Adaptation — Unconventionally Conveying the Conventional

Hi, I’m Michael. This is Lessons from the Screenplay. People have been requesting I do a Charlie
Kaufman script since my first video. I’ve always loved his 2002 film "Adaptation," as it cleverly pokes fun at the writing process while at the same time exemplifying the struggle
it’s exploring. "How to start? I'm hungry. I should get coffee. Coffee would help me think. But I should write something first, then reward myself with coffee. Coffee and a muffin. As the film proceeds, the audience slowly realizes that "Adaptation" is a movie about the actual screenwriter writing the very movie they’re watching. So today… Today what? Man, that scene is really funny. It’s so accurate. I am kind of hungry. But I should write the intro first. A chocolate croissant sounds good, though. Zach: Michael! You’re almost at a million subscribers! What? Yeah! Why don’t you seem excited? Because now the next video I release has to
be special! Oh yeah! Like a thank you message to your fans? Zach, that little red subscribe button has
been clicked on by a million people. This literally has to be the best video I've
ever made. The second that number hits a million, I have to be ready to click publish on a video that's gonna blow people's socks off with
how amazing it is. Wow. Hey, should we start a channel together? "Tucker Brothers Movie Reviews!" Ooh, this is gonna be great! Oh shoot, I can't because I have to start
on the video if I want it up by a million. Oh, yeah I guess that makes sense. Hey, maybe I'll do my own channel. Hey, aren't you gonna start writing your video? You don't just sit down and start writing,
Zach. First, you research. Oh… research. Michael! Check out my video essay, it's blowing up! Weird stuff happens, nobody knows what's going
on– Ooh it's really a nine! Thought it was a six, really a nine. Something bad happened in that room. I bet you anything something bad happened
in that room. It's not a video essay. That's you reacting to things. Hey–That is a good idea for a channel name! "Zach Reacts." I'm kinda busy. Just really quick. I want to run some ideas by you for my big
one thousand subscriber video. You already have a thousand subscribers? I know, right? I'm becoming an influencer, just like you! Zach, don't say "influencer." Sorry, I forgot. How's your writing coming? I'm researching. I thought you researched yesterday. It's a multi-day process. I can't start until I have everything figure
out. Oh. Ok. So I was thinking I could also do a video
on Adaptation– discussing how it breaks all the rules of
screenwriting. It doesn't break all the rules of screenwriting. But don't you remember how Kaufman like rails against all the principles, and conventions
of screenwriting– Adaptation has all the conventional beats
of a story. It begins with the inciting incident as Charlie has to adapt an unadaptable
book. This creates his desire to adapt it in a way that does the book justice. In the first half of act two conflict builds as his ignorant brother starts
to gain success. At the midpoint, Charlie admits that his method
isn't working and tries a different approach. Throughout the second half of act two he thinks it's working until at the crisis he realizes he's just written a bunch of nonsense. And finally, in act three, during the climax, Charlie realizes he's been operating from
a place of fear, self-actualizes, and figures out how to write
his screenplay. "The inciting incident is when he is asked
to adapt a book." And what was the next part? Just–do some research! Read a book! Mmm, I'm not much a reader. You can listen to them on Audible. You could literally download a free audiobook
today, and start doing some research of your own. That's a good idea. What's your link again?, slash– Oh wait here it is, I found it. Once again that's or text "LFTS" to 500 500 What book should I download? You know what, I think you'd love Save the
Cat. Cool! Dude. You're like 900 subs away from a million! Not much time left! Ah, you always figure it out! Ok. Here we go. Going to start writing… now. Ok. What was that awesome quote about how to get
motivated to write? Someone sent it to me on twitter. Ok, it's somewhere here in my mentions. I wonder if any verified people liked any
of my tweets? I'll just check really quick. Oh my god! Lindsay Ellis liked my retweet. Her videos are so good. "Independence Day" is a 1996 film directed
by Roland Emmerich. It is dumb as a bag of rocks and it is one
of my favorite movies. I love it. THAT is how Adaptation unconventionally conveys
the conventional! Let's see what Michael thinks. What are you doing? I'm working. I was struck by inspiration so I just started
