Hollywood Calling! Part 2

Continuing the amazing information shared by Maggie Marr at my local RWA Chapter September meeting.

If your book was actually purchased and scheduled for production, what’s one of the first questions you might ask? “Can I write the script? Co-write? Approve it?” That depends. Do you have experience writing screenplays? Have you sold one you wrote? How badly do you want to write this script? Is this a deal-breaker for you? Let’s face it, even if the movie is terrible, it will still get your name and the title of your book out there. Give it some thought.

Also, because you know Diana Gabaldon has a lot of control on the Outlander TV series, how much draw does your name bring? For a studio to make a book into a series on TV, they have to believe that it “has legs”.

Let’s say my book is set in a very particular and recognizable place in the world. Easter Island, maybe. Will the studio film on location? Netflix does, not many others in the US. Pitch to BBC, they will travel a lot for their stories.

Sure, you are tired of the Dumb Heroine. She almost deserves what happens to her. But she isn’t dead yet. She can become more aware and smarter through the course of the story. It’s a different world to turn it into a television show. Hallmark is doing a few series now based on Romance books. They like authors Robyn Carr and Debbie Macomber. Will we ever see a real Regency Historical Romance on TV?

Lawyers have to say “It depends” frequently. The answer here is it depends on the name of the author. The credit and finances involved. It costs so much more for costumes and settings. Still, there have been a few produced. It’s up to you to grab the studio’s attention by writing a genre with a twist.

Maggie shared that agents have 7 or more meals per day. They sit and chat with people in the industry. So if she submits a script or book on Wednesday, she’ll wait at least until the weekend has passed by. Then on Tuesday, she’ll call the producer and make plans for mani-pedis on Wednesday. She won’t really remind the person, it’s just a social call. Wink, wink.

Eventually, the script will get looked at and possibly be considered for one of the openings in the studio’s schedule.

Game of Thrones is big because there is an audience for that type of story and they knew that due to the books. Big Little Lies is a decent series, the book was very good, but people tune in because of the cast. Outlander was snapped up due to the book series.

Last time, I mentioned that Hallmark is the oldest outlet for TV Romance stories. But Hallmark will not allow touching, no divorce, no swearing, no person of color in the main roles. What fun is that to watch? It’s so not real life. Hallmark also options lots of works but doesn’t buy it until they are ready to actually make it. PassionFlix always makes what they option. They are about to release Sylvia Day’s Aftershock/Afterburn on November 20th, 2017. Lionsgate optioned Ms. Day’s series, Crossfire, and never got around to it. Ms. Day has declined to let them have it any longer.

Part of the reason for this is that only 6% of members of the Directors Guild of America are women. Men don’t know what to do with this material. Sexy for a man is not sexy for a woman. For example, a director looked at a scene where a man sat on a bar stool and a woman walked up to him. The director, a man, thought it was sexy to just have the man turn to her and put his arm around her. The women said, no, have him open his legs and let her walk between them. That’s hot, right? Know your audience. Women read the Romance books. PassionFlix is founded by women and will show their movies from a woman’s gaze.


Classic Harlequin Modern Harlequin


Lifetime has connected with Harlequin books now, but Harlequin has only stepped into the real love kind of stories recently. Netflix gathers the best information on what we watch, what we want to watch, and what we won’t watch. They track our brains and eye movements, or will soon. Maggie’s own Netflix suggested movies list is fueled by her family, so there’s a lot of animation and spy movies thanks to her husband and children. Netflix also doesn’t feel the need to keep their fingers in the pie as much as traditional content producers. PassionFlix wants to have sexy times but not porn. They may even be open to LBGT content.

That wraps up the basics that Maggie Marr covered with us. She seems like the kind of person who can entertain for hours with just anecdotes of her experiences in Tinsel Town. Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursday.

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