Tuesday, December 9, 2014

How to Get a Movie Deal for Your Book


 Book-to-Movie .

Don't expect getting a movie deals is easier, than to find a publisher for your print book!  Here are some beginner insights into how movie deals work.  Check out the links for more.  Movie rights are part of sub rights or subsidiary rights - even so these rights are hard to sell.
And even if you get a foot in the door: Almost all production companies and film producers offer first an option for a film. 

What Exactly is an Option?
Fred Rosen explains: "It is a rental.  A production company or studio reserves the right to make your work into a film, MOW or TV show for a specific length of time.  In the past, the standard option was for a year, with two renewable one-year options.  Taking advantage of the recent recession, producers have now been able to negotiate the first option to 18 months.

Each time a company picks up the option, you get paid just for sitting on your movie rights. In the meantime, they will try to secure the money to make the adaptation and get someone to write the script (though it probably won’t be you—Hollywood prefers to use its own writers to adapt work)."

He Furter Explains: What Can Get Optioned?

"Just about anything.  Published novels and nonfiction books.  Magazine articles.  Short stories. Unpublished work can break through, too, when someone who has a connection with a production company discovers something and passes it on.  Frank Capra for example based It’s a Wonderful Life on an unpublished short story by Philip Van Doren Stern.  But you should generally focus on getting published first—because the print imprimatur still demands the highest price when optioned."

How Much is a Film Option Worth?
"Options start at $500 and go up. In today’s market, $5,000 and more is excellent.  It’s impossible to offer an average because it depends on so many factors, the most important being how much the production company wants the work."

Do I Need a Film Agent to Make the Option Sale?
Rosen says: "Generally, yes.  If you have a literary agent, look at your contract and see if the agent gets points for a film sale; if so, encourage him/her to send your work to a film agent she’s familiar with (the two will split the commission).
If you don’t have an agent, it’s fine to query film agents directly.  They’re always looking for salable stuff to pitch to Hollywood.  Be straightforward in your pitch: Briefly summarize the work to be optioned, where it’s published and your bio."

Read all of Fred Rosen's Tips Here and get an idea how much you might earn. 

Tips by John Kremer "Most movie deals involve as many as a dozen decision makers.  One of the best ways to get a movie deal for a novel (I presume your book is a novel) is to target the A-list actor or actress who would be the best person to play the role of your main character.  Many A-list actors have their own production companies or in-place deals for a certain number of movies – and can sometimes (not always) pick which movies they’d like to be in.  For most movie deals to get completed, though, there has to be key actors, a director, a screenwriter, and a producer committed to the movie.
That’s why 90% of potential movie deals never get completed – because the package can’t be put together to sell the investors on funding the movie. Of those four key pieces, the easiest to target is the actor or actress, because most non-industry people know what movies have been made by actors and actresses.  Plus it’s generally easy for a novelist to picture who should pay the key role or roles in a movie made from their novel.
How do you get in touch with the actors you have identified as potential role players?  You can try through their management company (agent or manager), via their personal website (if they have one), or sometimes even via a tweet to their @profile on Twitter.  But probably the best way is to use your connections to see if someone you know knows the actor you want to reach or the best friend of that actor or a close relative, etc.  Once you have located a connection, ask them to get you a personal introduction to the actor.  Not just a kind word, or a token email, but – if possible – an in-person introduction."

Tips by Courtney Carpenter
"If you don’t have an agent, and have no contacts in the business, you can still market your script on your own.  Before you try, however, take one preparatory step: Register your script with the Writer’s Guild of America.  Registration provides a dated record of the writer’s claim to authorship and can be used as evidence in legal disputes about authorship."

Mark Terry Cautions:
"Movie contracts are a byzantine mess and unless you have an agent who specializes in movie contracts, your agent might suggest hooking up with a film agent or entertainment attorney, who will either get a flat fee or perhaps another percentage ...." "What you do have to do is to watch out for production companies that want to have an option dirt cheap or hold on to the property for an unreasonable length of time."

However, he has also an interesting story to tell about the movie rights / options for Catch Me If You Can.  That book was optioned about 20 times before Spielberg made the movie with Tom Hanks.  The author commented it was great, he kept getting about $20,000 per year for a book that wasn't really selling any more."


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