Monday, August 10, 2009

MICHAEL REISMAN: "What Hollywood Wants With Your Book"

MICHAEL REISMAN: "What Hollywood Wants With Your Book"

(Pictured above: Michael preps for his lecture by providing not one, not two, but THREE handouts!)

Michael Reisman, author of the bestselling SIMON BLOOM middle grade novel series, discussed the behind-the-scenes tips on why and how Hollywood options books, based on his own experience for more than ten years as a story analyst for movie studios and television networks, including Nickelodeon. His own SIMON BLOOM book was recently optioned as a movie.

He provided three handouts that were extremely helpful. They were:

-- A sample of "script coverage" on Lisa Yee's novel, MILLICENT MIN, GIRL GENIUS. This showed Michael's synopsis and analysis of her novel and whether or not he considered potential movie/TV material. He wrote "CONSIDER," which means "Worth a serious look; needs varying degrees of changes."

-- A handout explaining what points story analysts consider while reading and covering book properties. (Examples include "Characterization: Asks how realistic and multi-dimensional the characters are. Will audiences identify with them? Will they care about them?")

-- A handout explaining coverage "jargon." ("CONSIDER" was just defined above, but another example includes: "CONSIDER CONCEPT: Too many problems to adapt directly, but may be worth purchase for core ideas or key elements" and "RECOMMEND: Buy; needs no or almost no changing.")

Some highlights from Michael's extremely informative talk:

-- "Don't write what will make a movie deal. Write what makes a good book." He emphasized how different these genres are and you should simply concentrate on writing the best book possible, period.

-- Retain your movie and TV rights. "I'm a happier man because of my movie deal" given that he retained his own rights.

-- Get a movie agent or manager to help navigate through the Hollywood world.

Overall, Michael delivered a very thorough lecture on how Hollywood approaches book properties and why they option or do not option books. But the information he provided in the handouts and in his advice/examples during the lecture were both applicable not only to published authors interested in trying to get their works optioned but also for aspiring writers because the points brought up about how Hollywood story analysts critique premise, dialogue, storyline and premise ideas was very helpful. Another example of the excellent informative lectures provided for writers at SCBWI's national conference!

Posted by Paula Yoo

No comments:

Post a Comment