Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Books Make Great Films!

I just returned from a conference in which I behaved like the Prima Donna I want to become.

Don't get me wrong. I wasn't mean to people, I didn't trash my hotel room rock star style, I didn't have people toting and fetching for me (well maybe I asked someone to run upstairs to get my business cards) Oh, I did ask someone else to run to the ballroom to cancel my next meeting while I talked about the logistics of making my book into a movie but both my fetchers were friends, going that way anyhow. Phew! I behaved like a Prima Donna in believing my own PR. I am big stuff. I write books. We tend to downplay that but I'm going to up-play that now! I want to be an approachable celebrity, one to make people say "She's so nice, considering her success!" Now I just need to get successful.

Last weekend, I attended JD deWitt's Connecting Writers with Hollywood Conference in Spokane, Washington, a lovely, small city close to the Idaho border that is teaming with creative people. I heard Chuck Palaniuk speak (author of Fight Club), Jess Walter (Beautiful Ruins), Shawn West (The Wayne Agency), Brian Bird (BIG producer and writer in Hollywood!), talked adaptation with producers, film makers and directors and generally felt like an author who might possibly get a movie deal someday.
I signed up for the Con last summer to attend in September 2016, it was moved to May 2017 and by the time I attended the thing I had a book to film agent and interest from a production company who loved my novel The Dream Jumper's Promise.
When May rolled around, I didn't need to pitch to agents, but schmoozing was on the agenda, something I love because I'm a super-social person. I went to the conference to socially network, increase my visibility, teach a class on self-confidence in public, meet potentially interested and interesting people and represent my business, which is me.
I tacked on a book signing and talk at the famous Indie bookstore--Auntie's on the Saturday afternoon to make the trip more worthwhile and then forgot my box of books on the doorstep back in Seattle! So, I talked and peddled my friends' books.
I'd heard that adapting a novel to a movie is entirely possible but had always assumed you needed a screenplay to pitch. Turns out you can pitch the book without having someone write the screenplay.
Last year, I went to see the movie Nerve, a YA thriller written by a Seattle author, Jeanne Ryan, who got a call one day from Lions Gate Films to say they wanted to buy the option on her book. I'm sure there was more to Jeannie's story than just answering the phone, but the point is that her book was made into a movie. Someone hired by Lions Gate wrote the screenplay. See where I'm going here?
Book Adaptations are golden nuggets of material for studios, producers, and all the folks who need good stories for the big screen. I've heard this enough now that I believe it to be true. Great books make great films for the most part and are sought after, sometimes more than a screenplay in Hollywood. If you are a successful Indie author with a successful novel and a built in reader base, your book might be attractive to an film maker. The story is there, the characters are already fleshed out, the locations are chosen, the platform is there.
That was a clear message from everyone who spoke at the conference this weekend and one I attended last year. Books that have done well make great options for film and TV. Especially if you have something unique. Don't look for a trend because by the time you write, film, and produce that project, the trend is over. Instead, set your own trend.
If you are an author with a great book, consider learning to write a treatment, which is a 4-20 page synopsis of the book, complete with more information about the logistics of your book's success.
The treatment often has dialogue from the book. Choose only relevant, clever passages.
Once you have that, consider getting an agent who specifically handles book to film. They are out there. Google it. Most studios will not take a look without representation, I've learned.
Once you get that agent, get ready to field offers while you sit in your office with fingers crossed. Let the agent do their magic while you dream about who to play the leads! Like Stephen Amell would be perfect for the role of Jamey in The Dream Jumper's Promise. He looks the part, is the right age, has the acting chops, is a swimmer, likes Hawaii, might be available next Spring when we shoot (I'm getting way ahead of myself here but that's OK) and we have the same birthday and are both from the Toronto area. It's kismet. If you know me or read my books, you know that I believe in all that mumbo jumbo like numerology, kismet, co-incidence, intuition. Oh, and Stephen worked with Brian Bird who I met this weekend and has a connection to my agent. AND Stephen has a winery in Walla Walla which has absolutely no connection to anything except it's in Washington State, where Jamey, my character, is from.
Tomorrow's blog, I'll drop my first choice pick for the role of Tina!

In the next week, I'll be blogging about all the informational nuggets I learned at Connecting Writers with Hollywood, so become a follower of the blog if you don't want to miss that information.

Or like my FB page over here www.facebook.com/kimhornsbyauthor  where I will probably post as a new blog goes live.
Or twitter www.twitter.com/kimhornsby

And if you have a book that would make a great movie, whether it's Blockbuster of epic proportions or a quaint Indie story that takes place in the same two rooms with only two characters, you could see your name on a book to film contract someday. Find an agent, pitch that story and keep your fingers and toes crossed!

Kim Hornsby is the author of Award-Winning The Dream Jumper's Promise available on Amazon Books. She is a Bestselling Supernatural Suspense Author who lives in the Seattle area where she writes during the rainy months, escaping to Maui when possible to scuba dive and get fodder for her next books.

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