The Step by Step Process of Developing a Book Into a Film or Television Series

Hosted by Jim Young

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Jim Young

Webinar hosted by: Jim Young

Award-Winning Producer (Sundance, TIFF, Tribeca & More) at Animus Films

Producer Jim Young’s first production was the award-winning football documentary “Year of the Bull” for Showtime Networks. On the film side, Young produced the thriller, “Homecoming.” Paramount Pictures released the film. Young then produced the dark comedy, “Don McKay,” starring Academy Awardnominees Thomas Haden Church and Elisabeth Shue, and Academy Award-winner Melissa Leo. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and was released theatrically by Image Entertainment. Young’s next film, "The Words,” starring Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Irons, Dennis Quaid, Olivia Wilde, JK Simmons, and Zoë Saldana was the Closing Night Film at the Sundance Film Festival. CBS Films released the film. “Lovelace,” starring an all-star cast including Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, Sharon Stone, and James Franco, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and subsequently screened at Berlinale. Academy Award-winning filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman directed the drama. The film was distributed by The Weinstein Company. Young then produced the film, “Life of a King,” which starred Cuba Gooding, Jr., Dennis Haysbert, and LisaGay Hamilton. The drama is based on the true story of Eugene Brown, founder of the Big Chair Chess House in Washington, DC. The film premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival and was released theatrically by Millennium Entertainment. The film received an NAACP Image Award nomination. Young produced the historical drama “The Man Who Knew Infinity,” starring Dev Patel, Jeremy Irons, Toby Jones, and Stephen Fry, based on the New York Times’ bestseller of the same name by Robert Kanigel. The film was part of Film Independent’s Producer’s Lab and received a grant from the Tribeca Film Institute and the Sloan Foundation. The film premiered in the Toronto Film Festival and was released by IFC Films. Young produced "The Catcher Was a Spy," starting Paul Rudd, directed by Ben Lewin and written by Robert Rodat, based on the book of the same name by Nicholas Dawidoff. Young is currently developing "The People vs. Vegas Dave" based on the real life of the controversial gambler Vegas Dave, as well as many other film and television projects with independent companies including Lynda Obst Productions, Ruby Films, Tollin Productions, Tribeca Productions, Underground Films, and Pressman Films. Young was a fellow in the Film Independent Producer's Lab and received the Alfred P. Sloan Producer's Grant for The Man Who Knew Infinity. Previously, Young was a Creative Executive at actor Bill Paxton's American Entertainment Company. He is a member of the Producer's Guild of America and attended New York University, where he majored in Dramatic Literature. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

Some of the most well regarded recent feature films and television shows were based on books, including the Oscar-nominated Little Women, JoJo Rabbit, The Two Popes, The Irishman and the Emmy-nominated Game of Thrones, Chernobyl, Fosse/Verdon, Sharp Objects and many more. Authors spend months, if not years, formulating characters and worlds that make it onto the printed page. This creativity serves as great source material that would translate greatly to the big or small screen. If you're an author who's written a novel and are looking to get it adapted, a screenwriter that's written a script based off a book you have (or would like to obtain) the rights to, or a producer or financier who has the rights or are circling securing the rights to a property you believe would make a great film or TV show, you need to understand the steps to take to obtain the rights, protect yourself legally, and make the development process a smooth and enjoyable ride.

Discovering an adaptation-worthy story can be as simple as stumbling across an interesting book or article at a bookstore, library or newsstand. Understanding how to obtain the rights and develop that material effectively is the harder part. It takes meticulous planning and approach to be able to get the rights to the desired intellectual property and successfully adapt and develop the material. Many factors go into getting an adaptation to the screen including negotiations, legal hurdles and making sure you're staying authentic to the source material. Once misstep and it could derail an amazing project. You need to be prepared.

Jim Young has produced films adapted off of books and intellectual property such as The Catcher Was a Spy (starring Paul Rudd), Lovelace (starring James Franco, Sharon Stone, and Amanda Seyfried) and The Man Who Knew Infinity (starring Dev Patel, Jeremy Irons, Toby Jones, and Stephen Fry) and Life of King (starring Cuba Gooding Jr.). He's had his films premiere at Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW and has earned himself a reputation of being an expert in adaptations. Through years of working with authors, publishers, talent, financiers and distributors Jim knows how to adapt a book into a film and TV series from start to finish.

