Hollywood or Bust

Apr 06, 2023 by Gency Brown

What new movies have you seen lately? Going to a local cinema is one of my favorite pastimes. There’s more available on streaming services than I can ever watch, but there is something special about sitting in the dark theater, munching popcorn, and getting lost in what’s happening on the big screen.

Because I have a habit of reading the credits as they roll, I’ve noticed over the last few years that they adapt a lot of films from books. A friend of mine is a poet and novelist who has worked as an engineer for a major entertainment company for many years. He told me that executives there asked him to teach a writing class to—guess who—their writers. His feeling was that the reason you see so many movies taken from writers outside the studio payroll is because the young people on staff can’t come up with anything new. Or if they do, they’re not able to put it on the page so it will sell.

We can discuss our inept school systems or an entitled generation, but authors should see this as an open door to success. Get your story up on the big screen or as a series on the small one. Why not? At least try it. Of course, that involves a special kind of marketing.

If you are with a traditional publisher, was the option of film rights discussed in your contract? In today’s world of entertainment, they should promote you in all directions. If you are self-publishing, it’s all on you.

Take classes in screen writing or hire a screenwriter. This doesn’t mean the studio won’t want to put their own spin on the story, but if you have it in the form they’re used to working from, you’ll be a step ahead. Hire a publicist or agent or both. Someone that has had success in the world of Hollywood.

Movies made from books and short stories are nothing new. The John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara film The Quiet Man came from Maurice Walsh’s short story. E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey grew from weekly submissions to an online fan fiction sight. It got her work noticed, and the rest is history. Let’s not forget Gone With The Wind from Margaret Mead, To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, or The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (which was also made into a stage play). A few of the newer ones are, If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and woah, I almost forgot the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. On and on goes the list.

So, I ask again. Why not you and your writing? It seems to me it’s another path to success if you’re willing to put in the time, work, and possible expense. Those studio moguls need you. I say, go get your star.

Thanks for listening to my ramblings. Please share with your friends, and I appreciate those that sign up for my email list, like and follow my Facebook page and other forms of social media. See you back here next time at the Little Brown Cabin.