filming. I think my Adaptation video essay is going
to be a free-style vlog. If it's free-style, it's not a video essay. The word "essay" is in the name. I am loving "Save the Cat!" by the way. Do you think that the brother character in
Adaptation was written so the protagonist could "save the cat?" I think the brother character allows the screenwriter
to externalize the internal struggle of the protagonist. That way each character represents a different
take on the theme, and exposition can be conveyed through dialogue
and conflict! That's great! The brother character represents the theme
of internal struggle, so that later on, when we see… Alright. No distractions. Writing. Begins. Right. Now– Michael! Michael! What?! One. Million. I hit a million subscribers?! No! My Adaptation video just hit a million views! Yo yo yo, this is Zach… REACTS! And today, I'm gonna talk about "Adaptation." "With his new video on the 2002 film Adaptation, Zach Reacts has managed to evolve the form
of the modern video essay–" "…and the way Zach Reacts features yellow in each framing is nothing short of masterful– shifting how we as a culture will perceive
this color. And at the end of the video, his drinking of milk symbolizes his quest
into cinematic adulthood–" "…but perhaps the biggest triumph of this
new entry into the film video essay scene, is how it never overthinks itself." "Because all the characters really represent some kind of force or internal struggle of
the protagonist." "It's clear that Zach Reacts knows how to 'just write.'" "Fade to black." Michael, this is SO exciting. This is just like when your Dark Knight video
blew up! Yeah. Good work. I'm proud of you. Thanks, man. That means a lot. And hey! Look! You'll hit a million subscribers by tomorrow! Ah not much time left, lock is ticking! So exciting! ZACH: This is LITERALLY the best day of my
life. "Oh, Michael's good, he's working on his latest video as well." This is not possible. I don't understand. How is his video any good? He didn't do any research. He just went for it and happened to say some
things that sound cool. Oh god, is his Adaptation video better than
mine is going to be? This is it. This is the end of the channel. I should pull an Every Frame a Painting and
just quit while I'm ahead. What a disaster. No. No, I can't let Zach win. I have to prove that I can make a video better. Besides, how hard is it to do what he did? "Oh, I just started writing…blah blah blah." You know what, Zach? I can just start writing too. Watch this! Hi, I'm Michael. And this is a special episode of Lessons from
the Screenplay. I'm sure many of you have seen my brother's
"Adaptation" video by now. I'm here to tell you that it is overrated! Not only is his thesis flawed, his conclusion
is entirely contradictory. Oh yeah, this is going to be good. Adaptation is not, as my brother claims, an exemplification of unconventional narrative
storytelling… Its greater success is that it authentically
captures the neurotic and laborious and dizzying process
of writing something. This is enhanced by the meta aspect of it being a film about writing the film
the audience is watching. Yet SOME VIDEO ESSAYISTS– oh wait, "Zach Reacts" can't even be called
a video essay. It's simply the mindless ramblings of someone who seems to have no problem speaking without giving a thought to what is being
said. In short, it's an embarrassment to the entire
YouTube film criticism community. If "Zach Reacts" possessed any class, he would
delete the video. This is it, my magnum opus. I'll make a couple tweaks in the morning and
post it. This will show him what a real video essay
looks like. ZACH: No–no, I swear to god I've never done
this before. Matt: "Like I don't want to exaggerate, but I honestly think this is a new era of
film criticism on YouTube." Zach: "Oh, come on." Who are you talking to? Oh, hey, Michael! I'm just chatting with Matt, Jack, and Sage! From Nando v Movies, Now You See It, and Just
Write? Yeah! "Hey." "Hey Michael." "Hello." Hi… We were just talking about how your brother
is a genius. Oh, no guys–Michael is the real genius in
the family. I mean, Lessons from a Screenplay is fine, but there's something so fresh about your
take, Zach. Oh, psh. These guys. Hey, how's your Adaptation video coming along? I finished it last night. Wait really!? Ooh, can we watch it? We can screen share! Actually. Yeah, no this will be good. Guys this is gonna be great. In short, it's an embarrassment to the entire
YouTube film criticism community. If "Zach Reacts" possessed any class, he would
delete the video. That was, um.. Yeah… I mean it's a first draft. Is it intentional that it's effectively a
