Translating my novel into a screenplay


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Thread: Translating my novel into a screenplay

  1. #1

    Translating my novel into a screenplay

    Now that my sci-fi/fantasy novel is published and out in the market place, I was hoping to translate it into a screenplay for a feature film (link on my signature below). Incidentally, having it made into a movie was my original intention, as outlined in the concept web page here:-

    http://www.astroscience.org/abdul-ah...hacentauri.htm

    So anyone here know what my options are now? I prefer not to get too involved in learning the additional craft of writing screenplays, as I want to concentrate more on novel writing, which is what I naturally enjoy most.

    Any ideas as to how to get volunteers for script writing?

    Thanks,

    AA
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    "The ultimate dream adventure awaiting humanity..."
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  2. #2
    If you do go into writing it yourself (and you prolably won't) I'd recomed the program Final Draft to straiten out all that pesky formating and such.

  3. #3
    Member mammamaia's Avatar
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    if you're not able to write it yourself, and if it's violence-free, i might consider doing it for you... if it contains violence, i can't, but you'll find plenty of budding screenwriters hanging out at the following sites:

    www.twoadverbs.com
    www.imdb.com
    donedeal at www.scriptsales.com

    thing is, no one else i've ever come across does everything for free, and anyone else who's good enough at the craft to write something good enough to have a chance to be sold, will charge the going rate [$50-100k!...

    lots of newbies will offer to do it on spec and split the credits/money [if any] later... but they're not likely to know much more than you do about writing a marketable screenplay...

    if you do find someone you want to work with, make sure you get a collaboration contract in place before either of you writes a word, or you can well find yourself in the 12 level of legal hell later on... you can find a contract form at www.wga.com ...

    drop me a line, if you want a format guide and help with anything...

    love and hugs, maia
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  4. #4
    Member mammamaia's Avatar
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    "Screenplays are simple -- just very brief setting descriptions and dialogue. In fact, I think it's easier than writing a novel."
    ... it might be easier for a seasoned screenwriter who's never written a novel, but i beg to differ with that pronouncement, on a general level...

    ...it's not 'just' anything, as there are all sorts of dos and don'ts to follow, in crafting a good, competitively marketable, professional-level script... sure, it's easy to 'fake' one... but not to write a good one...

    ...screenwriting is the most specialized of all the written arts and takes a lot of talent and skill to do well enough to turn out scripts that will sell...

    ...believe me, i know, since the single largest group of those i mentor, is the screenwriting wannabe one... and most of what i have to plow through is just plain painfully awful!... both in quality/style of the writing and format...
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  5. #5
    There's no real, explicit violence as such in the novel... mostly implied interactions between dream creatures (aliens) and sleeping people. The movie would need a lot of atmosphere and special effects to re-create the subtle tensions, and the dark and sinister "cloud" of fear that hangs over the starship interior...

    I have to agree with Maia, this needs to be written with a lot of thought and know-how as it will be for a big budget movie. To create the (6 mile x 9 mile) cylindrical interior world with pine forests, distant settlements, lakes and Eridanus river that flows across the 'sky' and the 'curved' landscape with sub-tropical thunderstorms, little pet robots that fly around, a bridge over the river made up of pure *diamond*... the surface mining of comets... etc. is all going to cost a high sum. So the screenplay will need to be a detailed project that will be demanding to write...

    (Of course, there is always room to cut stuff out and simplify things for the sake of budgeting.)

    On the question of percentages: how much is a typical split between the screenwriter and the novel writer?
    With this project, ideally, I would like to share some of my own ideas that will go into the screenplay. But in all honesty, I'm not skilled enough to write much of the script itself - that I will have to leave to the script writer.


    AA
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    http://www.publishedauthors.net/aa_spaceagent/
    "The ultimate dream adventure awaiting humanity..."
    ------------------------------********-----------------------*-*-*-*-*-*---------

  6. #6
    Member mammamaia's Avatar
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    aa...
    since your novel has been published, it may not be up to you to cut a deal for a film adaptation... most publishing contracts include the film rights, so the publisher is the one who'd negotiate a sale to studio/prodco, even if you do the adaptation yourself... the publisher would also be entitled to a piece of the pie, as would your agent, if you had one...

    so, your first step has to be checking your agent/publisher contracts... if you self-published or went with a pod, you'll still have to see what the film rights clause covers...

    if you have free rein in adapting novel or selling the film rights, you have more than one option...

