Author Topic: What's it like having your book turned into a Hollywood movie?  (Read 1353 times)  

Offline erikhanberg

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I thought kboarders would be interested in this. I interviewed my podcasting co-host Brent Hartinger about what it was like to see his debut novel, Geography Club, turned into a Hollywood film--a film co-starring Scott Bakula, no less! (It's on Netflix now if you want to check it out.)

Short answer: if you're willing to give up all creative control and luck out with a good producer (Brent describes this as being willing to get married to someone after a 45 minute phone call) it might be a great experience! For Brent it was especially interesting, seeing a film adaptation of a book he wrote that was partly autobiographical. Layers upon layers there.

He is more eloquent than that in the interview, though, so if you want to check it out, here are the links:

iTunes link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/media-carnivores/id875726128

web link: http://mediacarnivores.com/what-is-it-like-to-have-your-book-turned-into-a-movie-media-carnivores-episode-004/

We can all dream of being so lucky...

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    Offline psolares

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    Re: What's it like having your book turned into a Hollywood movie?
    « Reply #1 on: June 05, 2014, 10:38:12 am »
    Mine is set up for a film adaptation as well. It can be positive because it's like part of you were on the screen.

    But we all have heard of stories regarding severe changes which does not have anything to do with the story itself. I agreed to sign up if I had control to decide. For the moment, I have supervised the script and everything is correct.


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    Offline erikhanberg

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    Re: What's it like having your book turned into a Hollywood movie?
    « Reply #2 on: June 05, 2014, 10:56:26 am »
    psolares,

    I'm impressed you were able to keep some creative control! Did you write contribute to the screenplay at all, or just review drafts? Very cool!

    Offline psolares

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    Re: What's it like having your book turned into a Hollywood movie?
    « Reply #3 on: June 05, 2014, 11:02:46 am »
    The Director/Scriptwriter wrote his part based on my novel. (I was quite impressed that he was able to understand the story, there are multiple viewpoints lol) and then I revised it. He added some dialogues because my novel is very descriptive, as it is a sort of memoir. But it was all approved by me.

    I think movies are like translations: there is a limit on which you can do so as to get the same story. That is why I had things clear from the beginning. As we agreed on everything, we are now working hand in hand. I have heard stories of authors who signed up the rights and then the film was abruptly different. For me this is essential.

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    Offline erikhanberg

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    Re: What's it like having your book turned into a Hollywood movie?
    « Reply #4 on: June 05, 2014, 12:33:02 pm »
    psolares,

    That sounds like a dream opportunity!

    I have some experience directing theater. I remember reading that M Night Shyamalan would only agree to sell the script for The 6th Sense if he was the director. He had a killer script, so it worked out. But that idea of having the control of a director is really intriguing to me.

    Offline psolares

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    Re: What's it like having your book turned into a Hollywood movie?
    « Reply #5 on: June 05, 2014, 01:17:17 pm »
    It's not about imposing, it's more like cooperative work. We engage really well.

    ;)
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    Offline BEAUTeBOOK

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    Re: What's it like having your book turned into a Hollywood movie?
    « Reply #6 on: June 05, 2014, 07:30:51 pm »
    Cathy Scott's Death in the Desert was turned into a movie by Josh Evans and starred by Michael Mandsen. I don't know how involved she was in the adaptation process although she did spent some time on the set and interacting with the cast. I think it would be very interesting hearing about her experience...
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    Offline BEAUTeBOOK

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    Re: What's it like having your book turned into a Hollywood movie?
    « Reply #7 on: June 05, 2014, 08:17:25 pm »
    "Hollywood movie" is as broad a category as novel. A movie can cost thousands of dollars to produces or hundreds of millions. I mean, Hollywood isn't even a city, it's an area of Los Angeles with no official boundaries. There are no major movie studios in "Hollywood."

    You always have god rights to your work. Always. The only person who can take that away is you. You can demand an executive producer credit. You can demand everyone address you in pig latin. You can put anything you want in a contract. But they don't have to sign it and you don't have to sign it.

    If they want the project enough, they will sign it. An example that comes to mind: an author negotiated a novel to be optioned and part of it was he would turn in the first draft of the screenplay which they would buy. He didn't care about the screenplay at all. But there are writer's guild minimums for scripts and if you sell one, you are instantly eligible for the the guild. So he turned in crap, they had to buy it contractually, they threw it away, and hired a real screenwriter. But he got a "free" $50K or whatever and got into the guild.

    Have you seen the movie "Saving Mr. Banks"? It is all about the interaction between Mary Poppinsauthor and Walt Disney. It depicts what you are saying about an author's control over his or her work. I liked also to learn about the backstage of that unforgettable Disney classic.
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    Offline Eskimo

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    Re: What's it like having your book turned into a Hollywood movie?
    « Reply #8 on: June 05, 2014, 09:41:38 pm »
    Collaboration can be a blessing or a curse. With the right partner you can make magic. With the wrong partner you will get crap.

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