Susan Kim Campbell ↓


Screenwriter to Novelist

I went to see David Koepp talk about his zombie fungus thriller “Cold Storage." Yes, zombie fungus. He is a screenwriter known for “Jurassic Park,” “Spider-Man,” “Mission Impossible,” and many other movies. He was interviewed by his friend and screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker, who wrote the screenplay for “Seven.” I found their conversation a useful and humorous peek into the lives of two screenwriters who are clearly good friends and who have been successful for a long time in Hollywood.

For some reason, David has written his first novel, which of course has already been optioned for the movies. And of course, he has adapted it and written the screenplay himself. It was interesting to hear him talk about the process of writing a novel and how that differs from writing a screenplay. He said that a screenplay is a blueprint for a movie, and the writing is all structure. It’s a process of concision, of saying more with less. He is hired for the originality of his ideas, and is then asked to ameliorate them.

In contrast he really enjoyed and embraced the freedom of writing a novel, in which he had complete control. He could describe in detail what his characters were thinking and feeling, and include backstory for the characters. I gather from what he said that he switches point of view between characters in the book, even writing from the point of view of the fungus! He said that working on the book with an editor was the first time a creative work was treated as essentially his, as opposed to a screenplay where it is treated as essentially theirs.

I don’t write thrillers or screenplays, but I do read screenplays and some speculative literary fiction. Sometime in the future I may give it a go. :)

David Koepp for Blog 9 11 19