Wednesday, June 17, 2009

It's a book and a movie!

Someone wrote me this morning saying (of the novel this person was writing): "I think my story has great potential to be a film; my goal is to find an agent that will promote this project as both a film and a book." My response:

The reality is that agents can sell finished manuscripts to book publishers, but that Hollywood is rarely interested in an unpublished book. So, if your story exists solely as a book manuscript, rather than a screenplay, the first step is probably to get it published (while making sure to retain control of your film/TV rights).

Hollywood has a hard enough time sorting through the vast number of published books looking for things to adapt without also agreeing to sift through unpublished books, too; in other words, the fact that the book has sold to a publisher is Hollywood's first indication -- other than the earnest but hardly objective assertion of the author or his/her representative -- that it is a good story. :)

My own agent simply is not looking to take on new clients; his plate is quite full as it is. But you'll find my advice on landing an agent here.

And there's some background on film contracts and options here.
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At June 17, 2009 1:42 PM , OpenID rvitelli said...

Since he seems more interested in his idea being a movie than a book, why not just write it as a screenplay in the first place?

At June 17, 2009 2:37 PM , Blogger Ron Friedman said...

I think the best strategy for an unpublished new writer, such as I, is to focus his / her energy on making their novel better. Don't worry, at this point, about selling it to Hollywood. Use your time to make your novel at the top 5% of the slush pile.

Occasionally, though, I do joke with my wife about the color of the dress she should be wearing for the Oscar.


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