In episode 11, Jeni and Melissa talk to agent Whitney Davis about screenwriting vs novel writing.
You can listen to the audio podcast here: EPISODE 8 - Screenwriting vs Novel Writing
Welcome to the Indie Chicks show! I’m Melissa Koberlein, an author and professor of publishing and she’s Jeni Chappelle, a freelance novel editor.
Indie Chicks celebrates and supports independent women in publishing. We’re a place for writers at all stages of the publishing process. So, whether you’re on the traditional route to publication or self-publishing, you’ve come to the right place for advice.
On this episode:
We’re talking about screenwriting
End with an author tip of the week
This week we’re joined by Whitney Davis. Whitney is the founder of Whitney Davis Literary, a boutique literary consultancy offering editorial/career consulting services for writers at large.
After receiving her BA in Literature and Creative Writing, Whitney moved to Los Angeles where she started out as a TV writer, getting signed to the William Morris Agency (now WME) at the age of 26. During the writers strike, Whitney began her career as a freelance script consultant and developmental story editor for aspiring screenwriters and novelists. Over the past 10 years, Whitney has worked with award winning novelists and optioned/produced screenwriters. In 2015, after being nudged by many of her existing clients, Whitney started her own literary firm where she works with novelists and screenwriters as a developmental story editor and publishing consultant.
Here's the Q&A
Could you talk about the major differences in the publishing world of screenplays versus novels? Is one easier to break into than the other?
it's much easier to get a book published than it is to see your screenplay make it to production. Hollywood is extremely risk averse, even more than publishing houses. If it's not couched in a pre-existing intellectual property, it's really hard to see it made into a movie or a TV show. So turning a book into a TV show or movie is easier because it shows it already has an audience.
How are literary managers different from literary agents? How do you know if you need one or the other?
In the publishing world, literary managers don't exist. Agents, in the screenwriting industry, are very much like real estate agents. They are licensed by the state of California to procure you your work and broker the deals. Managers are more like brand management. they help you decide what you're best at, help you get meetings, figure out your brand. You'll have a long-term relationship with a manager but probably not with an agent .
How successful are novelists who make the jump to screenplay writing? How about the reverse?
I think there are a lot more novelists who end up making the switch to screenwriting than the other way around. Screenwriters aren't usually as interested in trying to be novelists, just because of the difference in format.
Do you have any advice for authors wanting to make the jump from novel to screenplay?
Novelists are already ahead of the game in that they know how to structure a story. Save the Cat! is great. If a novelist wants to get into get into screenwriting, read as many screenplays as you can. Go to Script Pipeline, and they have a huge database of recent scripts. Watch the movie and read the script--then repeat.
Tip of the week: If you’re an indie author or writer, start building an ARC team. You can start with any beta readers you might have. Once you publish, your team will support you by providing honest reviews and catching last minute typos and errors.
On our next podcast, Jeni and Melissa will be celebrating another finale episode of Indie Chicks. Tune in to see what we’re up to!
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Indie Chicks out.