What to Do First

Hello everyone, and welcome to the class blog for ENG 391: Film Adaptation. Here’s what you should do first:

1) If you have not done so for another class, sign up for a qwriting account and a blog. Your blog will be where you post all your work through the semester, so it should be dedicated just to this class. Note the URL of your blog (this one is http://adaptation391w.qwriting.qc.cuny.edu/), and come back here and add your blog to the Class Blogroll (to the right). There are separate posts with more instructions on this if you’re having trouble.

2) Change your display name: When you write posts and leave comments, they will be signed with your username, which is what you use to log in to the qwriting system. You should change your display name so instead of showing your username it shows your real name. To do that, log in and look to the upper right of your screen where you’ll see “Howdy, Username.” Click the dropdown to go to “Your Profile,” and then scroll down until you see the place to change your Display Name. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom to “Update Your Profile” and save your changes. Here’s more info: http://help.qwriting.qc.cuny.edu/customizing-your-display-name/

3) Familiarize yourself with the blog layout and the syllabus materials I’ve uploaded. You’ll find a link to the syllabus at the top along with assignments, policies, and the course schedule with links to all the readings. If you’re new to blogging, take a peek at some of the qwriting help pages: http://help.qwriting.qc.cuny.edu/.

4) Leave a comment to this post when you’re all signed up and introduce yourself (like: give a first impression of the class, ask a question, tell us your favorite film adaptation, or say what you want to get out of the class).

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About Kevin L. Ferguson

Associate Professor of English and Director of Writing at Queens
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19 Responses to What to Do First

  1. Hi, I’m Steven.
    The idea of studying film adaptation is interesting to me because, although many of my favorite movies are adaptations of literary works, I have not read many of the works themselves. Laziness? Perhaps, though I do love to read, I think I get turned off by the ubiquitous “The book was better” comment that is often issued with the purpose of denouncing films as some sort of lazy-persons art form. Film is a legitimate medium of art in its own right with much to offer the attentive viewer.
    For the first time about two months ago I saw the classic film “Midnight Cowboy” and have seen it about four times since. It is based on a novel that I have never read and it may be a long time before I do read it. I guess in a way I fear the literary experience will not match the cinematic experience for me, that Dustin Hoffman’s character shouting, “Nobody buys that cowboy crap here in New York” will not stand up to him actually saying it on the screen. Being an English major makes life so hard.
    Enough out of me.
    Take care everyone.

  2. Brian Chun says:

    My name is Brian, and I’m an English major here at QC. I’m on my last semester here, like I imagine most of the class is. I see the light at the end of this tunnel.

    First impressions of the class is that it’s not your traditional English class dictated by those Norton Anthologies. Being a film adaptation class, I’m hopeful that we’ll be focusing on works that are not usually included in the canon of literature here at QC.

    I don’t really have any questions at the moment, since all of the answers are pretty much here on this blog.

    What I want to get out of the class is a good understanding of how literature translates into film. A/V media is able to portray action and story development almost effortlessly compared to written media. But I imagine that there are some things that are lost in film versions. Whether it’s a character’s inner thoughts or entire scenes that are cut out, I want to know why they aren’t suited for film. The expectations that a reader has are different than a movie-goer’s, and I think this class will let me understand them.

    Favorite film adaptation is “Forrest Gump.” The film speaks for itself.

  3. Hey,

    I’m Jonathan. I’m really looking forward to the class and my expectations are pretty high. While I have very rarely found a film exceed the quality and density of text I’ve enjoyed a great deal of adaptations. I’m intrigued by the inclusion of “Ghost World”. In a perfect world comics should be the easiest thing to adapt because of it’s textual and visual nature. Comics, when really done well, are essentially story boards that never get a chance to move on screen.

    When it comes to personal favorite film adaptions “No Country For Old Men” comes to mind because it was probably one of the closest adaptions to the original text and I’ve got a weakness for Cormac McCarthy. I’m also a big fan of “Trainspotting” as it did an incredible job of capturing the language of culture that is of it’s own in the novel. Also, while it’s not a big screen adaption, “Game of Thrones” did an incredible job of taking a hugely complex series of books and placing them in incredibly well done long form TV storytelling.

    I look forward to digesting a great deal of film and text this semester.

  4. My name is Steve Mendoza, and I’m an English major here at QC and I hope that this is actually my last semester here. I’m still not sure yet.

    My first impression of this class would probably (I hope) be something I can learn from and really excel myself. I’m not that much of a fan of movies but I can hopefully try my best to learn something from the diversity of how the movies differ from each other and also how they are similar in the sense of making objects piece together.

    It may be difficult for me since I’ve never tried and rehash information from a film into an essay, but I am interested in making that into an accomplishment.

    I hope to get out of this class a better feel and a better transition from literature to film. To see a film, for me, is just like reading a book. There’s an introduction to the conflict, the conflict itself, and a resolution to the conflict. For the subject of the film, you can actually see it play out right in front of you and in the sense of it having a better language than a book.
    Reading a book, for example, you have to picture the scene in your head. The picture in your head may be wrong, but you do give it a good try in picturing it. On the actual film, you see the picture in front of you as it shows you what you are actually “reading”, but instead of words, you see them words and characters as moving images.

    I don’t know if I do have a favorite film that can fit right for the purposes of this blog post. I do watch anything that can be seen as interesting for the purposes of learning something new, instead of for enjoyment.

  5. Shabana says:

    My name is Shabana, I’m an English major like the majority of the class. I’m fulfilling my last semester here at QC.

    I’m already interested in this course by the outline. Surprisingly this isn’t the typical norton anthology English course.

