Book-to-screen adaptations—from Harry Potter to TV’s Game of Thrones—are more popular now than ever. More and more authors TV and film productions are looking for adaptations of literary work.
While publishing is a fairly straightforward process from production to publishing to publicity campaigns, the shift from one medium to another becomes a little more complicated. Which is why you’re going to need a book-to-screen agent if you have visions of taking your story to the big screen.
The first stage in turning your book into a piece of film or TV is the pitch. To make any sort of pitch in Hollywood, you have to have connections. Book-to-screen agents send your manuscript into the hands of producers who are interested in adaptations, and then an option is sold.
An option is more or less what it sounds like: it’s the option to turn your book into a film. It includes terms of what will happen should the material be adapted into a film, so it’s quite helpful to understand what goes on in the negotiation. Everything is discussed—from how much the author takes from the movie’s earnings to if they get free popcorn at the premiere.
Options are typically good for a year or two and can be renewed; otherwise, books can be sent out to other production companies and directors again.
Once the option has been sold, it’s time to adapt your material to the big screen in. This is where the screenwriter comes in. In fact, several screenwriters will work on the adaptation, more often than not. Studios often cycle through screenwriters in a process of trial and error.
It’s important to note that authors rarely have any say in the development stage of movies, unless they’re a bestselling author with a lot of influence.
If at some point in development the movie gets the green light, it goes into production. Several things go into production, including finding the right talent for the production, getting financial backing, etc., before the first scene is even shot.
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