Friday, November 13, 2009

Gumbo Writers.com Interviews Ken Atchity

Ken Atchity - AEI

Ken Atchity is probably one of the most prolific manager/producers I know. He's an amazing man who is brilliant in every way. I had the opportunity to speak with him over the phone about something I thought many writers would find interesting, how to turn your book into a film. Here's a glimpse into our conversation:

Jeff Rivera: I'm talking to Ken Atchity from Atchity Entertainment, and he’s going to be talking to us about how to translate your novel from the get go to be ready for film and television. So Ken welcome very much to the teleseminar.

Ken: Hey, Jeff. It’s great to be here. I hope everything is going well with you.
Jeff Rivera: It is, thanks Ken. So let’s start from the beginning. So suppose I’m a writer and I really want to have a novel that’s going to be cinematic ready. What should I do from the concept on to think about that sort of process?
Ken: Well that’s a great question because very few writers have that foresight and as a result 90% of the novels that we see for some films are ones that we have to turn down because they don’t follow film rules or consideration. So, the first thing a writer should think about is what does he like to see in a film. What do audiences respond to in a film? A little background on the business is also good. Today, there are three kinds of markets that has a means to writer. The first kind of market is the big Hollywood studio market, with a number of mini studios playing the same game, which is the game of a movie that costs above $25 million and goes up to a couple of $100 million. And that’s what we’re going to mainly talk about today. Let me tell you about the other two markets and why we’re not going to talk about them. The other two markets are the Indie markets, which is divided into (A) the commercial Indie market and (B) the artistic Indie market. I think everybody knows what an artistic Indie movie is, everything from The Reader to Revolutionary Road back to the Crying Game. Very few artistic Indies are marketable on a commercial level. The commercial Indie market, on the other hand, are the thrillers, action and martial pieces that you see that are clearly designed and created for a commercial market. They’re called genre movies. And they are the ones that get made and sold in the foreign market most easily. The art movies have a very hard time selling in those markets, including both foreign and domestic. In both cases, what’s missing in the Indie market is [development] money and because development money is missing, it's very very difficult to sell a novel into that market because you can’t shoot a novel, you have to shoot a script. So, for a novelist who is hoping to make an Indie movie because their novel is so unique and non-mainstream, their best bet is to find a screen writer to collaborate with or to become a screen writer themselves and to write to their own screenplays.
Jeff Rivera: That makes a lot of sense. So when you say mainstream market, are there any specific genres within that mainstream market that people should really focus on if they’re really looking to have a novel that will turn into, or turn well into something cinematic?
Ken: Yeah, well, that’s another good question. I mean what the mainstream market is looking for in novels are action thrillers, sci-fi thrillers and family adventures, like our movie Ripley’s Believe or Not with Jim Carrey directed by Chris Columbus coming up. They look for romantic comedies but unfortunately, there is virtually no romantic comedy book business. They look for dramas or even romantic dramas like the Bridges of Madison County, for example. But very few of those actually get made in the movie unless the writer is a bestseller. So you see Nicholas Sparks’ you know movies like The Notebook. The big market is looking for those kind of books, The Bourne Identity, etc. But they are looking for books that are a number one concept. Maybe I’ll just go through a few numbers of things you should jot down if you’re a writer trying to plan your book. And we’ll talk about them separately later. So, number one is a high concept. Number two is a male lead in a star castable age range. Number is a very clear-cut, three act structure, even if that structure is hidden in your novel. Number four is a happy ending. Number five is having a major American component or a major American setting. Number six is having a focus on the broadest possible audience. So, urban novels for example as much as they are bought in their particular niche like the ones by our clients for example, they don’t make an easy translation in the movie because there is a very narrow movie niche for that market and that particular niche doesn’t have a lot of development money. So, with those seven things in mind, you can sit down and you can start thinking about your novel and if you can turn it, you can make a novel that follows those seven rules, it will standout immediately from the pack of novels that break anywhere from one to all of those rules.
