Many people would love to see their favorite books as movies. But a lot of times what we don’t realize is that the author has no control over turning their book into a movie. The process of a movie based on the book is pretty much out of the author’s hands.
So what happens in order to turn a book into a movie?
A lot of times well before the movie rights to a book are sold, the book is optioned by a production company. This means exactly like it sounds. The production company purchases the option to secure the right to turn that book into a movie for an agreed-upon price. This comes with a time stipulation set at the time the options are purchased, but usually an option will last about one to three years before it expires and the movie rights to that book are available for purchase by someone else again.
Be aware though, that just because books are optioned doesn’t mean you will get to see those books as movies for sure. After being optioned, a production company will look into the potential market and costs, and they will determine if it seems like it would be beneficial for them to continue the process of turning that book into a movie.
Some books are so desired by multiple production companies that prior to an upcoming planned auction between them, one party will make a preemptive offer for the rights to make a movie based on the book. Usually this offer is so rich that it would be crazy to refuse it, so the offer is accepted and prevents the auction from even occurring.
Purchasing the Movie Rights
Whether a book is optioned or preempted ahead of time or not, the next step that needs to happen in order to see your favorite books as movies is for a production company to purchase the movie rights to the book. Sometimes for more popular books a bidding war between producers could ensue.
After the movie rights are sold, the film enters the development process. In this stage a screenplay writer is hired to do just what we’ve been waiting so anxiously for, formatting our books as movies! This is a crucial stage in the process because how well the writer is able to convert the book to a screenplay can make or break how close the movie is to the book.
Once the script is approved by the producer, a director is hired to make any necessary changes to the script until it is approved for shooting. Also during the development stage a detailed budget is worked out for the remaining phases of production.
Once the budget and script are worked out, the movie enters the pre-production stage. During this phase the production company is on the search for designers, additional producers, cast, crew, and everyone else needed to give us our beloved books as movies. Potential locations for shooting are reserved and storyboards are created to help assist during the production phase.
Once everyone is hired, locations are scouted, and all the kinks worked out legally and conceptually, it’s time for production to begin. Everyone comes together to ensure the movie based on the book is brought to life in the best way possible.
After production is complete the film enters the post-production phase. During this stage shots are cleaned up and organized into the correct sequence, and editors add visual and audio effects. At this point scenes are also re-shot if problems are found during editing or additional scenes are needed for the story.
Once the additional elements during editing are added to the film, we have the final cut, also known as the master. At this point any necessary color correction is done and a musical score is added. Once the film is approved by a private screening, the master copy is locked and duplicated in order to prepare it for reproduction and distribution. Now we can finally see our favorite books as movies!
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