The Truth About Movie Options
As an author, one of the greatest moments is when a producer or a director contacts you about the film rights to your book. It can even trump seeing your book on a shelf in a bookstore for the first time. Because let's be honest, who doesn't want to see their story come to life on screen starring your favorite actors/actresses?
I want to tell you about my experiences with the whole movie option ordeal. And yes, exciting as it is, it's definitely an ordeal. Lots of you are sitting there shaking your heads thinking you'd be excited no matter what. And you'd be partially right. There is excitement, but there's also stress, hassle, constantly having your stomach twisted up in knots about the survivability of your option deal, etc. I'm hoping that sharing my experience I can at least prepare you for the rollercoaster ride that's coming should your book be optioned for film.
My journey started back in 2014 when I updated my LinkedIn profile. I wasn't looking for any kind of movie interest. I was more or less trying to utilize it to market my book series, The Ghost Files. I made the profile all about that series. Then I started connecting with people. A few extra sales. That's all I was hoping for.
When I started getting inquiries about the film rights to the book, I was a little shocked. I hadn't even thought about it becoming a movie. The more interest I got from producers and directors who'd found the profile and yes, I had connected with a few not realizing who they were, I started to really think about the opportunity.
It was definitely an OMG moment when some of them started wanting to discuss picking up the movie option for the series.
I ended up with eleven different producers who were seriously interested in the film. All of them from different with different ideas for what direction they saw the film taking. A few talked major motion pictures, some talked about TV series, and others talked about both. It was enough to make my head spin. I didn't understand half of what they were saying. A lot of it was legal jargon. I had no agent to help me muddle through. I still don't have an agent 😊 So what I did was set down and do some research. When I started Googling movie options, the first thing I noticed is there isn't a whole lot of information out there about this. You'd think there would be, but nope. It was a information wasteland. At least at the time I did my research.
So I had to rely on the producers I was in talks with to explain things to me.
And let me tell you, that's an ordeal in and of itself. Not a lot of them want to take the time to hold your hand and explain things. They just want to get the deal done and move on. Not so fast. I need things explained to me before I sign jack. Which irritated quite a few.
The producer I ended up with was fairly new. He had done some work on Showtime's hit series Dexter and understood the horror genre, which is what The Ghost Files is. He answered every questions I had even if he had to explain it different ways to make me understand it. Never once did Rami lose patience with me. He understood the book, he talked about it in the same excited way that I did. He wanted to keep the script as close to the original content as possible, which was so important to me. We all know how bad a book to movie translation can go (City of Bones and Vampire Academy being two examples of this). The script and the cast are so important. Rami understood it and because of all that I decided to go with him instead of a few more well known producers who wanted to turn my series into another teenager angsty film with an element of horror on the side. No thank you.
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