We have Kim Hornsby on the BEACH today to give us some helpful hints about pitching your novel for a movie deal...
I recently attended a conference called Connecting Writers with Hollywood in Spokane Washington, (a surprisingly ripe bed of film people live or originate there!) and was encouraged that Hollywood wants successful novels for adaptations.
Shawn West, an agent formerly with William Morris, now with the Wayne Agency, represents authors for film deals and spoke eloquently about what the film industry looks for specifically in a novel.
Shawn was talking about a film deal with a large studio out of Hollywood, not a small film company that would make an Indie Film and then sell it to a large studio at an Indie festival.
Here's what they are looking for in a novel or spec script (a tool to sell the premise but not the final script) for a film deal:
1. A Relatable Hero
2. Strong Visual
3. 3 Act Structure
4. 2 Hour Limit
5. Writers that Take Responsibility
He also spoke about franchise appeal. If the book to film is a huge hit, do you have a sequel?
Does it have mass appeal? Young Men, Young Women, Older Men, Older Women
Does it have merchandising potential? Lunchboxes, T-shirts, toys etc.
If it has many hard to reach locations, it will be a large budget film, making it less appealing.
If you get to the point of pitching to a large Hollywood studio, here are some pointers from Shawn:
Don't suggest Tom Cruise play the lead at Sony (he's with Warner Bros)
Pitch to the correct company. Don't pitch a crime drama to Lifetime or a tv drama to Universal
Have a 10 second log line ready.
Know the 3 Acts and where they come in the story. 1 hour dramas have 5 Acts
Be sure to mention if the film is visually appealing. Set the stage.
And a few things I've learned from various people about Pitching:
Sit on the edge of your chair, don't get comfortable.
Imagine telling a campfire story.
Don't pitch only to the men in the room.
Include the conflict. Make it sound life or death.
If you are reading this, I'm hoping you have a pitch coming up or intend to pitch your book. Good luck and remember that what one person doesn't want, another person might see the possibilities.
Kim Hornsby is a bestselling author and public speaker at writing conferences. Her Award-Winning Novel, The Dream Jumper's Promise is a movie waiting to happen, currently under review by a Film Company for option.