This article was written by Oliver Tuthill and Tara Walker, professional screenplay writers who work with book authors to adapt their book into a commercial screenplay. Tuthill and Walker are also successful film producers who are currently producing their latest client’s story, about an Alzheimer’s doctor, into a feature film. They can be reached at www.BestScriptDoctor.com

 

Imagine the thrill of sitting in a dark movie theater and seeing the characters you created for your novel coming alive on the big screen. Robert Bloch wrote a novel in 1960 called Psycho, and Alfred Hitchcock had it adapted into a screenplay. It became the most famous movie of Hitchcock’s career. Louisa May Alcott’s novel, Little Women, has been made into feature films on three different
occasions. Most recently, in 2019, Greta Gerwig adapted it into a screenplay, and the popular film created a resurgence of interest in the story. Another well- known adaptation of a novel, was Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, which Francis Ford Coppola made into the multi-Academy Award-winning film trilogy. One of the most popular novelists alive is Stephen King, and screenplay writer Frank Darabont adapted King’s novella into the Shawshank Redemption, which was a monumental success. These examples are all of writers who have been very successful, and this is a difficult endeavor. However, there is a method that every writer can follow that can allow for the opportunity for your book to be turned into a screenplay, then a film.

First, you do need to have a finished book, and assuming you do, your next step would be to find a professional screenplay writer with whom you could work to adapt your novel into script form. Professional screenplay writers are highly skilled professionals, who have spent many years, if not decades, honing their craft. Once you find a screenplay writer to work with you, the author must realize that a screenplay is going to be approximately 90 to 100 minutes in length, so it is impossible to cover every dramatic event in your book. The screenplay writer will work with you to include the highlights of your book to make it accessible as a cinematic experience, to be viewed within an hour and a half to two hours.

Let’s say that you have hired a screenplay writer to adapt your book into a screenplay. Now what? If you’re lucky, you might have hired a screenplay writer who also works within the industry as a film producer. In this case, the producer can represent your screenplay and try to find a production company who would be interested in producing it. Most successful screenplay writers are represented by a literary agent in Hollywood, with whom they can submit the screenplay. Then, their agent will submit the screenplays to production companies who are constantly looking for new screenplays to produce into feature films. Most producers looking for new screenplays are much more likely to produce scripts that have been adapted from a book. Another strategy furthering your screenplay toward being produced, would be to enter it into film festival competitions and screenplay competitions. A producer could read it and might option the screenplay from the author. An example of this was when writer Evan Daugherty submitted his script, Snow White & the Huntsman, to the Script Pipeline script competition. His script won the competition, and as a result, he sold Snow White & the Huntsman to Universal for
$3.25 million.

It was one of the biggest studio spec sales of all time, and its success turned Evan into one of the most sought-after writers in Hollywood. The film was also very successful and has grossed $450 million worldwide. Seeing your book transformed into a screenplay and produced into a feature film can be an exciting and rewarding experience. If you believe your book has the potential to be made into a movie, you should seriously consider finding a competent screenplay writer to work with you as you embark on this journey.

 

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