Building 523 - an adaptation

A good Kurt Vonnegut story is not always a cinematic one, and is even less often conducive to a clean story structure. Past attempts at adaptations like Breakfast of Champions and Slapstick! are infamous box office and critical disasters. The problem was that neither were honest with the source material. They saw nonlinear narrative and were too afraid to trust it, or lacked the creativity needed to rearrange the story without losing what held it together.

On the other hand, the adaptations of Slaughterhouse-Five and Mother Night were able to retain both Vonnegut's unorthodox storytelling techniques and his content, resulting in two beautiful films.

The point: It is not impossible. There are no "unadaptable" stories, just less cinematic ones. Vonnegut was a master of making the small feel big, and that is precisely what film has the ability to do.

I wanted to try my hand at adapting one of Vonnegut's short stories. Some believe that he wrote his characters from a distance, without much feeling. I chose a story that directly contradicts that. "FUBAR," from his posthumous collection Look at the Birdie, is a very visual story written in third person, and yet, the reader gets a strong sense of the character's inner narrative.

Click the link below to take a look.

Building523.pdf