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why OTT platforms are looking at books for inspiration

Why OTT Platforms Are Looking At Books For Inspiration?

All major OTT platforms from Netflix and Amazon Prime to AltBalaji and MXplayer have been using books to add life to their web series. And they’re doing it even though books may have a strong fan base which is eager to criticize anything that might tarnish the image of the books. Have you ever wondered why OTT platforms are looking at books for inspiration? We have analyzed and compiled a list of all reasons we could think of. Let’s get right into it!

why OTT platforms are looking at books for inspiration
why OTT platforms are looking at books for inspiration (Image 1)

Books have ready-made plot points

In essence, books are a form of media. To keep the reader engaged, they have several plot points – what Aristotle called the complication and conflict and resolution. Books naturally have cliff-hangers at the end of chapters and heightened drama towards the end. All of these make for excellent plot points. Hence, when a book is adapted into a show, the makers don’t have to put much effort into enhancing the plot and making it gripping. They can focus instead on the aesthetic appeal, scene setting and acting – that is, the more artistic aspects of filmmaking.

Books have well-rounded characters

Needless to say, books have memorable and well dished out characters. Because novels are expansive, the characters are firmly established and complete. That is, by the end of a good book, the reader knows the characters and their natures enough to predict their responses to a particular situation. Even the physical appearances of the characters are quite readily available, hence making the casting much easier. The makers have to select the cast from a limited pool of actors who match the description perfectly.

First impressions are already made

With series that are based on novels,the story has already made its first impact . The audience has already given its first reaction and feedback. Based on this feedback, it becomes possible to enhance the story. Any negative feedback and criticism can be improved upon, and the positive feedback can be highlighted. Moreover, the general public feeling is also known. This makes it relatively easier to gauge how well the audience will receive the show.

It’s a great space to hone your craft

Novels provide an excellent opportunity to hone a director’s and actor’s craft. Even though a lot is already laid down in the book, there is plenty of room for creative improvisation. This balance of sticking within what’s provided and adding your own personal touches and trademark to it is a valuable experience for the whole team. Readers already have a mental image and visualization of the book. The makers have to keep that in mind, else the incongruity will affect ratings and viewership. However, they must also be creative enough to appeal to those who have never read the book. This space is excellent to develop as an artist.

Books provide a strong foundation

The foundation upon which to build the whole series is quite strong, with books to rely on.  The themes, the setting and the motifs are already very clear. More often than not, the small details, like costumes and food are also evident. Thus, the challenge of adapting a book into a movie is not constructing the story. It is recreating the story and replicating its major aspects that takes effort. With a strong foundation already laid out, it is relatively easier to build upon it.

Books offer wider reach

Some books are just too popular not to turn into shows. They already have a huge fan base, which gives the makers ready audience. Irrespective of whether the fans like the show or not, they’re inclined to watch it just because it is based on their favourite book or series. For example, Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter series is very beloved. It just has to be made into a show, because there is demand for it. The audience for novel-into-show adaptations comprises the fans of the novel as well as those who watch the show due to hype made by the fans.

Episodic format is good for the makers

The episodic form of TV shows allows its creators to plunge deep into the novel and do justice to it. This is harder with movies where the makers have to abide by time constraints and cut scenes. TV shows offer more flexibility – the makers can include all the scenes they want and leave out what they think won’t work. Plus, they can create as many episodes and seasons as they want, and as said before, the framework makes the plotting process easier. Since OTT platforms don’t have major censorship issues,  the makers don’t need to compromise on violence and sex scenes either

Entry of international giants like Netflix

Recent years have seen a boom in OTT platforms and now global streaming giants have also entered the picture. This is putting pressure on content creators. The returns from these international companies are obviously high, but it could lead to shortage of creative content that is entirely new. In order to cope with the pressures of international giants, it’s easier to take a story that is already available and make it into something larger-than-life.

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