react video that is complaining about a react video? Right, was it supposed to be clever or something? Umm… It feels more…negative than your other videos. Well, this is why I say you shouldn't just
dive in and start writing! But I think it can still be saved. Actually! You guys. I was thinking, it could be fun to do a collaboration since this is the one million subscribers
video. Would you guys be down to make a cameo in
my "Adaptation" video? – That's not really something I'm interested in
– Sorry I don't have time for that Uhhhh no. Hey Zach, I gotta run, but we'll catch up
later? Yeah, take it easy, guys. Really nice talking to you, see you later. Bye! Hey. You hit one million subscribers. Congratulations. Am I interrupting? Zach? Zach? Oh sorry. I'm listening to "Save The Cat!" on Audible. You know this book is really helpful, you should use it sometime on your channel. Um… Listen, I just want to say I'm sorry. That video was really mean. Yeah, it was pretty rough. Felt a little off-brand. I think after being so afraid to write something it just felt good to be writing anything, even if it was going in completely the wrong
direction and ultimately useless. It's ok. I was just happy to see that you actually
were making progress. And it wasn't totally useless! There was this one part–let me pull it up. This. MICHAEL: Its greater success is that it authentically
captures the neurotic and laborious and dizzying process
of writing something. This is enhanced by the meta aspect of it
being a film about writing the film the audience is watching. That! That's interesting! Why don't you just make a video about that? But I don't know how to make a video about
that. I don't have a clear picture in my head of the finished product or how it will be good. Well, maybe just start? See what happens. Ok, so I'm free-writing. Just, typing away without any kind of filter. Just starting to write about how cool it is
that "Adaptation" is a movie about a guy writing
the movie you're watching, and how that manages to capture the writing
process so well. But how could that ever be an LFTS video? To truly capture that essence of the movie
you'd have to… Ok, so we make a Lessons from the Screenplay
video about "Adaptation" that is actually a short film about me trying
to write a Lessons from the Screenplay video about "Adaptation." Yassss. It opens just like a normal video. "Hi, I'm Michael. This is Lessons from the Screenplay. Adaptation does X,Y,Z—yada-yada-yada." And then we go into movie mode. And then there's an Inciting Incident! You're about to hit a million subscribers
and you need to make the best LFTS video yet! Yes! Ok, I love it! And it follows my journey, where I'm too afraid
of failing to begin, and then ultimately have to learn that sometimes
the most important thing is to just start writing. Zach: You should write me into it! You can use the brother to represent a different
take on the theme, and convey exposition through dialogue! Brilliant! Yes. Great, so how does it end? Ok, so, it ends with Michael and his brother beginning to write the script for the video
people have just watched. And then it dissolves back into LFTS land,
as I say… "Adaptation" is a great example of how you
can use the medium of your story to enhance the theme. It demonstrates how you can do something innovative while still adhering to storytelling fundamentals. And shows just how stressful–and fun–it
can be to tackle adaptation. Hey guys! Hope you enjoyed our one million subscriber video. I have a couple thank-yous that I want– Oh! Am I gonna get mentioned? Just be patient. Ok, sorry. "First, I want to say thank you to Audible for sponsoring this video. Audible has the largest selection of audiobooks on the planet, and each month Audible members get one credit toward any audiobook of their choice and two Audible originals you can't get anywhere else. Oh, ok! I know this one. Go to or text "LFTS" to 500 500 to start a 30-day trial and get your first audio book for free. Thank you to my good friend Zach Brown for playing my brother. Thank you to my good friend Alex Calleros for directing this short and our director of photography Terrance Stewart. Thank you to the LFTS team— Tricia Aurand, Brian Bitner, and Vince Major— for helping develop the story for the video. And thank you to Matt from Nando v Movies, Jack from Now You See It, and Sage from Just Write for their awesome cameos. Head to their channels and check out their videos, they’re all great. And finally, from all of us, thank you for watching and supporting Lessons from the Screenplay. You’ve given us an incredible gift and I am so grateful. So, thank you for watching, and we’ll see you next time! Bye!