Jeff Rivera: One of the questions I want to ask you, I was kind of surprised with some of the genres you said that are really considered mainstream and sellable or cinematic. I’m not surprised by the actions or the thrillers and that sort of thing. But you brought up romantic comedies and romantic dramas, that’s interesting.
Ken: All you have to do is look at the box office when they do a really good book like The Notebook or Message in a Bottle, it does very well at the box office. And romantic comedies are rarely based on novels because there is no real novel market for comic romance. The general romance market that novelists write for is not really romantic comedy and doesn’t follow the rules of romantic comedy. So, that’s a difficult area to work in as a novelist hoping that your book will be made into a film. But all the other ones I mentioned including family drama are very strong in film and they love to based the film on a novel. Then fantasy, sci-fi action and of course graphic novels and comic books, that’s why Hollywood loves those kind of things because they have broad audiences and are based on preexisting material. That preexisting material in the case of comic book or graphic novel is very well aware of the three act structure and very focused on a viable film audience. They have heroines and heroes at the right ages that work in the same demographic that the film people are looking for.
Jeff Rivera: Right. So I’m just going to just kind of mechanically and strategically choose a genre that is easiest sell to go from book to film would be to choose an action and a thriller, a family drama, a romantic comedy or a romantic drama.
Ken: Yeah. I wouldn’t do a romantic comedy. As I said, it doesn’t work in the book business so that really isn’t a novelist’s choice.
Jeff Rivera: Okay. So don’t choose romantic comedy.
Ken: No, don’t choose romantic comedy because you wouldn’t be able to sell it as a book.
Jeff Rivera: Okay. So stick to the main genres that basically you’re going to sell big.
Ken: Right.
Jeff Rivera: Big price.
Ken: Yeah. Sci-Fi, action, big drama, family drama, romantic drama and fantasy.
Jeff Rivera: So lets say in this case we chose romantic drama as a writer. That’s the genre I want to write to go from book to film. What do I next now that I’ve chosen my genre that I want to write?
Ken: Okay. The next thing you do is you make sure your hero and your heroine are in the right age range. And the age range for romantic drama would be young, 20 something. For a moment we’re not talking about the teen audience. But, for the adult audience it would be 20 something up to say the oldest 40 something. After that it becomes more and more difficult to make into a movie partly for casting reasons, and partly because the studios have discovered that as much as the audience over 55 needs movies, very few of them will actually go to a movie theater. They’ll get it on the Netflix or watch it or on a pay per view but they’re not going to march out to the theater. Recently I turned down a romantic drama from a publisher because the two main characters were in their 60s. It’s too hard a road to hope to go out and say okay, I got Harrison Ford in a role that he will admit that he’s over 60 or a female lead who’s going to admit that she’s over 60, like Glenn Close you know for example. Everybody is going to look at me like I’m crazy.
Jeff Rivera: Right.
Ken: On the other hand you have a drama like Elegy with Ben Kingsley, who is older than I don’t know, if he’s 60, but he’s getting up there. You match him with Penelope Cruz and now you have a really good movie. Although that movie I think had limited if no theatrical release. It primarily went straight to DVD. It’s a very good movie based on a book. So, that’s the next thing to consider. In other words, find a castable protagonist and antagonist. Castable primarily means make sure you have a strong male lead and make sure they’re in the right age range. Now, why is that a strong male range? Because that’s the sexist because women don’t want to go to a movie to see women. They go to a movie to see men.
Jeff Rivera: Interesting.
Ken: They drag their sweetheart along to a movie because there’s also a sexy woman in it. But basically, they go to see the man. So it’s much harder to set up a movie even like a thriller. We’ve been working on several thrillers with female leads and its very hard to convince the distributors to put the money, the prints and advertising necessary behind this script because the lead isn’t a male lead that will bring women into the box office. See what I mean. Its women…
Jeff Rivera: Right.
Ken: Making the decision.
Jeff Rivera: And Ken, since we’re being blunt and honest about this. This male lead 18 to 40 years old probably needs to be white.
