For the next few weeks I am going to be writing a series of blog posts about writing and breaking into the film industry. Please feel free to comment with any questions or topics you would like covered.
Writing books and breaking into publishing can be a brutal business. It is no different when trying to get your book made into a movie. It takes time, perseverance and an iron will. During my process of shopping my book for film, I had many people tell me that it was impossible--It seemed all the novels that were made into movies had one thing in common--they were all best sellers such as: The Twilight series, Harry Potter series, Hunger Games Trilogy, Divergent, The Road and many more. But I didn't let this stop me from trying--and neither should you!
First three steps.
Step one: Ask yourself these questions: Is my book commercial enough for film? Is there a certain genre it might appeal to? How can I make it stand out in a crowded film market?
Step two: From a working copy, start highlighting key points in your novel. From those points you will start your screenplay. A screenplay serves as a blueprint or a map for the film. Films are visual, you must know what takes place, the cause of action rather than the telling a story.
Step three: If you intend to write the screenplay yourself you must adhere to industry standards. Purchase professional software if you are able. This will save you time and effort. Most screenplays are only 90 to 120 pages written in 12 point courier font. There are several elements to writing screenplays and fortunately there are many guidebooks online that can quickly teach you each of these.
Step four: Seek out people in the industry for guidance. Have someone critique your script. What are its strong and weak points?
Step five: Because producers have very limited time you will also need to formulate a treatment. This is a synopsis of your screenplay. Writing the treatment will also help you strengthen your script. This is a lot like pitching a novel with a synopsis.
Good luck with these first steps! Be sure to comment with questions!
River of Bones movie poster by James Teague. James Teague is one of my favorite film artists, his credits include posters for the movies, The Boondock Saints, Dead Noon and many other creations.