Monday, April 8, 2013

How a Book Becomes a Movie

With the recent upsurge of YA book-to-movie adaptions, a lot of us are dreaming about our favorite books becoming movies. However, the process is not quite as magical as readers would like to believe. Here in, I will tell you the actual process (in a very simplified four steps).

1. The adaptation is optioned. When a movie is "optioned" it means that someone (usually a studio or producer of sorts) has bought the rights for the option of making the movie. Option is the key word: the purchaser does not have to actually make the movie. It's for this reason that we often hear about movie deals for our favorite books, but most of the time the movie doesn't happen. If this producer or studio doesn't start serious work for the movie in a certain amount of time (usually 1-3 years), then the option has run out. The author/publisher may sell another option to another studio/producer and keep the money they got from the aforementioned option.

2. Name attachment. Once an option has been purchased, the producer or studio will look for someone to attach to the project, whether that be a screenwriter, a director, or an actor. That way they will gain attention and therefore money for the movie to be made.

3. Pre-production. This is the point in the process where the movie will either fizzle out and die or thrive and actually be made. This is when a script is written and actors are brought in. The optioneers try to see who's interested in the project and who might be available. The reason most book-to-movie adaptions stop at this point is simply timing. It could take years for a potential movie to move from steps one and two, at which point the director, actor, and producers might have moved on to other things and the movie could dwindle away.

4. Principle Photography. The movie is made! Hopefully. To be quite honest, it's very easy for a project to get shut down in the early stages. The next time you read an article about how your favorite series is being turned into a film, I'd take it with a grain of salt. Don't get too excited until you see a trailer, or until you walk into the movie theater with your ticket in hand.

Not what you expected? Knew as much? What book-to-movie adaption would you most like to see? Comment below!

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