If you, like many writers reading this blog are wondering if your short story or book idea that you want to write, could ever become a movie – then read on.
Here are seven reasons why writers need filmmakers
1. Hollywood has a long and fascinating love-affair with books.
Each year the Oscar nominations attract global attention. This year it’s no different. As a writer and book-lover, there are now eight 2019 Oscar nominated films that were inspired by books.
Everything from If Beale Street Could Talk to Mary Queen of Scots were based on books, both recent and past. The Coen Brothers’ Ballad of Buster Scruggs includes a vignette based on Jack London’s short story.
One reason Hollywood loves books is because they have already proved their commercial success in another medium.
2. Did you know that the Oscars have two writing categories?
Each year, the Oscars award two writing awards: one for best original screenplay, and the other for best adapted screenplay. Hollywood puts as much emphasis on the screenpaly adapted from a novel or short story, as it does on adaptations from an original screenplay.
If seeing is believing for you, here are 100 top movies inspired by books.
3. Filmmakers are trained in storytelling
For a filmmaker, it’s all about the visual images. The golden rule of screenwiting is that you only write what you can actually see on the screen. Your written stories will likely be full of interior thoughts and emotions that are difficult to transpose onto the screen.
A good filmmaker knows how to adapt and transform your story for the screen. In the process, your story will change and come to life, benefiting from the creative input of the filmmaker. As an artist yourself, you’ll see sparks fly. The resulting collaboration will likely inspire you to embrace new and different approaches to your work.
4. Filmmakers know how to market your story
We all know the old adage – “There’s no business like show business.” And, let’s not forget that the film industry is a marketing industry. Filmmakers know that the only way to get people to see their films is to let them know about them. Some of the sharpest and brightest advertising campaigns have come from the movies.
Writers can learn from their filmmaking colleagues how marketing drives box office sales.
5. Filmmakers master the art of the franchise
If you have developed excellent characters – remember they can resurface in another chapter, in the future. They could have 9 lives or more! The Harry Potter films, Star Wars and Stephen King’s ‘The Children of the Corn’ are examples of ongoing series of films that the film industry calls ‘franchise movies’.
The film industry loves franchise properties because they develop these ongoing brands that can continue to grow and grow.
6. Filmmakers know the art of the pitch
They say that almost all movies start with a pitch – a verbal presentation where the main story is outlined and explained. Why don’t you use this approach the next time you’re pitching to a publisher?
Learning how to present your idea in a concise, and informative manner is something that writers can learn from filmmakers.
Raindance has an excellent Pitching Skills Workshop which you can attend online from anywhere in the world. Once you’ve mastered that you can then attend Live!Ammo to put your skills to the test. Collar Writers pitched ‘Consequences’ at the Raindance Film festival last year – terrifying but satisfying!
7. Kill your darlings
Filmmakers know how to ‘kill their darlings’ and if you’re game for collaboration, they’ll help you kill yours.
The phrase ‘kill your darlings’ has been around in literary circles for quite some time. According to Forrest Wickman:
“…the widely repeated saying has been attributed both to Ginsberg and to William Faulkner. The advice has also been attributed to Oscar Wilde, Eudora Welty, G.K. Chesterton, “the great master Chekov,” and Stephen King, who wrote, “kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darling.“
Here at Collab Writers HQ, we’re currently going through the painful transition to take our story Consequences from book to screen. It’s both an interesting and painful discipline, a little like going through those teenage years – you grow into it. We know how wonderful it feels to have words flow onto the page straight from one’s subconscious. As we navigate screenwriting, we’re now questioning whether these passages add anything to screenplay. For the great swathes of passages that don’t – as the great and the good advised, the darlings must go.
If, when you chat to Collab Writers, you hear tears and wailing – you’ll know it’s because we have killed our precious darlings. Enjoy the Oscars and try to imagine your story being nominated one day. You’ve gotta dream it first to believe it….then you’ve gotta be in it to win it – get writing and get collaborating.
*did you know that Raindance Film Festival has offered Collab Writers Founder Members a 20% discount off all their writing and filmmaking courses?
Collab Writers Networking at the Library
Come and meet fellow writers, filmmakers and other creatives in one of the coolest private members clubs: The Library – situated in the heart of London’s Theatreland. This event is free for Founder Members. Guests just £10.00 Thursday August 1st 19:00 – 21:00