Adapting A Novel To A Screenplay


It is a well-known fact that Hollywood mines pre-existing material such as novels, comics, short stories and articles to adapt into screenplays. This is over and above mastering the art of prequels, sequels and remakes.

The majority of novels are purchased by women; a staggering 85% by some estimates. Possibly because most book editors are women so material is inherently geared towards them. In terms of genres, the easiest to sell are romance, comedy and romantic comedy. A smaller proportion of thriller and action novels are adapted to round off studios’ genre slates.

However, the film market isn’t that simple. Cinema screens are overwhelminghly targeted towards the 14-24 year old male demographic. Most studio development and production executives are males, so femalecentric novels are adapted into malecentric films with varying levels of success. Of course human behavior isn’t as crassly divided as these harsh statistics.

The non-screenplay market has never been more fragmented and accessible to new writers. If you’re so inclined you can write an ebook script rather than page turner for ipads and other tablet devices. You can write audio books for CD and podcasts.

If shorter prose is more your style, there are webseries (usually comprised of up to 5 minute episodes), cell phone mobiseries (usually 1-3 minute episodes) and a host of mobile electronic devices. The traditional publishing market is changing, and with an increases in delivery platforms comes an abundance of opportunities for new writers.

The key is to see across how many platforms you can produce the same literary property.

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