The general rule in publishing is that when someone makes a really cool public announcement, they’ve probably been sitting on that news for weeks and sometimes longer.
I’ve been sitting on this news for about six months. Based on that, it should be pretty exciting, right? And I will admit, I’m very excited to finally be typing this.
So here it is: THE FALSE PRINCE has been optioned for movie rights by Scholastic Media. Gotham Group made the sale in conjunction with my always amazing agent, Ammi-Joan Paquette of Erin Murphy Literary Agency.
Does this mean it’s going to be a movie now? Um, I can give that a solid answer: “I dunno.” But for the record, I’m totally in favor of it happening. If it helps, I can send the studio homemade brownies or something while they’re reviewing the manuscript (although I’ve tasted my cooking – it probably wouldn’t help).
Over the last few months, I've studied a lot about what it means to have an option.
An option gives a production company the right to begin pursuing production (find a director, a studio, a budget – minor details like that). If those factors don’t come together within the contractual time frame, then that’s as far as it goes. A lot of times, this is where the process ends, simply because there are more books optioned than movies that are made.
However, if things do come together, then other terms in the contract start to come into play. They buy the rights for that type of production, which could be anything from television movie of the week to TV series to major studio production. Then the process moves to screenplays, casting, and the all important question – exactly who do I have to schmooze to get to spend a day on set (and how close will my seat be to the catering wagon?)
Stories that tend to get made have to fit a rather strict criteria. Obviously there are exceptions, but generally speaking, the manuscript:
* Should feel different from what’s already been done.
* Needs a concept easy to sum up in one or two sentences (brilliant logline).
* Must have a strong visual potential.
* Should have a three-act structure.
* Must have a wide audience appeal.
* Needs a concept strong enough to balance its budget requirements.
And if the studio can create merchandising for it, well that’s just bonus.
Probably the biggest talk right now for a book's adaptation into film is Suzanne Collins’ THE HUNGER GAMES. Consider how well her book fits each of those criteria. Based on those above standards, it’s the perfect candidate for a movie adaptation and will undoubtedly be a great box office success.
So, does THE FALSE PRINCE meet that criteria? Obviously that’ll be for the studios to decide. Until then, I’m so entirely grateful just to be where I am. It’s still over six months until the book’s release and there are so many people involved in preparing the book for a successful launch. I cannot give them enough thanks.
And if you're a movie studio and you just got the manuscript - brownies are on their way...