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Bringing Your Ip To Film

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Author David Farland knows the business side of Hollywood is utterly unsentimental - this is how to get Hollywood's attention with your books.

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The reason is this: in Hollywood, the biggest IP (intellectual property) is the one most likely to get made into a film. It’s the safest bet that investors can make. Because of this, we will see more Batman and Spiderman and Star Wars for the next fifty years while other original works get ignored.

And of course, each time that one of these gets made into a movie, a videogame, or a television series, then it grows in size as an IP until other original works just can’t compete. You with your three million fans just aren’t as attractive as a property that has three hundred million fans.

Just because you write a great story, it doesn’t mean that Hollywood will come knocking on your door. A couple of years ago, one producer was pitching my Runelords to a major studio exec and told him, “This is an amazing story!” At the time, a Lego movie was huge, and the exec replied, “I don’t need a great effing story, I want a huge IP. Bring me Lincoln Logs or something.”

So where does that leave us as authors? It means that if you’re writing fantasy where you create entire new worlds, you really are wasting your time in Hollywood unless you build your IP. You have to go out and sell books to enough readers for Hollywood to take notice. How many readers do you need?

Millions is nice. About ten million is probably the minimum. An audience that size could probably support a film with a modest $100 million budget, because each reader that you have suggests that you have a fan who would be eager to see a movie. The more readers you get, the better. When Harry Potter came out, it sold tens of millions of books in 1999, and got a movie deal almost immediately. The same happened with Twilight.

 

 

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