Seeing your book on the silver screen: it’s a universal dream, one that nearly every novelist I’ve worked with has confided that they harbor. Barely a day goes by when an author does not ask me whether I have any Hollywood connections who could help them get a foot in the door.
Sure, I have some loose contacts in “The Industry.” A screenplay writer here, a director there, a financial VP. But that doesn’t mean I can slip someone a manuscript and open doors. Far from it. In fact, how and why certain books get made into movies is a complete mystery to me — as it is to so many others.
Which is why, when I recently met the co-founder and president of production and acquisitions at an L.A. production company associated with Showtime Networks, CBS Films and Netflix over a conversation about a book he was considering making into a movie, I asked if he’d talk me through the process of how, exactly, novels are discovered by the film industry.
Q: In general, where do the ideas for the movies you decide to produce come from?
BT: In most cases scripts come to us though attorneys or agents. Since there are so many lawsuits, you have to be super careful in Hollywood to only take material from an attorney, a manager or an agent with all the legal bases in place.
Sometimes people come in without a script but with a concept. These are usually people we know and have worked with. We know their track record and their capabilities, so we’ll talk to them.
And we do get people coming to us with books. As long as the book is published – whether traditionally or self-published – we can look at it because its publication is a time stamp showing it’s been released out into the public. Legally, this works for us.
Q: About how many of the ideas you get come from books? [Read more…]