Ken: Yeah. If you want to play in the Hollywood mainstream business, he needs to be white because that is it’s the broadest audience. Movies that are specifically black, for example, get a very small portion, which is something like 4% of the overall box office. Will Smith, who is the most popular actor in America today, will not play a role that is specifically African-American. He wants to play a role where the character could be anyone. In other words, he wants to play white if white is defined in Hollywood terms, which means broadest audience possible. Will, because he’s so great, has been accepted into the white audience without even a ripple. It's like racists have disappeared at the billion dollar box office, and that’s kind of what the situation is. So, you write it without the need for it to be black or the need for it to be Latino or the need for it to be Asian and now you have a real shot at setting up your movie.
Jeff Rivera: Great. So we need to have a male lead. Race not really defined but most likely white who’s 18 to 40 years old.
Ken: Exactly. What we mean by white here is not specifically ethnic.
Jeff Rivera: Okay. Okay. Not specifically ethnic. So Will Smith can play, Denzel Washington can play, but it’s not specifically a black male lead anybody can play.
Ken: Right.
Jeff Rivera: So now that we’ve got the genre. We’ve chosen, we’ve chosen the genre and we’ve chosen our male lead, what do we do next?
Ken: Well the next thing is to really make it clear that there are three acts in your story. And oddly enough novels don’t really think that way. Novelists don’t usually think that way but a movie has to think that way. And the big problem with novels usually has act 2, usually a novel has act 1 and then some big turning points happens that takes you into act 2 and then there is not act 3. I mean it just keeps going and going then the ending feels tacked on. But this can easily be fixed on the drawing board or in retrospect when you edit your first draft by saying, you know, what is the twist at the end of the book that makes the third act even more riveting and compelling than the second act was. So reason the screen writers are brought in the novels if a novel doesn’t have a clear cut act 3 then a screen writer is brought in whose job it is to find act 1, 2 and 3 and make sure that they can be clear in the audience’s mind.
Jeff Rivera: Right. So we need to have a clear three act structure.
Ken: Right. And then of course the next step is to make sure you have a happy ending; not an ambiguous ending, and not a tragic ending. Very few movies that you go to the box office to see have a tragic ending. But, there are exceptions and some of the exceptions almost proved the rules. For example, my favorite exception is Witness. Let’s call it a romantic thriller. In the last scenes of Witness, you have the Philadelphia detective falling in love with this innocent Amish, handmaiden on a farm. You’re really rooting for them to be in love because its so sweet and its so innocent and unusual. They seem to be soul mates. In the last scene of the movie as he leaves, the director put a very long shot of his drive away because as they part the audience’s heart is breaking when the detective decides he has to go back to Philadelphia and the car goes very slowly as though he was thinking it over. The audience is about halfway down the road rooting for him to make a U-turn and come back and stay with her forever on the Amish farm. But we don’t really believe in our hearts that would make any sense. Their cultures are just too different. So, in the second half as he continues to the highway, we’re now giving up that fantasy because we realize it doesn’t work and as he turns right and enters a highway and leaves forever. We know that was the right ending and then we feel this big gulf of anguish. It's one of the very few movies that manages to have an unhappy ending by traditional definition, but a right ending doing honor to the romance because not every romance is forever, and that’s what this movie is saying. Some romances are what they are when they are. They don’t have to be eternal to be valid. But normally what we want is a happy ending. We want the runaway bride to finally stop running and get married.
Jeff Rivera: Right. Could we go back just a little and talk about two genres that we didn’t cover. That could I’m thinking possibly be good for translation from book to film.
Ken: Sure.
Jeff Rivera: What about horror?
