story Story Into Screenplay

paul6001

Member
Story Into Screenplay

Prepare yourself for a breathtaking example of overreach from a person utterly ignorant of all things screenplay-related.

I have written a short story. in general terms, it's about the state of post-divorce living among Gen Xers and the trauma that one particular family undergoes. (Sort of Kramer vs. Kramer meets Spiderman. Just kidding. But I'm getting the lingo down, right?)

This story is long (about 7,000 words) and consists almost exclusively of dialogue. It resembles nothing so much as a screenplay.

I'd like to turn the story into a blockbuster, money-gushing script. In order to do that, I need to get the attention of agents/ directors/ producers. The problem is this: It will be months before the New Yorker accepts it for publication, and months after that before the story runs. No one will see it for a year and I need a little income before then. (I briefly considered the possibility that the New Yorker might not publish, then dismissed the thought as ludicrous.)

I need to get someone interested in this story in its present form, then pay me to turn it into a script. People option novels all the time, right? And didn't someone make a movie out of Joyce's The Dead? So it could happen. But I have no idea how to do it.

I welcome any and all comments/ criticism/ advice. I don't have a clue about the first move to make, so besides telling me where to go, please give me a hint about how to approach the movie world. Many thanks. When I become a big-time Hollywood player, I won't forget who helped me in my dark days.

Please note I'm a longtime magazine writer and editor. I have some idea what good writing looks like. Other editors have read it as well. The consensus is that it ain't bad.
 

mlesemann

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
First, welcome to IndieTalk!

You can either (a) write a great novel that will attract attention and be bought for a screenplay or (b) write a great screenplay that a producer will buy.

If you know how to write a novel, that seems like the easier first step. Then you have to either (a) find a publisher or (b) self-publish it and promote the heck out of it. Either way, buzz & great sales are your first step to selling the movie rights.

If you decide to go the screenplay route, start by reading a few books about writing screenplays. Write a few drafts and get it as good as you can. Then you can try (a) submitting to some high level competitions (the Nicholls Fellowship from the folks who award the Oscars is the biggest) or (b) pitching it to producers.

All of the above take time and lots of re-writes. You might also start by reading screenplays that you admire in the genre in which you're writing.
 
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directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
I welcome any and all comments/ criticism/ advice. I don't have a clue about the first move to make, so besides telling me where to go, please give me a hint about how to approach the movie world.
You approach the movie world in much the same way you approach
the magazine world. Can an unpublished writer go to the New Yorker
with a two paragraph idea and get paid to write that into a 7,000 word
story?

You have a slight advantage over an unpublished newbee – you are a
published writer. Approach a literary agent with connections in both
worlds. Or one who specializes in fiction writers who knows people who
specializes in screenplay writers. Ask for a referral.

It's very, very rare that an agent can get a deal like the one you want.
But it's not unheard of. But you will need an agent to open the doors.

Of course if you don't want to use an agent then you must approach
producers yourself. Research producers with their own production company
(most have them) and send a query letter to them.
 

paul6001

Member
First, thanks for the reply. Maybe I didn't make myself clear. I'm not approaching the New Yorker with a two graf idea, I'm approaching them with a completed 7,000 word story. The odds are still comically long but, to paraphrase the bard, perhaps quality will out. And while I may be delusional, I have some faith in this story.

But it's the first time I've written on spec in a long, long time, and I don't plan to do any more of it.

I like your idea of finding an agent who works in both worlds. How would I ask for such a referral? Is there some kind of directory where I could research the issue?
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
First, thanks for the reply. Maybe I didn't make myself clear. I'm not approaching the New Yorker with a two graf idea, I'm approaching them with a completed 7,000 word story.
I understand. I wasn't saying YOU were doing that, I was asking a question.

Can an unpublished writer go to the New Yorker with a two paragraph
idea and get paid to write that into a 7,000 word story?

You know publishing. The movie world isn't that different. An unpublished
writer wouldn't go to the New Yorker with an idea and expect them to pay to
write the story. In the movie world a writer wouldn't expect to go to a studio
with a completed 7,000 word story and get paid to write the screenplay.

You shouldn't be writing stories for magazines on spec because you are longtime
magazine writer and editor. However, being new to the movie world you will
likely have to write a screenplay on spec. But maybe not.

With a connected agent and your magazine experience you may find a studio or
producer willing to pay you to write the screenplay. Highly unlikely, but not out
of the question.

I like your idea of finding an agent who works in both worlds. How would I ask for such a referral? Is there some kind of directory where I could research the issue?
You speak to someone you know in the publishing world who knows an agent
who specializes in screenplays. That person refers you. Yes, there are directories.
You know The Writers Digest. That's a great place to start as you already have
connections in the publishing world.

A quick Google search will get you hundreds of links:
hollywoodscriptexpress.com
screenwriting-source.com
productionhub.com

Who are you with now?
 
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