Monday, April 4, 2016

Sisters in Crime: Adapting to Hollywood

by Linda O. Johnston

Welcome to the first Monday in April. 

Last month, I blogged about attending Left Coast Crime in Phoenix.  This month, I'm blogging about a national Sisters in Crime conference, Adapting to Hollywood, which occurred last weekend.  Yes, it was held in Hollywood.  And since I live in the Hollywood Hills, it was practically in my backyard.  So, I definitely had to attend.

The premise was a good reason to attend, too.  It was all about how novel writers can try to sell their works to the film and/or TV industries.

Fascinating?  Yes.  Do I think I've learned everything and will therefore have one of my stories or series picked up as a movie or TV show?  Who knows?

It's not impossible, after all.  One of the speakers at the conference was Ellen Byerrum, who attended the first SinC Hollywood conference in 2006, and subsequently had two of her novels made into movies for the Lifetime Movie Network. 

There were quite a few people there from the film industry, from screenwriters and producers and studio executives to agents and film industry attorneys.  Topics they spoke about included who's looking for what, what makes a good character, the development process to production and making a deal to sell your story.

Quite a few of the attendees got the opportunity to pitch to a professional, although I wasn't among those who were assigned pitch time, unfortunately.  I'd have liked the opportunity to at least practice a pitch, even if I didn't sell one of my stories on the spot.  I did learn a lot, though, including the fact that Hollywood and its peeps are always looking for good stories to produce. 

Sisters in Crime members from all across the country attended, including other Midnight Ink authors.  Will any of them be successful in selling their work, or even getting it optioned?  I'd love to see that, but will undoubtedly have to wait quite a while before anything like that happens.  That was one of the things stressed at the conference.  Few things happen fast in Hollywood.

In any event, I really enjoyed the conference.  And since I write the Superstition Mysteries, don't be surprised if you see me with my fingers crossed a lot.  Even though writers lose a lot of control over their characters and stories if they enter into an agreement to potentially have something produced in Hollywood, there's always at least some money involved--and I think it would be fun to see some of my characters appear in real life on a movie or TV screen.

By the way, it's almost time for my second Barkery & Biscuits Mystery to appear: TO CATCH A TREAT.  I'm sure I'll say more about it next month, since it'll be published in May.

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