Celluloid Dreams

Hi Miss Snark:

Talk to me about film rights. My agent recently sold my manuscript (hurrah!), and everyone who has read it (and those who bought it) thinks that it's viable for the screen. So what happens now? I know that my agent mentioned that people will contact us after seeing the PM announcement (one already has), but what else happens? My agent has a co-agent who handles film, so does she take it out to all of the studios and production companies? Do we wait until the book comes out? Do we solely send it to those who have expressed interest from the PM posting?

I'm just trying to wrap my brain around the process and figured that you'd have valuable insight! (Oh, and maybe we can convince Clooney to co-star! Drinks for everyone at the premiere!)

You turn your face away from the siren call of Hollywood and do not ever think about this again. EVER. Film rights will break your heart. Trust me.

Leave it to your agent and your film agent. You're completely out of the picture here. There's no we in this at all. There's nothing they are going to ask you for other than a signature on the deal.

Lots and lots of books are "oh this would make a great movie". Some get optioned. MANY MANY fewer get produced. Thinking about this or worrying about it is like worrying that gravity will fail. Yes it could, and does in certain very far off places in the universe, but it doesn't mean you don't have to shave your legs today, ok?

Don't think about any of this. Go write your next book.


Mac said...

I don't have to shave my legs anymore, if gravity fails?

I never get these memos, dammit.

domynoe said...

I'm one of those weirdos who's not sure she WANTS to see her work optioned, particularly after what happened to Queen of the Damned and Earthsea. Compressing to make a story fit time constraints is one thing, butchering it entirely is another animal all together.

KLCtheBookWorm said...

I heard John Grisham speak about writing, probably about ten years ago. He related the advice he got from Stephen King on film rights and movies.

You shouldn't try to give input because they won't listen to you. So that gives you two choices. You can either say no to all the offers because they're going to screw the story up. Or you can take the money and run because they're going to screw the story up, but at least you can shrug and say you had nothing to do with it.

Toni McGee Causey said...

I was a screenwriter for seven years before switching and then selling my novel and series this past April. There's a very good reason that screenwriters refer to the lure of Hollywood as having been drawn to the Dark Side. Miss Snark is right: don't think about it. If they offer you money, it's a nice surprise, like getting an actual refund from the IRS. You don't actually want to cozy up to the IRS, but if they hand over some dough, take it and run.

Anonymous said...

I always figured my one condition would be 'change the title', then I'd take the money and run...nobody's ever going to make the connection, right? But I'm a dreamer!

Anonymous said...

Anon, that's unless your book contract stipulates that you get a bonus if your book gets made into a movie -- then you'd want to KEEP the title, no matter how much they change the story, because the publisher will pay you.

Miss Snark said...

The title has nothing to do with your contract. If they buy the film rights to your book you get paid if they make it even if they call it Killer Yapp Does The Macarena.

Anonymous said...

hey! I do not do the macarena. Tango si, macarena non.