Ed Allen has novel adapted for television movie An extraordinary professor of English from the department of English at The University of South Dakota recently had one of his novels adapted into a television movie.
Easy Six, the film based on Mustang Sally by Ed Allen, had its world premiere on the Showtime Network on Wednesday June 8, at 10 p.m. The film was directed by Chis Iovenko, and stars Julian Sands, James Belushi and Kate Towne.
Easy Six will be shown periodically on Showtime for the next few weeks, ending on Aug. 29.
Allen said Iovenko approached him several years ago about buying the option to adapt Mustang Sally into a screenplay.
�One way or another, Chris Iovenko came upon the novel. He liked it, and I guess he was looking for a project so he paid my agent a small amount of money just to have the rights so that nobody else could do it,� Allen said.�
After the terms of the agreement were finalized, Allen said the project was largely out of his hands. He met with the screenwriter several times during preproduction and acted as a creative consultant, but realized that his story would change substantially by the time the shooting script was finalized.
Meanwhile, Iovenko worked to develop his screenplay, and to sell it wherever he could.
�This is what you would call an ?indie� outfit, or an independent film company not under the umbrella of any studio. I think he had to spend most of his time during the two years he had the option just talking to people he knew, trying to get the money together,� Allen said.
Allen says that the resulting script included several major changes to his original story. In order to sell the script and fit the budget, several aspects of the story were edited. In Allen�s original, the protagonist is an English professor at a university in Indiana. In Iovenko�s version, the main character is based out of Florida. This was a money saving maneuver that allowed them to shoot in California and �fake� Florida.
Other additions included the insertion of an Elvis impersonator played by James Belushi, and a dark, violent climax rather than the slapstick third act he had written. Allen said that while the resulting story only loosely resembles his novel, he understands that changes were necessary and is simply thrilled to have contributed to the project and earn exposure for his work.
Allen�s advice for aspiring artists, whether they are writers, filmmakers, or painters, is to study as many examples of the art form they wish to emulate as possible.
�If you want to write screenplays, the best thing you can do is to read screenplays. If you love the movie Jaws, as I do, you should probably get a screenplay and have it next to you as you watch the movie and see just how the scenes are conceived on paper,� Allen said.
He added that anyone who has problems coming up with ideas is not alone.
�I run out of ideas all of the time. When that happens, I guess I just fake it. I try to let the writing take over. You can�t wait for inspiration. The muse visits during composition, not before,� Allen said.
Allen says the support USD gives its professors for research has helped foster his success as a writer.
�It�s not as if the work that I do every morning is a sideline or a hobby as it would be if this were a community college. I feel like here, I�m valued as a writer, and in this way the university has inspired me and supported me,� Allen said. He also credits his parents with much of his literary success because they read to him as a child and sparked his fascination with storytelling.
Another source for inspiration is the students he teaches in his creative writing classes at The University of South Dakota.
�The students here have given me lots of inspiration from the energy and originality that comes in their work. When they get something right, it�s a great feeling,� Allen said.