    if you pay a screenwriter to write the script, it's work for hire, and there's no split... the writer's fee will be all s/he gets... but we're talking mega-bucks here... wga's basic minimums are $47-87k for a 'non-original' screenplay [=adaptation of other material]

    if you cut a deal with a non-wga writer, you'll either pay whatever lower fee makes you both happy, or agree to a back-end split, meaning the writer gets a percentage when/if it sells... that can be 50-50 or just about anything you both agree to...

    however... writers good enough to be able to write a marketable script are not going to go for a back-end deal... they write to make a living, and since there's little chance of the thing ever selling, no one's gonna put off months of paid work for such a gamble...

    no matter what you do, you'll have to accept that your book most likely won't end up on the screen the way you imagine... you have no control over how it's cast/shot, once you sell the script... it can be turned into something you can't even recognize and there won't be a thing you can do about it...

    fyi, there's at least one movie out there already, with just such a space-set world as you describe... can't recall the title or cast, but i've seen it on cable...

    for more detailed info, email and i'll fill you in on anything more you need to know...

    hugs, maia
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  7. #7
    << most publishing contracts include the film rights, so the publisher is the one who'd negotiate a sale to studio/prodco, even if you do the adaptation yourself... the publisher would also be entitled to a piece of the pie, as would your agent, if you had one... >>

    According to the contract terms and all the correspondence I have raised with the publisher prior to signing, I retain all film and performance rights. The publisher owns only the literary rights to print and distribute my novel for a duration of 7 years.

    So I am going to look for someone who is enthusiastic about the concept and willing to have a go at doing the screenplay...

    AA
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    http://www.publishedauthors.net/aa_spaceagent/
    "The ultimate dream adventure awaiting humanity..."
    ------------------------------********-----------------------*-*-*-*-*-*---------

  8. #8
    Member mammamaia's Avatar
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    aa... i just checked the copy of pa's contract i keep in my files, and found that they have exclusive rights to negotiate for film adaptation, etc., only if instructed to do so by you in writing... so, assuming you gave them no such written approval, it does seem you're not bound to have to include them in any adaptation deals you may want to enter into...

    but, as i noted in some detail above, finding someone who's good enough at the craft to write a marketable screenplay isn't all that hard, but you won't find any who will do it for free... i seem to be the only nut around who does such stuff, but that's only because i vowed to never work for money any more, having done enough of that in my 'old life'...

    so, those you'll find who will do it for half ownership in the finished product will be amateurs, because no pro works for nothing... and no one who knows the film industry would work for months, taking time from paying work, on the slim-to-none chance that a spec will ever sell, paying them 'eventually' who-knows-what, for all that work...

    if you go ahead anyway, and hook up with someone who says they think they can write this for you and who won't want any upfront money to do so, for heaven's sake, get a collaboration contract in place BEFORE you agree to anything, or let them write a single word... if you don't, you run the very real risk of serious legal problems down the road... and, before you sign any agreement, have your own attorney take a look at it... and make sure that attorney specializes in the film industry or at least literary law... otherwise, you're cutting your own throat...

    email me if you want any help with this, basic info, or advice on how to proceed... best of luck to you with your project...

    love and hugs, maia
    [email protected]
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    "You must BE the change you wish to see in the world." Gandhi

  9. #9
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    I've sold the film rights separately, and in concert with the book rights, but nothing has ever been automatically included in any contract presented to me by an agent or publisher....get an intellectual property lawyer, I did...I'm surprised you've already signed a publishing comtract without legal consultation. Good luck...Glenn

  10. #10
    With Publish America, one has to sign a separate agreement that is separate to the literary contract, which hands over the movie rights to the book. I have not done that with my contract, so I am sitting pretty waiting for some time on my hands to be able to write a screenplay

    Before signing my contract with them, I checked the conditions via e-mails which I hold for the record. The movie rights are mine, not just for this first book on this long and epic adventure voyage... but also for the numerous subsequent books I am hoping to write in this series.

    There's been a few good reviews from the few people that have so far read my book, and they all see this as a good bet for future cinema:


    http://www.cybersylhet.com/modules.p...ile=abdul_ahad

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/141...books&v=glance

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/...498475-2098210

    http://www.publishamerica.com/shoppi...t.asp?id=10530

    http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASI...953814-8824569

    AA
    Last edited by AA Institute; March 24th, 2006 at 10:29 PM.

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