Dete Meserve is President of Wind Dancer Films, a film development, finance and production company based in Los Angeles, and New York. The company has created TV hits such as Roseanne and Home Improvement, two of my favorite shows and produced the movie, What Women Want, a movie I enjoyed, and watched several times.
I had the pleasure of meeting Dete at the Southern California Writers Association where she gave a speech on, “How to Turn Your Book Into A Film or Television Project,” to anxious authors, including me.
Most authors believe their books should be turned into a movie, and sometimes, we are naive. I for one, believe that my family adventure memoir, would make a great movie, but would it?
That’s where we all need to get real.
It’s not about us and our story. It’s about what will make the movie producers money, and will the public pay $12-15 to watch it on the big screen?
I listened to Dete explain the film and TV business and these are my notes which I hope will help you realize why it’s so difficult to get your book into film.
- Right now, the US film industry is focusing on the big budget movies: 150-250 million blockbusters.
- It’s very difficult to get started in the film industry if you don’t have an agent.
- It’s very difficult to get an agent
- Agents tend to go with those people they have built a relationship with
- TV is a hungry medium looking for great ideas
- Writers need to have a log line (25-30 words giving an exciting pitch about the movie.)
- Tell me what the story is about rather than a cliche
- Very often it’s a 24-year-old intern who will look at your book first
- They take your book and write a synopsis
- It’s better if you write your own synopsis
- Focus your attention on TV- more opportunities than a feature film
- Don’t write you screen play unless you already have screen credits
- Big screenwriters don’t want to share writing credits with you
- Don’t attach unknown people to your screenplay
- Don’t attach actors to your screenplay unless you know they are “meaningful” or “bankable.”
- The Director is the key person
- Nobody wants to produce a book that only sold 200 copies
- Character driven pieces work in TV
- TV wants strong characters
- Domestic abuse, Bipolar stories and mental illness are very hard to get made into a movie or TV as most people don’t want tp send money watching those kind of movies.
- It takes longer to sell a book as people have to read it
- TV movies are much easier to make than a theater movie
- Think of all your personal connections and see if anyone you know can help you
- Find an agent or producer that’s passionate; not just the big names
- The big names may not be the best for you
- If you get rejected, it may have nothing to do with your book, but just being able to get financing
- Don’t give up,
- Niche movies are in
- If you get a film option, you may be looking at $2,500-$75,000 for an 18-month period which means they have the right to develop it into a movie
- If your book gets turned into a movie, ask for the money upfront, rather than on the back end.
- It’s better for writers to have a short option rather than a long one
- The Director of the movie is King
- Most writers make a living on options only.
Of course I gave a copy of my Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal memoir to Dete, especially as Wind Dancer Films is involved with this festival on November 22nd in Miami, Fl, and I shall be there to collect my gold medal
Freeways to Flip-Flops: A Family’s Year of gutsy Living on a Tropical Island won the GOLD Medal for MEMOIRS at the READERS FAVORITE AWARDS.
November 22nd, 2014 AWARDS CEREMONY in Miami, FL
Sign up NOW on Eventbrite to reserve your seat for a FUN and ENTERTAINING EVENT
to launch our 2nd “My Gutsy Story®” Anthology.
My Gutsy Story® Anthology: Taking Chances and Changing Your Life
What: Author Sonia Marsh launches the second publication in her My Gutsy Story® Anthology book series by hosting an evening of inspirational stories moderated by former PBS SoCal anchor Ann Pulice. Marsh, the award winning author and founder of My Gutsy Story® series, will also announce her next gutsy adventure, signing up for the Peace Corps. The event is open to the public and all attendees will receive a copy of the newest My Gutsy Story® Anthology.
When: Saturday, November 1
4:00 to 6:30 p.m.
Where: Zovs Restaurant in Tustin
17440 E. 17th St., Tustin, CA 92780, (MAP)
ph (714) 838.8855
Who: Moderator Ann Pulice is an award-winning journalists and was co-host on PBS SoCal’s Real Orange for 17 years.
- Sonia Marsh: Award-winning author of Freeways to Flip-flops and founder of the My Gutsy Story®
- Julia Capizzi: Orange County Peace Corps representative and Bilingual Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who has lived abroad in El Salvador & Bolivia.
- Colleen Hannegan: Author and professional speaker, certified business advisor, personal life coach for women in transition.
- Mariana Williams: Author and founder of the “Long Beach Searches for Greatest Storyteller,” married to Oscar-winning singer/songwriter Paul Williams.
- Jonathan Yanez: Went from renting cars, to following his dream of becoming an author. His three-book series publishing contract has now been optioned for film.
Cost: $40 (includes book, wine and appetizers) before October 20th and $45 after that date.
More: Marsh hopes the My Gutsy Story® Anthology series and events will create a global community to help one another take risks in life. Her first publication,Freeways to Flip Flops, a chronology of her family’s one-year adventure in Belize, recently won the Reader’s Favorite, 2014 Gold Medal book award.
RSVP: For more information call (949) 309-0030 or e-mail: Sonia@soniamarsh.com