So you are seeking ideas on how to turn your book into a movie. First of all, congratulations on finishing your book. Writing requires every degree of discipline you can muster. And now that your book is complete, I can understand why you would want to turn your story into a movie.
Going from a writer to a screenwriter to a filmmaker is a very complex process. But if you are willing to pay the price and spend the next year learning everything you can about the filmmaking process, you may have a shot a taking your story off the page and getting it to the big screen.
At the preliminary stage, you first will need to decide if you want to produce the movie yourself or try to sell it in Hollywood. Since I hate asking for permission, my suggestion is to start the process on your own. Then later, if Hollywood wants a piece of the action, you will be in a much stronger position to negotiate deals.
How To Turn Your Book Into A Movie
1. Hire a writer to convert your book into a great script. While most writers think they are also screenwriters, you have to understand that the conventions are different. What works in a book may not always work on the big screen. A great case study however, is Cider House Rules. Read that book and then watch the movie. (John Irving wrote both the book and the screenplay.)
2. Break the movie script into a schedule. This is usually handled by a line producer. These professionals break your script into a schedule and take that information to create a budget. Since the filmmaking process might be new to you, grab this resource: Filmmaker Action Pack
3. Create a budget. As mentioned, a seasoned line producer will help you create a budget. Your budget will assign a price tag to each element in your movie including, locations, props, wardrobe, cast and crew. They will also account for food, lodging and transportation… These are things that most first time filmmakers fail to consider.
4. From the budget, create a business plan. Making movies is fun, exciting and sexy. But what good is having a movie if nobody watches it? Your audience is your business and your business plan will provide detail on how your money will be spent and hopefully recouped. Most traditional film business plans fail to include a marketing strategy… But not yours. Make sure you also include a marketing, sales and distribution strategy that you control.
5. Hire an attorney who specializes in private offerings. Whenever you talk big money and throw around the word “investor,” you suddenly expose yourself to all sorts of liability that doesn’t really do anything to help you. Your goal is to always protect yourself and follow every letter of the law.
6. Find and make the pitch to several investors (and get the money.) Once you have an idea on how the money will be spent and recouped, and you have legal protection – you can then search your network for successful business people who may be looking for a new venture. This is not an easy process. You will need to make cold calls. You will need to ask tough questions. And you will need to face a lot of rejection before you get the final YES.
7. Hire your cast and crew (then go through the process of pre-production.) If you have established a good relationship with a line producer, they can advise you on hiring a crew. Additionally, many casting directors will happily take your money to help you find the perfect cast for your movie.
8. Get out to locations and produce your movie. Producing your movie involves hard labor. Dozens of people will show up before sunrise and will not leave until after sunset. To help you manage these people, ask your line producer to suggest an awesome 1st AD. Your assistant director is concerned with one thing – making sure the production stays on schedule.
9. Edit your movie. At the end of your production is your edit. You will hire an editor and spend lots of time in a dark, smelly room eating candy. This is the final rewrite of your movie. You will go through the footage shot-by-shot and smooth rough areas. At the end of the process, you will have a “rough cut” to evaluate. Have a test screening. Take notes. Then go back to the edit suite and revise your movie.
10. Market, sell and distribute the movie. Many first time filmmakers are too new to realize that the world has changed. People who still talk about DVD distribution and describe VOD as the wild west are silly. But not you… Since you were smart enough to create your own sales, marketing and distribution strategy in the planning stage – now is the time to execute the plan.
Obviously, each one of these steps will require quite a few smaller steps. But if you are serious about getting the book made into a movie, you will need to view your movie in ways akin to how an entrepreneur starts a business. If you are interested in more professional resources, you may want to check out: The Filmmaker Action Pack