A Question to You

Say you had a friend who was a film maker. Say this friend read one of your books and wanted to work on getting it to the screen. You’ve shopped this book around a bit before, but it’s a really strange book, and it’s pretty hard to sum up in a query. So it’s been sitting on your shelf, gathering dust for a year or so. So your friend has two proposals:

1. Work on a screenplay of the book and see if a big name studio will bite.

2. Make an independent movie and see what happens.

Do you go for either, or do you keep querying? If you go for one, which do you go for? Never thought I’d find myself in this situation before, and I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts on the matter. My initial thoughts are GO GO GO! But maybe there are some of you out there who have other ideas.

Do share.

17 thoughts on “A Question to You”

  1. Assuming I do not have an agent:
    I would not under any circumstances give away all my rights for this material to this person. I would work out a contract, granting the specific rights needed to make a movie. I’d do lots of research about what exactly those rights are. (i.e. I’d call up Brandon and find out what rights he gave away in his film contracts.) I’d make sure that contract is going to ensure that I get paid. I would reserve all other rights for myself. I would also put a time limit on the rights I’m giving away (i.e. in five years, the rights revert to me.)
    And then I’d go ahead and do it, whichever way the film person recommended.

  2. Yup–I already brought up the contract idea. We’ll see where it goes from there. You can bet I’ll be on the phone with Brandon if it gets much more serious than a nibble. 🙂

  3. For sure. Other than that, I’d say go for it, unless you think you’re actually going to sell the book in the next couple years.
    Is this the original Parker? Or Ichabod?

  4. Ichabod, which makes things easier. Original Parker might get in the way of current Parker. Ichabod’s doing nothing right now, though. (Other than ABNA, which is an extreme long shot for that book.)

  5. Go with option 1 first. If a major studio bites, a publisher may then get interested enough to buy the book–even if the movie doesn’t end up being made.
    You can always try option 2 later, if option 1 doesn’t work out. The reverse is a lot harder.

  6. If things with ParkerBoy don’t pan out, I will. Getting to the point that I’d really like to get some of my work out there, whatever genre it’s in. Is your agent interested in offbeat literary fantasy mystery adaptations of early Nineteenth Century works?

  7. I have no idea. You could query her to find out. I think she takes sample chapters, too, but I’m not sure.
    If it were me, I would not wait for Joshua to decide before sending things out. No agent is worth putting your career on hold. But that’s me.

  8. The advice here looks good. Ichabod has some movie potential, but you want a contract. Here’s one way you could do it:
    1) Option the rights to the person for a period of time.
    2) Have the contract say that you can write the initial screenplay, if you wan to.
    3) Specify terms for the buy out price from a major studio.
    Or, you could just both co-write a screenplay with a more simple contract saying you split the money if it gets optioned or purchased.

  9. Meh. It’s a matter of a week or two, which isn’t much at this point. Writing a query for Ichabod that actually makes it sound appealing–and not like a complete nutjob book–has been difficult for me.

  10. Thanks for the input, Brandon. I’ll likely call you depending on where this goes. As I said before, the person who’s interested is a friend of mine, and he’s successfully made one film already, so it’s not just an oddball request. I still need to find out more information from him–what he has in mind, etc. It’s flattering to get the interest at the very least.

  11. Ichabod, really? I would have gone with an animated Weaver of Dreams.
    As for my 2cents, a writer’s blog I read mentioned that you have to be very careful with movie contracts from big studios. Apparently, they often want to own your characters and have some control if you ever decide to use them in future work. Ichabod doesn’t have anything I would picture as hugely expensive, so the independent thing could work.

  12. I’ll give it another stab soon, and when I do, maybe I’ll send it your way for some feedback. Can’t think of why I haven’t been workshopping my queries before this. I are dum.

  13. Yeah–I’ll be proceeding cautiously on this one, for sure. But it could be really fun, if it works out right. I don’t think this friend of mine ever read Weaver of Dreams . . .

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