    I prefer books over movies, however if I watch a movie first, chances are I won’t go back to read the book. I feel a book is more personal and as a reader you’re able to connect differently as oppose to being part of the audience in the theater. Reading a book you are drawn into the characters thoughts. The mood and tone of the story and even the suspense is felt more intensely. Movies cut out a lot of detail. Books bring you into the magical world or the deathly fight scene because your imagination is left to bring the story to life. Of course for certain stories and genres movies are by far better, like watching The Lord of the Rings, but books are my preference.

    For the time being I cannot think of my favorite film adaption movie.

  6. Matt Power says:

    Hello, hello hello. My name is Matt and this is my final class at queens (finally). I am already excited for most of what this course is offering (I shed manly tears for Iron Giant) and look forward to studying with the group I am within.

    Having seen a good lot of films in a heft of free time, I’ve not got a very long list of film adaptations to pull from, with more maybe I have seen yet not attributed them as adaptations. Definitely seen a lot more movies than I’ve read books, though.
    I imagine this is quite common in modern society.

    I tend to be very critical of both books and movies, but that doesn’t get in the way; I enjoy just about everything I absorb. Even the crap.
    My favorite film adaptation at the moment is Howl’s Moving Castle, and though I find it difficult to say, I believe I prefer the adaptation over the original text. In both instances readers are given vividly delightful worlds to explore, with some readers offended by the removal of specifics entertained by the book and absent from the film. Perhaps I will have more criticism for those absences later in the course…

    No questions,can’t wait to gain some.

  7. Henna says:

    Henna here.

    I’m a bred skeptic of the adapted film; I attribute it to genetics. Most often, I’ll select either book or movie–almost never both–for fear of my reaction to the collision of these two precious worlds, which I expect would be one of gut-wrenching disappointment. I’m still coming to terms with (and under potential accounts of heresy) my thorough enjoyment of Girl, Interrupted in both text and film form. It is my hope that this class will introduce me to more successful film adaptations like this.

  8. Hi, my name is Xiomara. I’m an English major here and on my last semester, thankfully. I’m always excited/nervous/expecting dissappointment and betrayal while hoping for greatness to see a beloved book be turned into a movie. For me, the curiosity of seeing how other people view the characters in a book and interpret scenes within a text in comparison to my perception of it contributes to the appeal of book-based film. Most often than not though, movies do no justice to the book and you end up with bland characters not nearly as dynamic as there bookish counterparts.

    My favorite film adaptation? Dracula: Dead and Loving It

    • Dracula: Dead and Loving It is an interesting example of an adaptation of an adaptation of an adaptation, etc…. the vampire story has been so investigated it’s difficult to even see where it “first” came from.

  9. Hello!!
    I am Angela Cerbone: Super-Senior and English Enthusiast.
    I have liked the movies since I was very young, when I used to play make believe and, I guess you can say, adapted them myself. I’ve loved movies since I watched Casablanca. Then, I became truly and insanely hooked. It’s not an adaptation-in fact, to my knowledge, most of Casablanca wasn’t even fully written until it was shot-but I have yet to find a book-to-movie pair that “gets it right,” that translates well between the two media.
    That being said movies based on books can still be just regular, old, good movies. Gone With the Wind anybody? See, I am not totally against adaptation. I just like to pretend one or the other, book or movie, doesn’t exist when I’m with the opposing form.
    I take this class now with the sincerest of anticipations that I will become a lover of the Literature to Film “genre.” Help me 391W, you’re my only hope.

  10. lizferraro says:

    Sorry I am so late with this reply; as good as I am with computers this site was just not a friend to me in the beginning!
    I’m Elizabeth, a Senior here and a Sociology major. I’m about ready to graduate and cannot wait to do so! I’m taking this class because it interests me as I love comparing film to movie, and movie to movie. This class will be perfect because I have only read/seen one movie on the roster. I love television, but lack knowledge in the book and film departments. So, of course, I have a list of all books and movies I plan on watching whenever I can. It’s sort of my “after college goal” if you will.
    I was a little nervous taking this class because, as I’ve mentioned before, I am a Sociology major, not an English major (senior seminars do not sound that inviting to outsiders). I am taking this course as an elective because I am actually excited for the final project and getting the opportunity to read great books and movies. Let’s hope this final semester is a great one!

  11. Jamie Rohr says:

    Hi Everyone,
    I am Jamie Rohr and this is my last semester in Queens College. I am an English Major and I had mentioned in class that my favorite movie was Inside Man. I am seriously starting to question that choice…

  12. Hi, I’m Kayla.
    I was born and raised in Chicago, and moved to New York for college. I prefer movie theatres to movies, and was intrigued by the idea of exploring a realm of unfamiliar film territory. One of my favorite movies is A Beautiful Mind and one my favorite books is I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb. I am woefully underwatched and am looking forward to exploring movie adaptations and the literature written about them.

  13. chris88wong says:

    Hi my name is Chris, it took me a hell of a long time to figure out what my qc email was to create my blog. And upon realizing the answer, I found out that I had already created a blog for another class. Sigh…
    I am an English major here and was luckily placed into this class at the last minute so I can hopefully graduate. But who knows, things happen. I have taken a few film lit type classes in high school and college and have always found it interesting. And also, it was one of the only senior seminar classes that I could get into. Please let me get a 5.0 this semester! It would do wonders for my gpa.

    On another note, I must confess that I am horrible with blogs.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Hey everybody. My name is Darren. I’m a senior and my favorite film adaptation is probably Drive, directed by Nicholas Winding Refn.

  15. Can somebody help me with this blog thing? And I mean walk me through it, I have no idea how to do it and I’m can’t drop this class because this is my last semester. So step by step assistance would be greatly appreciated.

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