Ken: That’s a very good question. Horror films are made all the time. Although, the genre is currently in the down swing because so many of them are made. But, horror is very hard to write and to be an original horror novelist now. If you are a horror novelist and you haven’t yet made the swing into movies then you could design your next horror book, so that it follows the rule and yet it is one of the genres that will be considered. But again, the big studios, when they think about horror, they think about Anne Rice and Stephen King and a few others. And they’re basically rarely picking up original horror from writers they haven’t heard of, no matter how good it is. Of course there are exceptions. Peter Blatty’s Exorcist was picked up by the studios even though nobody have heard of Peter Blatty. The book became a bestseller and sudden it doesn’t matter that he wasn’t Stephen King. That he was possibly the next Stephen King.
Jeff Rivera: Right.
Ken: And it was such a great book and such a great story.
Jeff Rivera: So if they’re interested in the writing, should they then just brand it as thriller instead of horror.
Ken: Yeah, yeah. What’s very high in the film business right now is supernatural thrillers.
Jeff Rivera: Okay.
Ken: And I think that’s a very good idea of selling that even to the publisher of the supernatural thriller and not using the word horror. But because publishers don’t know what to do with new horror either. They all say they’ll look at it but the truth is when you send it out; they say well we don’t know what to do with this cause we don’t know who the author is. You know they do know what to do with the Stephen King even if it’s in published four times, they’ll publish it again, you know.
Jeff Rivera: Right.
Ken: We’re living, the publisher in their own way are up against the same thing the studios are. The publishers are up against the brand mentality of the American marketplace and so are the studios, which is why they buy books to begin with because they figured if somebody bought it as a book. For example Demonkeeper, we had the writer develope a script into the book. Then we sold the book and the minute we should the book within weeks, two weeks, I think. We sold it to Fox and it's now in development. So that’s an example of the kind of endorsement that the studios see books as being.
Jeff Rivera: Right. So we talk about selecting the right genre, we talked about selecting the right type of male lead. Where do female leads come in here, or co-stars? What type of female should be attached? Should there be a love story element. Like how does the female come into lead with that?
Ken: Well, I mean female lead is the same thing. It’s a castable lead. The more castable it is. Set your novel up as a movie. You know, all the way from Titanic where you have two people from different social classes but their roles were equally important roles in the story. So yes, you want a female lead who’s hopefully as strong as the male lead. And you can reverse that and have a female with the antagonist, a male protagonist a female antagonist. Then you have another kind of thriller that can also work something like Fatal Attraction, for example.
Jeff Rivera: Right. So in a sense there’s probably a good five to ten real A-list box office actors and actresses. So when I’m designing a character should I be designing it with while keeping in mind Tom Hanks or Tom Cruise? Should I keep that I mind. Is that a good idea?
Ken: I hear that question all the time and I think the best idea is no. It’s not a good idea. Because, after all, these people are actors and they like to become different people. So I wouldn’t worry about that too much. But I would avoid physical handicaps that are impossible to play without being physically handicapped. Children of a Lesser God for example had a female lead who, you know, was hearing impaired and only Marlee Matlin can play that role. I mean she hunted down and found that book so she could play it.
Jeff Rivera: Right. I know you talk about certain genre like action and thriller. Should I be concerned about budget? For example, writing a book that’s too big or should I not even worry about that.
Ken: Well, you should not worry about it because there is nothing too big in Hollywood. The bigger the better, as far as they’re concerned. They would rather spend over $100 million if its going to be bring in a billion dollar audience than spend too little on it. I mean only, in the Indie world do you worry about budget. Yes, don’t worry about budget. But that doesn’t mean you start throwing the kitchen sink in. It means you don’t hesitate to create a world that we’ve never seen before because Hollywood loves to create those worlds.
Jeff Rivera: You brought a good point Ken, which brings a question. You know we’re crafting this from scratch, the story. You know from genre pick to casting pick in a sense. Does that take the love out of the writing? Is it all too mechanical? Is it all too cookie cutter?
Ken: I know you don’t mean this cause you’re a very commercial guy. But you sound like a writer who doesn’t really care about money.
Jeff Rivera: Right.
Ken: In other words, were not talking about artistic consideration here. We’re talking about commercial writing for audience.
Jeff Rivera: Right.
