So you’ve written a book and you think it would make a great movie – now what’s the next step?
You might be tempted to approach a production company with your beloved work in your hand and expect them to consider it for production – but don’t! Unsolicited or self-published material is virtually never considered by a production house. Before you can think of getting your book made into a movie you’ll need to get it published by a commercial publisher. Once published, if your agent thinks it might have potential to be made into a movie, she (most literary agents are female) will use her personal contacts to get the book presented to a movie producer for consideration. If your book is accepted for consideration by a production company, it will be handed to one of their staff to read. Stream movies for free at https://123moviesgo.ga/.
A “Reader” reads the book.
Let’s assume that the reader is also female – we’ll call her Jessica, (which is actually the real name of the reader that I interviewed for this article, but she requested that I not use her full name because most of the projects she works on are confidential – at least in the early stages). Jessica will usually read the entire book in a day. She will then write an extensive (five to ten-pages) report on it, which will include her recommendation on whether or not it should be considered for production. Ultimately ninety percent of the books that Jessica reads are rejected, and of the ten percent that she recommends for production about seven percent might be further pursued.
What influences the decision.
What attributes does your book have to have to prompt Jessica to recommend it to a producer? Sadly, perhaps, logistical and financial reasons often influence the final decision more than artistic ones. Before the movie is even begun, its eventual marketing potential will be carefully considered. For instance, what “quadrant” of the movie-going public will this story appeal to – young, old, men, women? Will it play to primarily a US audience, or will it also appeal to an international market?
Of course an interesting plot is important, and “relatable” characters are a key ingredient. But the most important element that Jessica says she looks for is, do the characters “go somewhere” meaning, does something happen during the course of the plot that changes them or their lives in some material way. Jessica cited the case of the book Patty Hearst: Her Own Story, which was made into a movie that achieved only minimal success. It did indeed have an interesting plot, but the main character didn’t undergo that essential change that would have made it a success with movie audiences.
What’s the genre?
Another consideration is, what genre does the story fall into? If it’s a “horror” piece it may be more readily considered than other genres; a horror movie might cost about $10 million to make (cheap in movie terms), but will often make more than twice that on opening weekend at the box office. Another genre that’s coming back into fashion is the Western, and of course, science fiction is always popular. But if you’ve written a sci-fi thriller, getting it made into a movie will be an especially hard sell. Why? Because, with all the special effects, sci-fi movies are the most expensive to make, and so represent the biggest financial risk for the investors.
But don’t give up! Although most movies are made with an eye to their eventual return on investment, sometimes a producer will make what is called a “passion piece” – a project that the producer doesn’t necessarily see as a profitable financial investment, but one that he feels so keenly enthusiastic about that he goes ahead and makes it anyway. Who knows, perhaps your book will fall into that category. So go ahead – it could happen!