Hi, my name is Angela Carling and I am the author of a tender YA romance called Unbreakable Love and an intense little book about love and power named Shackled. More about these books on my website, angelacarling.com. –Amazon or B&N http://www.amazon.com/Angela-Carling/e/B006P15NOG/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
A few weeks ago, I was approached by a set of Brothers who write screenplays. They’d come across Shackled and wanted to adapt the book into a screenplay and then have it made into a made for TV movie. As you can imagine, I was amazed and excited. Then I found myself asking why me, why my work? This question sent me on an information quest about books and movies. Here’s what I learned.
First, I asked the screenwriter why he was interested in my book. He answered simply; it is already written in a cinematic way and has a subject matter that people can really connect with. He then went on to explain that some books, no matter how riveting the storyline, do not make good movies. This piqued my curiosity and sent my little whirly mind sorting through books and movies I have read or seen. Did you know the infamous Godfather movies were based off a far less compelling book and the chosen actors gave new dimension to the Devil wears Prada, which I didn’t know was also originally a book. This year alone, fifteen blockbuster books are destined to hit the big screen including Mockingjay, one of my all time favorite stories in the Hunger Games trilogy.
So how does it happen? How does a book get made into a screenplay, then eventually into a movie for either the big screen or TV? Well, I can tell you about the first part (a screenplay) but not about the second, at least not yet. :)
1. An author writer must be approached or accepted by a screenplay writer or company capable of adapting their story into a movie.
2. The author is then presented with an option, a contract which basically gives permission for the screenwriter to adapt the book into a screenplay and pitch the storyline/script to studios, actors, distributors and I’m sure I’ve forgotten someone else. The option usually has a specific timeline, for example one year. This gives the screenplay writer one year to create and market his adaptation before he or she has to renew or walk away. The author is always paid a fee for the option and that fee can be anything both parties agree on. For example, the option I signed was for two years, with the possibility to renew for six months.
3. If the screenplay is bought and actually makes it to the point that filming begins there is another, much more complicated contract that must be haggled over and signed by all the parties involved. That is where a specialty lawyer trained in entertainment contracts comes into play. Can we say Chaching $$$, for the lawyer not for me! Each contract can be customized. Some author’s have a lot of influence over the screenplay and what happens on film, but most don’t. It is all up to the bigwigs involved and the signed contract. For me, if all goes well, next year at this time we should be up in Washington State filming Shackled. Up until that point, anything can happen and in my experience, life is never dull or goes according to plans!!
What will the next two years hold for me? Who knows, but I have a feeling I’m going to continue to learn about the prizes and perils of turning a book into a movie. Now the question I have for you is what is your favorite book to movie adaptation? Leave me a comment, I’d love to know!