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  1. #1
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    Novel or Screenplay?

    I have outlined a novel I think might be better as a movie. What are the pros and cons to making it a screenplay rather than a novel?
    Thanks in advance for your time.
    Andy



  2. #2
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    Re: Novel or Screenplay?

    Have you written a screenplay before? Have you read a number of successful screenplays? Are you familiar with the format?

  3. #3
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    Re: Novel or Screenplay?

    I have read a few, plan to read more. I have toyed with writing a screenplay. I have Movie Magic so I'll be writing in that. I do understand the format and what is expected. I'm glad you commented. You have helped alot with my query for Moses. I saw that you hang around the screenplay section alot and it seems like you know your stuff. I would be happy to hear your thoughts, opinions and ideas.

  4. #4
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    Re: Novel or Screenplay?

    Thank you, Andy.

    I'm sure you know it's entirely personal preference if you write a novel or screenplay. And I'm delighted to hear you have a processing package for screenplays and have read some as well. That's good. I often have folks ask me about screenplay writing, but they've never even read one, so you're ahead of the pack.

    So, you know that you've got about 115-120 pages to tell a story in a screenplay. Not much time. Of course, you can find screenplays that are much longer (take a look at Forrest Gump), but for someone starting out in screenplay writing, it's a good idea to stick to the rules. If you're the guy who is going to direct the film or produce the film, and has the funding for the film, you can write it any length you want. You could write it on toilet paper. But let's assume you want to stick to the accepted format and write a script of 115-120 pages with the hope that someone will read it and maybe buy it. Is that your goal?

  5. #5
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    Re: Novel or Screenplay?

    Yeah, 100 pages or so and try to sell it. I noticed some agents accept screenplays, I assume there are other avenues in which to sell your script?

  6. #6
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    Re: Novel or Screenplay?

    I asked you that question because if you intend to make the film yourself, everything changes, and you can write it any way you want. I know a lot of people who make their own films.

    Selling a script is a whole other can of worms. I thought you wanted to talk about writing it.

  7. #7
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    Re: Novel or Screenplay?

    I really don't have the time or money to make my own film. Not really sure I have the desire to do it either. Writing is where my head's at. I think I can write it, I'll stumble along at first, but I can get it. The marketing side of it is where I run into most questions. I know it's hard to tell without a storyline, but is a screenplay harder to sell than a novel? Am I going to approach the same agents or some new brand of Hollywood agent? What's the money like in screenplays vs. novels? I know that's probably a stupid question and depends on many different things. I guess I wondered also if I might run into someone on writers that might say, "Oh Jesus NO, stay out of the screenwriting business, it sucks!" or, "Hell yeah, go for it. It's better than the book business." At the end of the day, I have to try and sell what I've created. Am I heading down a road so full of great scripts and a saturation that I have a lesser chance than I would writing a book?
    Thanks again for your help Leslee.

  8. #8
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    Re: Novel or Screenplay?

    You think selling a novel is tough? Trying selling a screenplay and seeing it through to production. Yikes.

  9. #9
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    Re: Novel or Screenplay?

    I see. You're mostly looking for dollar signs. Okay, here they are:

    http://www.wga.org/uploadedFiles/wri...ts/min2008.pdf

    This is the Schedule of Minimums currently posted on the Writers Guild website. If it's been updated since 2008, it hasn't been posted. You should look at the entire website, because the Writers Guild is God when it comes to the business.

    Before you get all excited by the numbers, please remember:

    You can write a hundred screenplays and stack them under your bed and not one will be looked at by anyone but you and your friends.
    You can pound on doors your whole life, with every screenplay you write, and never get a meeting.
    You can get a meeting and never get another.
    You can go to a hundred meetings and never sell a screenplay.
    You can option a screenplay and the studio loses interest before the sale.
    You can sell a screenplay and it's never made into a film/tv show.

    Most screenwriters keep their day job a long time before they make enough money to live on, if ever. Most don't make it.

    It is a ball breaking frustrating business, and everyone wants to score. Is it tougher than selling a novel? I don't know. But I can tell you that unless you have tremendous luck or know someone at a studio who owes you a favor, you'd better grow a very thick skin.

    Not trying to discourage you. Just being realistic. You could beat the odds. Or beat your head on the wall. Or both.

  10. #10
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    Re: Novel or Screenplay?

    At least when you sell a book, you know you're going to end up with a book. When you sell a screenplay, it may or may not be produced.

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