How to Adapt a Book Into a Film or Series

Hosted by Liz Sczudlo

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Liz Sczudlo

Webinar hosted by: Liz Sczudlo

TV Writer (FOX's THE FOLLOWING, CW's JANE THE VIRGIN, DYNASTY)

Liz Sczudlo is an experienced TV and film writer who is often hired by networks and studios like the CW, Hulu, Lifetime, Hallmark and more to adapt popular novels for the screen. Some of the novels she has adapted include#1 New York Times Bestseller THE DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD, THE ARCHIVED by bestselling novelist V.E. Schwab, Aimee Friedman's SEA CHANGE, and Dani Cubides' MI HERMANASTRO. A seasoned television writer and producer, Liz has written for shows like CW's JANE THE VIRGIN, FOX's THE FOLLOWING starring Kevin Bacon, ABC Family's SWITCHED AT BIRTH, MTV's AWKWARD and CW's 90210. In addition to developing her own pilots for Hulu, TBS, CW, CBS and Village Roadshow, Liz is currently serving as writer and co-executive producer for the CW's reboot of DYNASTY, where she helps run the room. Liz's deep experience with writing and adapting has given her unique skills and understanding of the novel adaptation process, and she's excited to bring what she knows exclusively to the Stage 32 community. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

A good book takes the reader to another world. A good film or series does the same. Today, it’s not unusual to turn on the tube and take in films like THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW, HILLBILLY ELEGY, and BLACKkKLANSMAN, or series like OUTLANDER, THE HANDMAID’S TALE, and MINDHUNTER, all of which are based on fiction and non-fiction books. Writers of all levels are seeing the potential with adapting a good story from the pages of a book. However, not knowing exactly how to go about structuring the story or what elements to highlight and pull from a novel could be a proverbial brick wall for some. But it doesn’t have to be.

A large part of the battle for many creatives is determining whether or not a book or article is worthy of adaptation. Once that determination is made, deciding what part of the story is high concept and what isn’t is also a challenge for some. With so many facts, timelines, and stories happening all at once, you may not be sure what direction to go in. Do you adapt the story from cradle to grave? Or do you choose a particular point in time to focus on? What characters should be in your story? And how should their arcs be developed? Understanding the writing process when it comes to novel adaptation is a crucial (and often overlooked) step in developing your story.

Liz Sczudlo is an experienced TV and film writer who is often hired by networks and studios like the CW, Hulu, Lifetime, Hallmark and more to adapt popular novels for the screen. Some of the novels she has adapted include#1 New York Times Bestseller THE DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD, THE ARCHIVED by bestselling novelist V.E. Schwab, Aimee Friedman's SEA CHANGE, and Dani Cubides' MI HERMANASTRO. A seasoned television writer and producer, Liz has  written for shows like CW's JANE THE VIRGIN, FOX's THE FOLLOWING starring Kevin Bacon, ABC Family's SWITCHED AT BIRTH, MTV's AWKWARD and CW's 90210. In addition to developing her own pilots for Hulu, TBS, CW, CBS and Village Roadshow, Liz is currently serving as writer and co-executive producer for the CW's reboot of DYNASTY, where she helps run the room. Liz's deep experience with writing and adapting has given her unique skills and understanding of the novel adaptation process, and she's excited to bring what she knows exclusively to the Stage 32 community.

Liz will take you through the process of adapting a book for a film or series from start to finish. From learning how to determine what types of IP to adapt to organizing ideas and materials, Liz will help you boil down your concept so you can get started. What’s more, she’ll dig into how you should best develop the story world, the importance of building strong characters, and how to choose the most notable moments to give your story momentum. Tips on how to reach out to the author are also part of this informative webinar.

 

Liz will even offer a case study of HBO's adaptation of Liane Moriarty's novel BIG LITTLE LIES, breaking down the choices that were made to turn the popular book into the wildly successful series that it became.

What You'll Learn

  • Selecting Material
    • Types of IP available to adapt
    • Fiction vs. Non-Fiction
    • A brief explanation of the legal stuff
    • What to consider creatively when looking at IP
    • Story Engine a.k.a. “Does this story have legs?”
  • Breaking Down the Source Material
    • Organizational and note-taking tips
    • How to decide what to keep/let go
    • Bringing characters to life
    • Diversity and authenticity
    • Entry point into the world
    • Story vs. plot
  • Future Planning
    • Deciding on the right medium (single vs multi-cam, streaming vs broadcast)
    • Building out your world
    • Episode vs. Season Arcs
    • Tentpole moments
  • Navigating Real-World Relationships
    • Working with the author (or not)
    • Interacting with fanbases
  • Case Study of the HBO adaptation of BIG LITTLE LIES
  • Q&A with Liz

About Your Instructor

Liz Sczudlo is an experienced TV and film writer who is often hired by networks and studios like the CW, Hulu, Lifetime, Hallmark and more to adapt popular novels for the screen. Some of the novels she has adapted include#1 New York Times Bestseller THE DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD, THE ARCHIVED by bestselling novelist V.E. Schwab, Aimee Friedman's SEA CHANGE, and Dani Cubides' MI HERMANASTRO. A seasoned television writer and producer, Liz has written for shows like CW's JANE THE VIRGIN, FOX's THE FOLLOWING starring Kevin Bacon, ABC Family's SWITCHED AT BIRTH, MTV's AWKWARD and CW's 90210. In addition to developing her own pilots for Hulu, TBS, CW, CBS and Village Roadshow, Liz is currently serving as writer and co-executive producer for the CW's reboot of DYNASTY, where she helps run the room. Liz's deep experience with writing and adapting has given her unique skills and understanding of the novel adaptation process, and she's excited to bring what she knows exclusively to the Stage 32 community.

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