Lights! Camera! And . . . Maybe Action
So What About That Film Option?
Periodically I’m asked about my film option for In the Spirit of Murder, the first in my Claudia Hershey Mystery Series. The topic occasionally comes up in reviews on Amazon, probably because the book itself has a banner that says “Now optioned for film rights.”
That’s true. It has been optioned, is still active, and on the detail area of the Amazon book description it notes “Film option sold to Misty Mountain Productions,” so this isn’t something I’m making up.
But when an author gets a film option, there really needs to be a reality check:
(1) Short take? Most options never get turned into films. Google it yourself. That’s pretty much what you’ll learn.
(2) Authors who get film options based on books that do get made into films typically have a specific connection between an actor, agent, well-known script writer, etc. Me? I happen to have an affiliation (non-paid) with Misty Mountain Productions as a communications strategist. It’s not a huge connection, but it’s a connection.
(3) Yes, authors typically get money when their work is optioned by an interested production company or even an entertainment attorney. (In my case, I do have an entertainment attorney named Wayne J. Keeley.) But mostly? The amount of money for someone not already famous is pretty low. It’s kind of like buying a lottery ticket a few days in advance; you’re most often paying for the days before the drawing in which you can toy with fantasies about what you’d do if you actually won.
Here’s what Jane Friedman said in one of her blogs about options and film deals: “Unlike book publishing—which is a fairly predictable process from contract to release date—the movie-making process is filled with U-turns, dead-ends, and uncertainty. It’s why authors are told never to get their hopes up or to presume they’ll have any control over the outcome. Ernest Hemingway once said, “Drive to the border of California, throw your book over the fence. When they throw the money back over the fence, collect the money and drive home.”
Jane, a woman with whom I have no affiliation or have ever met, is pretty high up the food chain in the publishing business. Check out her website and read her bio. She knows what she’s talking about in that blog about options with much more knowledge and savvy than I possibly could.
Basically, an option is a first step into a dream. But hey, if you’re a writer you already know you’ll live on whatever optimistic edge you can seize. That’s what I’m doing and if In the Spirit of Murder ever does go to film, well, I’ll let you know. And then just stick with me for the even lengthier process of finally getting it made and put on the big screen or the little screen.