Everyone has heard of horror stories of Hollywood butchering a script and turning something wonderful into a pile of garbage. However, it often works the other way around too.
Too often, Hollywood takes a good script and tuns it into a crappy movie. However, sometimes the reverse happens where Hollywood can take a good story and make it into a great one. For this to happen, you as the screenwriter, must realize that any script is just the skeleton of the completed movie. You’re always going to have one vision for your story while someone else may have something else.
Stephen King hated Stanley Kubrick’s version of his novel, “The Shining,” which is now considered a horror classic. Stephen King later made his own version of “The Shining,” which more faithfully followed the novel – and it sucked.
The original author of the Mary Poppins books left the theater in tears after she thought Disney butchered her stories, yet “Mary Poppins” has turned into a film classic. Anthony Burgess didn’t like Stanley Kubrick’s version of “A Clockwork Orange,” yet that movie is also considered a film classic.
The point is that as a screenwriter, you have to lay the foundation but allow others to finish the rest. Just as nobody sees a beautiful house and thinks, “What a great foundation,” so nobody will see a great movie and think, “What a wonderful screenplay.”
As the screenwriter, you get a project started and then you step out of the way as others take it over for better or worse.
That’s just the nature of filmmaking. If you want to keep your vision pure, then you’ll just have to learn to direct your own movies like Stanley Kubrick did with all of his movies. Otherwise, just accept the fact that Hollywood will change your script and just pray that they’ll turn it into something better.
Hollywood can turn a great script into a bad movie but it can never turn a bad script into a great movie. Every movie begins with a script so the only way you can insure that your story turns out for the best is to make sure you write a great screenplay. After that, it’s out of your hands.
You’ll just have to learn to let go and get started on your next screenplay. If you don’t like the idea of other peopel fiddling with your work, then either become a novelist or direct your own films. Otherwise, trust the people around you. They may violate your trust, but you really have no other choice other than focusing on creating the best story possible. If you can do that consistently, then you won’t have to worry too much about other people wrecking your story.