Ken: And you can feel anyway you want to feel. You can feel like you hate this or you can feel like you love it. We don’t really care. We just want to see a great riveting book that does the job. So if you’re one of those people who can’t really follow the rules, well that’s fine. But I really doubt that you’re going to be selling your book quickly to Hollywood. Do you know what I mean?
Jeff Rivera: Right.
Ken: Nothing is easy but you, with every one of those attitudes that you have, you handicapped yourself further.
Jeff Rivera: And that’s sort of the whole point of this teleseminar. Is that you’re writing it to get sold. You’re writing it to become a film, it’s not all fulfilling your…
Ken: Yeah and the way, the way I put that in non-financial terms is that you are writing for audiences. You want the biggest audience you can get. You’re not just writing to please yourself. I mean in one of my books on writing, A Writer’s Time, I say that there’s a bunch for fourth grade myth that screw writers up terribly. And one of them is write from the heart, period. And what I add to that is write from the heart about things that matter to the rest of us. You know what I mean?
Jeff Rivera: Right.
Ken: There’s a big difference. So the first part of your question was it sounded like I just want to write from heart. I don’t want to think about rules or people or anybody else. Well okay that’s fine but don’t do be upset if 20 years later you still haven’t sold your book or your film, you know, if that’ what you were doing. But write about things that matter and suddenly you’re on the right track at least.
Jeff Rivera: Right. Are there any other rules that you think we should be aware if you want to go from book to film?
Ken: Well yeah I think that we should say they’re not God-given rules. There was no, you know, set of commandments that somebody took down from a mountain and bought down to the rest of us. These are just common sense principles of storytelling that go back as far as the Iliad and Odyssey in the Bible. As one Italian filmmaker once said, does every film have to have a beginning, middle and end. The thought goes yes, but not necessarily in that order. The point is yes we do need beginning, middle and end. You can be experimental with them as long as you’re successful. Like there’s a great book novel named Birdie that got turned into a movie with a very unconventional way of constructing the beginning, middle and end. There was Looking for Mr. Goodbar by Judith Rossner. Great novel, great movie. It was very unconventional because the end and the beginning were identical, but so powerful is the middle that you forget about the beginning until you get it again in the third act and you still don’t remember it and it’s too late and now, you know, these terrible things happened. So these are not rules. These are reflections on commercially successful storytelling. You know whether storytelling is [followed] by Alfred Hitchcock or Walt Disney or any of today’s great writers, they all tell the same principle. So they’re not rules. I want to emphasize that because writers naturally react to the word rules and say I’m an artist, I don’t follow rules. These are not rules. These are observations about what makes successful commercial storytelling in Hollywood movies.
Jeff Rivera: So they’re principles not rules.
Ken: Yes, they’re just observations. Instead of rules that somebody makes up and creates the world out of them, these are just – the world has already been created, now lets look at what the world consist of and see if we can distill them into principles that we can pass on to everybody out there who’s disappointed their novel hasn’t been sold as a film, yet.
Jeff Rivera: Right. Right.
Ken: I will say, if writers know this before they start writing their novels, they might decide to make their main character 40 instead of 82.
Jeff Rivera: Right.
Ken: And if they can’t do it, they have to – there’s a great book that I reviewed years ago at the Los Angeles Times where the main character was 80. I auctioned it and tryed to make it into a movie. I worked on it for five years and I just couldn’t get anybody interested in taking a risk on an 80 year old lead. A lot of 80-year-old actors are around who would love to do it, but not a lot of people want to spend millions of dollars taking the risk that (A) the actor will make it through the movie and (B) people will show up in the theater to see him.
Jeff Rivera: Right. But what about teen movies, Ken? I mean, like a young adult novel - is that a good genre to think about that could transition well from book to film?
Ken: That’s right. Young adult movies are extremely hot these days. As witnessed Twilight or our book, Demonkeeper by Royce Buckingham. He keeps writing them. He just came out with Goblins. His third book is called the Under [Bed] Goblin. And he’s a, you know, young adult couldn’t be hotter than it is now. So, many movies are made up for teen audiences. And the only difference is, obviously, you have younger kids. But you have to be careful that your kids are not too young because if you have 12 years old heroines and heroes there isn’t much market for them. You know the viewer almost needs to be 16 with a few exceptions before the studios will take it seriously.
