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It's certainly one of my dreams to walk down the red carpet at the premiere of a film made from one of my books. It seems to be relatively common for books to get optioned for movie deals but rare to see the studios exercise the option and produce the movie. But today guest blogger Grant McDuling shares how one of his books was picked up by a movie director. Grant has been writing since 1978 and is the author of 39 books.
It’s been said that finding a publisher for your novel is one of the most difficult things any author can do. But I reckon selling it to a movie studio is even harder. Having said that, I also believe it’s not impossible.
When I set out to write a novel about a young boy who loved horses, I never for a moment dreamt that it would one day appear on the big screen. But ten years down the track, it looks like this may just become a reality.
This is how it all happened.
Write a good book
I had just completed my book The Fields of Hope and uploaded it to Amazon.com when I started looking for my next writing project. I wasn’t thinking of another book but rather something shorter to complete, like a magazine article, when I came across an ad in the paper for a scriptwriter for an upcoming TV series on boxing. Having an interest in the sport, I sat down and typed out an application for the job and emailed it off.
Then I forgot all about it.
A few weeks later I received a phone call and was invited to attend an interview as I had been short listed for the job. I was amazed as I hadn’t written a screenplay before. Being a full time writer I was in the habit of taking my chances.
Anyway, in the end I wasn’t offered the job, mainly I think because the TV series never got picked up by a major TV network. What I did score, though, was some good contacts within the industry. The producer, I learnt during pre-interview small talk, was interested in horses and filming movies that feature horses. My marketing instinct kicked in and I began promoting The Fields of Hope to him for all I was worth.
Take marketing opportunities where you find them
Well, you know how it is when you get talking about your own book! I couldn’t help myself. After all, I figured it wasn’t everyday that I got to sit in the same room with a movie producer.
“Shoot me a copy sometime, will you?” he asked. “Sounds interesting.”
Well, I could hardly believe my ears. On arriving home after the interview I arranged for a copy of the book to be sent to him (I ordered a hard copy version) and got on with life.
About a month later, I received an email from the producer saying that he liked the story so much he’d like to offer me a movie deal. Well, you could have knocked me down with a feather.
I couldn’t answer in the affirmative fast enough.
The contract arrives
When the contract arrived, it was like reading a story, not a legal document. I was being offered 4% of the total profit should the movie ever be screened and sold. I would have no input into the production of the script nor the casting of actors.
Are you kidding? I couldn’t care what they did with it, I was just so delighted in getting this far.
About a year later I received a copy of the script and was surprised to discover that the only thing they wanted to change was the ending: not to alter the story, but rather to go a bit further than the book by concluding with a horse race. I readily agreed.
So, where are things at present?
I am told they plan to start shooting early in the new year. Part funding has already been secured from South Africa and things are on track.
The moral of this story is never to lose faith in your abilities and to treat your writing as a business. You need to market your work just as any business markets its products.
Oh, and don’t ever be too shy about talking up your work and your abilities.
Are you interested in a movie deal, and so you have any stories to tell about it?