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cmeffa
10-25-2011, 01:24 PM
What's easier nowadays, getting a novel published, or getting a screenplay produced? Any experiences, informed opinions, etc.

Ken
10-25-2011, 03:16 PM
... depends how open one is to sleeping with studio execs.

ChaosTitan
10-25-2011, 04:55 PM
Moving to the Round Table for wider discussion.

seun
10-25-2011, 05:09 PM
I don't know how many writers produce both and attempt to publish/sell both. Unless someone did and could tell you how they got on, I don't know if your question could be answered.

In any case, another writer's success or failure with their work doesn't have any effect on your attempts to publish/sell your work. All you can do is come up with your best without focusing on which is supposedly easier to sell.

Phaeal
10-25-2011, 05:43 PM
I'd say there are more moving parts to getting a screenplay produced. But the odds are so high against either that you just have to keep throwing your hat into the ring or rings of your choice. Once you've made that hat as pretty as possible, of course.

Now, I'd say that self-pubbing a novel is way easier than making your own movie. Whether there's a huge difference between racking up sales for that self-pubbed novel and getting distribution for that self-filmed movie, I don't know.

shaldna
10-25-2011, 06:20 PM
What's easier nowadays, getting a novel published, or getting a screenplay produced? Any experiences, informed opinions, etc.


The odds of getting a screenplay produced are incredibly low.

A studio might want your script, and might well pay handsomely for it, but the chances are that they might never make the movie, and, even if they do, it will be rewritten so many times and by so many other people that it might not look much like your original script at all.

Jamesaritchie
10-25-2011, 08:15 PM
Neither is really easy, but it's infinitely "easier" for a new writer to sell a novel to a major publisher than it is to sell a screenplay to anyone who matters. Always has been, and nothing has changed.

It's largely a matter of numbers. Compared to the number of novels published, very, very, very few movies are made each year. Even if you count made for TV/Cable and straight to DVD movies, the number is extremely limited.

The numbers are even worse for unpublished writers. A pretty fair number of unpublished writers manage to sell novels each year, even to major publishers. The same isn't true for screenplays.

And while novels are pretty much 100% about how well you write, screenplays are also about who you know and where you live.

Brukaviador
10-25-2011, 09:07 PM
I can't remember how many novels are released each year, several thousand I think, but I'm sure the number of movies is under 400. So definitely screenplays are tougher because there's a much smaller market to buy them.

Due to the money involved, there's also more competition and tighter standards (meaning following a formula; not necessarily being better quality). All the "big dream" writers tend to focus on screenplays because they're after the million dollar payouts, and there's a lot of them. Dreamers, not payouts.

rainsmom
10-25-2011, 10:10 PM
Screenplays are much, much, much harder. Lots of scripts are optioned for low amounts of money (or sometimes no money, though I've never understood why a writer would agree to that). A much lower number are purchased. And a minuscule number are produced. Your chances of having your script purchased go up dramatically if you're already a working screenwriter and you live in LA.

Screenwriting is about rewriting. A script is purchased, and then new writers are brought in. The director has a vision. The producers have a vision. Changes are massive. The money for writers in Hollywood is NOT in producing original screenplays. Instead, it's in being hired to rewrite purchased screenplays, which is why it's so critical to live in LA. You have to be an insider. You have to go to meetings and schmooze and work on projects you don't give a shit about and then get fired from the projects when the next guy brought in has a different vision.

What you don't do is write a screenplay, get an agent like you do a book agent, and then wait for the agent to sell it. That just isn't how it's done in LA, especially for new writers.

Selling a novel is infinitely easier. The market is MUCH larger, and you will have MUCH more control over the final product. Even though there's a editor and a publisher, it is still your story and vision. Best case scenario, you can write the novel and then have it optioned for film. There's a tiny, tiny, tiny chance you could work on the screenplay, but don't count on it. And don't expect creative input. And don't be surprised when your sweet coming of age story has aliens and explosions added to it.

Celia Cyanide
10-25-2011, 10:15 PM
Although neither one is what you would call "easy," publishers are looking for new writers, while Hollywood isn't.

Jamesaritchie
10-25-2011, 10:34 PM
You also have to take into account that of those few movies that do get made, not all that many come from original screenplays. Most are made from bestselling novels, or they're sequels, or they're remakes. New writers are not going to get these gigs.

rainsmom
10-26-2011, 02:24 AM
You also have to take into account that of those few movies that do get made, not all that many come from original screenplays. Most are made from bestselling novels, or they're sequels, or they're remakes. New writers are not going to get these gigs.
Or they were scripts requested by someone in Power. Newbies don't get those gigs either.

Drachen Jager
10-26-2011, 02:40 AM
Accomplished Hollywood writers with a track-record of hit films have hit and miss records for getting material made into films.

rainsmom
10-26-2011, 04:07 AM
What's easier: selling a screenplay or a novel? (http://melissa-c-alexander.com/2011/10/which-is-easier-selling-a-screenplay-or-a-novel/)
.

Ken
10-26-2011, 03:21 PM
... it's cool that getting a book pub'd is "easier."
Another cool thing that's been mentioned is that books can get made into films.
Films, on the other hand, don't get made into books as far as I know.
Maybe that happens, occasionally, but I'm guessing it's fairly rare.
So for writers it's a win-win situation for the lucky few.

Jamesaritchie
10-26-2011, 08:58 PM
Or they were scripts requested by someone in Power. Newbies don't get those gigs either.

True. Very true.

Libbie
10-27-2011, 06:52 AM
You could probably determine that one is statistically and technically easier than the other, but that doesn't mean either is actually easy.