Jeff Rivera: That’s what I was going to ask you. I was going to ask you, what’s the perfect age if you are going to write a young adult novel for the character to be?
Ken: I’d say between 16 to 18, maybe 17 is the right age. And they can go as high as 20. But the older, in the middle to late range of teen-hood, is what we want, not 10, 11 or 12 year old.
Jeff Rivera: So, would you say a male or a female character will be best for your lead in that case?
Ken: That can kind of go either way, depending on the kind of movie it is.
Jeff Rivera: Okay.
Ken: We are developing a story, it’s about a 17-year-old rock star who gets some bad news at Thanksgiving, leaves her life, goes off into the country side, runs into a situation that changes her life and it's a big tear jerking Christmas movie. And obviously it's meant for young people to give them a hip alternative to their parent’ Christmas. So it started as a young lady, you know, teen. And that element, I mean the teen thing, I think it’s pretty obvious when you think about it. Everybody knows…
Jeff Rivera: Right.
Ken: Teens go to see the movies. They’re the biggest spenders in the box office.
Jeff Rivera: Right. Right. That’s great. What other rules would you say that, I’m sorry, principles would you say that an artist should consider when they’re coming from book to film and thinking from the very concept to the execution? That, you know in order to actually be taken seriously and actually acquired a production company?
Ken: Well, one of the others that we mentioned but didn’t talk about was a need for an American dimension.
Jeff Rivera: Okay.
Ken: The foreign market is very strong on buying American movies. Primarily they’re in love with American stars and with Hollywood production quality. So a movie has got to have either have American lead at least or be set in America to have a really good chance. Now, The Bourne Identity is the obvious exception because it’s set all over the world. But there’s always an American dimension and the lead is American. But generally, if you want to have the better, set your movie in the United States. I mean I can’t tell you how many potential novels I get that are all set in South America with no America leads. Basically, these get made, especially if they’re by major authors, in South America. But those movies as Indies movies, it takes years. I mean Love in the Time of Cholera, one of the greatest novels written in the last century, finally got made into a movie that did not do it justice and did not make any money at the box office. It wasn't really that good because for one thing the leads were very old. But nonetheless, those movies could get made but it’s a long stretch to getting made whereas, if it’s an American theme with the right age protagonist you have a much better chance. Hollywood is prejudice against setting things in foreign land that don’t have a direct appeal and tie-in to the American audience. Which is, whatever you want to say about it, either hopelessly provincial or love its own country. And the world loves, I mean, as much the world might hate our political from time to time, the world loves American subjects and American action.
Jeff Rivera: Right. And what else would you say definitely an American leader set in America and do you think that covers…
Ken: Well we talked about the genres already right. We talked about the happy ending. I mean the reason for the happy ending is you’re paying a lot of money for a theater ticket and you are probably depressed by stuff going on during the day. You don’t want to go out and pay to be depressed than that.
Jeff Rivera: Right.
Ken: It’s really simple. So you want a positive, uplifting ending that doesn’t mean you have to be giggling at the end. You want something that inspires you to feel better. That’s what Hollywood is all about. That’s not what the Indie world is all about but what Hollywood is all about.
Jeff Rivera: All right, great. So, just to reiterate something, you mentioned before about the romance scene. So, romantic comedy is difficult to find anyway in publishing but they do translate well into film. Is that correct?
Ken: Yeah, they really do. You could say The Devil Wears Prada was a romantic comedy, but that’s because the screen writer turned what was the novel into a comedy.
