriting hold some of her published articles.

Dr. Rosanne Welch Web Site and Blog

Follow Dr. Welch on Twitter

Dr. Rosanne Welch on YouTube

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