Jim will teach you how to acquire the rights to a book you're interested and go over where to look for title, how to approach the author and publisher and how to close the deal. He'll give advice on the story development process and how to engage the author during that time, as well as tips on how to avoid liability. You'll learn two essential people you must have in your pre-production phase and how to work with the cast, crew and author on set. You will get insider tips on what to do before your film or TV show hits the screen to gain momentum for your project. And, finally, Jim will give you six legal elements to have in place prior to your project's release. This is must-know information coming from someone who's prolific in producing films based off of books. 

 

 

What You'll Learn

  • Acquiring the Rights
    • What to Look For When Considering a Title to Adapt
    • How to Find Available Titles
    • The Approach
    • Negotiating a Deal for the Option/Purchase Agreement
    • Tips on How to Close the Deal
  • Script Development
    • Advice On the Story Development Process
    • How to Engage With the Author in the Development Process
    • Tips to Avoid Liability in Non-Fiction Books
  • Pre-Production and Production Phase
    • Two People You Need to Have on Your Team and Why
    • Working with the Cast, Crew and Author on Set
  • Steps Before You Get to the Finish Line
    • Screening Advice
    • How to Gain Publicity for Your Film
    • Tips to Work with the Publisher
  • 6 Legal Elements to Have In Place Prior to Release
  • Q&A with Jim

About Your Instructor

Producer Jim Young’s first production was the award-winning football documentary “Year of the Bull” for Showtime Networks.

On the film side, Young produced the thriller, “Homecoming.” Paramount Pictures released the film. Young then produced the dark comedy, “Don McKay,” starring Academy Awardnominees Thomas Haden Church and Elisabeth Shue, and Academy Award-winner Melissa Leo. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and was released theatrically by Image Entertainment.

Young’s next film, "The Words,” starring Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Irons, Dennis Quaid, Olivia Wilde, JK Simmons, and Zoë Saldana was the Closing Night Film at the Sundance Film Festival. CBS Films released the film.

“Lovelace,” starring an all-star cast including Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, Sharon Stone, and James Franco, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and subsequently screened at Berlinale. Academy Award-winning filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman directed the drama. The film was distributed by The Weinstein Company.

Young then produced the film, “Life of a King,” which starred Cuba Gooding, Jr., Dennis Haysbert, and LisaGay Hamilton. The drama is based on the true story of Eugene Brown, founder of the Big Chair Chess House in Washington, DC. The film premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival and was released theatrically by Millennium Entertainment. The film received an NAACP Image Award nomination.

Young produced the historical drama “The Man Who Knew Infinity,” starring Dev Patel, Jeremy Irons, Toby Jones, and Stephen Fry, based on the New York Times’ bestseller of the same name by Robert Kanigel. The film was part of Film Independent’s Producer’s Lab and received a grant from the Tribeca Film Institute and the Sloan Foundation. The film premiered in the Toronto Film Festival and was released by IFC Films.

Young produced "The Catcher Was a Spy," starting Paul Rudd, directed by Ben Lewin and written by Robert Rodat, based on the book of the same name by Nicholas Dawidoff.

Young is currently developing "The People vs. Vegas Dave" based on the real life of the controversial gambler Vegas Dave, as well as many other film and television projects with independent companies including Lynda Obst Productions, Ruby Films, Tollin Productions, Tribeca Productions, Underground Films, and Pressman Films.

Young was a fellow in the Film Independent Producer's Lab and received the Alfred P. Sloan Producer's Grant for The Man Who Knew Infinity. Previously, Young was a Creative Executive at actor Bill Paxton's American Entertainment Company. He is a member of the Producer's Guild of America and attended New York University, where he majored in Dramatic Literature.

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Reviews Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5

  • This webinar is helpful for any one interested in learning the basics of how to option a book from an author's copyrighted, published work. The content is that basic, so if you have at least five years producing experience and you don't know the basics, then it is useful. I give low marks for the less than impressive presentation, the presenter needs to polish up on his public speaking without all of the 'ums' 'ah's' and 'uh's' and the content is mostly vague. The topics the presenter speaks are out of sync with the 'bullet points' of information.
  • Thanks Jim your insight was invaluable.
  • I listened to this from the perspective of a commercially published author. I learned so much. Many thanks.
  • This is right on. I'm adapting one of my novels into a movie treatment.

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