48 thoughts on “Adaptation — Unconventionally Conveying the Conventional”

  1. I hope you enjoyed our video on Adaptation! Passing 1M subscribers was so surreal. You guys are the best. <3 Want to hear about the making of this short? Check out our podcast episode where discuss the whole process:
    Also, we have LFTS merch now! Check out our store:

  2. This was brilliant. And so well done. Was kind of waiting for the moment where you killed off your fake brother though…

  3. "Special Thanks: Alt Shift X" No idea what he did to help out with the video, but cool to see even more cool channels get shout outs here.

  4. This video was brilliant and perfect. It needed to be done. Not familiar with you or the channel, but I subscribed and I’m glad this exists.

  5. It's soooo brilliant! It gives me goosebumps for how cool it is!
    The true gem of the LFTS collection.

  6. I almost believe he's really your brother, and i want to check after this vids if there's a channel named Zach Reacts…

  7. It's novel, interesting, and thought provoking. And I want you to know we will always support you. As a fan from China, I'm gonna say “很棒的视频,继续加油!”

  8. Wow so Zach really out there not crediting his brother or his sources for any of his videos? Man that’s gonna get him in major trouble eventually

  9. Youtube did not suggest I watched this movie after the Lindsay Elis' Independence Day, I watched that and thought "Oh, maybe I should watch something for Lessons from the Screen Play… This Homecoming movie? Nhe…. What about this one about Adaptations? Sounds good."

    So this feels extra meta. Or maybe there was something in Lindsay's video. A hint. A frame saying "Lessons from the ScreenPlay – Adaptation – Unconventionally Conveying the Conventional"

  10. who else wants him to just make video essays like this. he has everything i need and love in this one video. he even has great acting which i legitimately was not anticipating

  11. This is a great video, I should post a comment. How to start? I’m hungry, I should stop YouTube bingeing and have breakfast. Cereal would help me think. But I should make a start, then reward myself with breakfast.

    This comment is important, the video isn’t so old that my comment would definitely get buried at the bottom of the Top Comments list, someone might actually read it!

    The video is so noteworthy partly because of all the ways it could have come off as lame or naff but didn’t. But how do I convey that without it sounding like I’m damning with faint praise or being passive aggressive? I could say “the video basically follows the same structure as the thing it’s discussing” and then go on to say “but it’s done with enough thought and craft that it’s still interesting in its own right and has worthwhile things to say without becoming a drawn-out by-the-numbers parody” but that still comes across more critical than it does positive, which isn’t what I want at all.

    Wait, what if the comment was about me trying to figure out how to write my comment, which would be like what the video was doing for the film that was doing that for the book! But then how do I avoid doing the thing that I’m praising the video for not doing? How do I stop the comment from seeming by-the-numbers, no derivative, I already said by-the-number, or artless? Can I introduce my brother (my fictional brother, not my real brother, although my real brother has a YouTube channel so maybe there’s something there, can you tag people in YouTube comments?) as a new character?

    Is this what it was like making the video? Where Michael experienced the same feeling of doubting himself as Kaufman did, but magnified by concerns that he was just ripping off what Kaufman did and – damn now it sounds like I’m accusing him of copying Adaptation. (Adaptation. is stylised with a full stop on Wikipedia but not in the video, which one should I use, I don’t want it to look like I can’t use full stops correctly) which is exactly the thing I’m trying not to say.

    I should have breakfast.

  12. Wow I was blown away by how fantastic this video was! Great Job Michael! You really deserve this success and so much more!

  13. I try watching the movies you make videos about usually but I've been putting off watching Adaptation. I still haven't seen the movie but I went ahead and watched this video and I'm glad I did because I completely understood the point without even watching the movie. Great video

  14. Congratulations for the million of subscriptions and thanks for your videos, i just finish my first draft of my first feature film, and this channel and you helped me a lot.

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