Jeff Rivera: In a romantic drama will you say the same thing? Romantic drama turns well into a film but publishers aren’t always…
Ken: You know I think publisher love it too. I mean everything from Love Story to Bridges of Madison Country are romantic drama and so is, you know, The Notebook and as mentioned before. They translate well into books too. The romance world is divided into genre romance and mainstream romance. And Hollywood almost never buys genre romance. They buy mainstream romance. So that’s what you’d be writing. If you’re a genre romance writer for example, you need to write a mainstream romance story like the Bridges of Madison County to break into Hollywood.
Jeff Rivera: And, just so people know, there’s a difference between a love story and romance right?
Ken: Well, yes. I mean a love story, the way you’re defining it is more realistic than a romance. A romance is more fantasy based. In a love story, like the book Love Story, does not have a happy ending. It was reality based and it was based on the reality of the heroine dying at the end of the story. Yet, it became a hugely successful book and because of that it became a movie which was successful, although not very good in my opinion.
Jeff Rivera: Right.
Ken: But nonetheless, it was a good example of turning the book into a movie. A better example, you know, was Prince of Tide which was a brilliant, romantic and dramatic book. You know 650 pages long that Barbara Streisand adapted, you know got adapted down to the size of a movie that capture, still capture the spirit of that book wonderful and was a very powerful movie. So books can be movies but the, again, the book had a happy ending. It had very clear dramatic structure, fantastic structure, had the right castable age. You know what I mean. Had all the criteria.
Jeff Rivera: Right. And what about a graphic novel, I mean why is a graphic novel a good idea and and is that – I’m asking you an obvious question Ken for a reason for people who don’t know the stuff. But why is that graphic novel a good idea to think about in terms of going from book to film?
Ken: Well, a graphic novel is what everybody is looking for. We work with graphic novels all the time. That’s what everyone in the film industry is looking for because they already understand the nature of Hollywood movies, which is things are simplified in a movie and they’re always simplified in graphic novel. They’re clearly dramatic in a graphic novel and characters are reduced down to a few characters or a handful of characters. So, a lot of the homework is already been done in the graphic model. But if you’re a good storyteller and you want to decide which underlying wright you should be creating so you could make a movie. We urged you to write graphic novels because a higher percentage of graphic novels are successful movies. Maybe 7% of all novels published by major houses are picked up by movie. And graphic novels by, you know, the important publishers is more like 70%.
Jeff Rivera: How much?
Ken: Maybe 70%.
Jeff Rivera: 70%?
Ken: 70% of graphic novels…
Jeff Rivera: Ah 30% okay.
Ken: Yeah.
Jeff Rivera: But still I mean 30% compare to what do you say was 7% of the regular novels.
Ken: No, I said 70, 7-0, 70%.
Jeff Rivera: Wow.
Ken: Yeah.
Jeff Rivera: So 70% of graphic novels are picked up by film in some way compare to what percentage of regular novels again?
Ken: Maybe 7%.
Jeff Rivera: Wow. 7% or 70%, its like if you’re going to choose which genre, you might as well, I mean the math is there.
Ken: Yeah. I mean it’s hard to find. I mean we have people looking all the time for comic books and graphic novels. Very hard to find once that aren’t already pick up for film.
Jeff Rivera: Wow.
Ken: You start looking for novels you’d have 200 on you desk 2 hours later.
Jeff Rivera: Wow. Wow. It’s amazing.
Ken: It is amazing and anybody out there who heard this and wrote a graphic novel, send it to us first please.
Jeff Rivera: Right. That’s a good idea. So if somebody has a novel that’s been all right but maybe hasn’t been picked up by film it might be a good idea for them to start thinking about translating their novel into a graphic novel.
Ken: Yeah, the problem is that graphic publishers don’t like to publish novels based on novels that are already published.
Jeff Rivera: Right.
Ken: Because they like the originals. And the other thing is to make sure you have the right to do that cause you may have already given them to a novel publisher.
Jeff Rivera: Right.
Ken: If you’re starting out at the age of 19 writing novels I’d say do a graphic novel first if you are interested in money.




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1 comment:

Lili said...

"there is virtually no romantic comedy book business."

Interesting. I've never thought about that before given there's so much romance published.