Material to screen is one of the industry’s top topics. The theory that stories successful in another medium prequalifies them, in the minds of filmmakers, to being a commercially successful film adaptations. What is the key to finding compelling source material and turning it into a screen success?
While the appeal of literary adaptations remains strong, graphic novels, video games, press articles and even podcasts continue to grow in importance; attracting talent and often representing big commercial potential, marking a clear trend for the future. Source material for screen no longer is limited to novels and short stories.
Experts discuss the opportunities and challenges presented by adapting source material to the screen and share their experiences of successful projects.
Speakers: Hilary Salmon; Rhidian Brook; Julian Friedmann, Blake Friedmann
Hosted by Tony Morris, Swan Turton
About the Speakers:
I started writing fiction in my mid-twenties. I was working as a copywriter when I was struck down with a post-viral condition. I was unable to return to work for two years but during that time I started writing fiction: short stories and a novel.
A success in a Time Out short story competition gave me the confidence to write some more. I eventually returned to the day job but I kept going with the stories and had some published in magazines including The New Statesman, Paris Review and broadcast on BBC Radio’s Short Story. I finished the novel and it was published in 1996 by Harper Collins as The Testimony Of Taliesin Jones. It won three prizes including the 1997 Somerset Maugham Award and, a couple of years later, was made into a film starring Jonathan Pryce.
I wrote a second novel, Jesus And The Adman, published in 1999, and had thoughts of giving up the day job to write novels and screenplays full time. In 2004 I was commissioned to write a drama – Mr Harvey Lights A Candle – for BBC Television. It was broadcast in 2005 and starred Timothy Spall.
I wrote for Silent Witness for two seasons before I was asked to write a book about the HIV/Aids pandemic for the Salvation Army. I made a 9-month journey, with my wife and two children, to Africa, India and China. I did broadcasts for the BBC World Service and Radio 4’s Thought For The Day – to which I had been a regular contributor since 2000. The book describing that journey – More Than Eyes Can See – was published in 2007.
I returned to scripts, writing a factual drama Atlantis for BBC1 in 2008. I then wrote a feature – Africa United – for Pathe’ that was released 2010. In 2011, Scott Free commissioned a script based on my grandfather’s experiences in postwar Germany. A year later I wrote the novel of the same story. The Aftermath was published in the UK by Penguin in 2013 and has been translated into 25 languages. The film based on the novel and starring Keira Knightley was released 2019. My latest novel – The Killing of Butterfly Joe – was inspired by my time selling butterflies in glass cases in the US. It was published March 2018 by Picador.
A collection of my Thought For The Days from the last 20 years, entitled Godbothering, will be published by SPCK March 2020.
Until earlier this year Hilary Salmon was Head of Drama for BBC Studios, the commercial production arm of the BBC where she had a successful career as producer and Executive Producer on a range of quality dramas.
During her time at the BBC Hilary produced multi-award-winning shows such as Criminal Justice and Three Girls both of which sparked national conversations as well as a range of successful returning shows such as Silk, Silent Witness, Our Girl and Luther.
Most recently Hilary was responsible for the Tom Rob Smith drama Motherfatherson and Gaby Hull’s We Hunt Together. In January Hilary left the BBC to set up The Lighthouse, a drama-producing indie part-funded by Sky Studios.
Julian represents script writers across a broad range of genres and formats. He started as an editor for two academic publishers in the early 1970s before setting up his own publishing company. I set up a literary agency in 1976, later merging with Carole Blake to establish Blake Friedmann.
Julian has lectured all over the world on the business of scriptwriting and has published a book called HOW TO MAKE MONEY SCRIPTWRITING: His second book – THE INSIDER’S GUIDE TO WRITING FOR TELEVISION – is co-written with Christopher Walker.
Julian designed and ran a European Union MEDIA Programme ‘PILOTS’ to train writers, script editors and producers to develop long running series, and edited two volumes called WRITING LONG-RUNNING TELEVISION SERIES and was the Publisher and Editor of Europe’s leading scriptwriting magazine, SCRIPTWRITER. He is the Senior Advisor to the London Screenwriters’ Festival, and am also acting as an Executive Producer on several feature films.
Julian was born in South Africa in 1944 and was thrown out of LSE while doing a PhD because he didn’t tell them he also had a full-time job in publishing.
About the Host:
Tony Morris has more than 40 years’ experience as a practising lawyer and is a consultant to London firm, Swan Turton LLP.
Tony’s clients primarily operate in the film, television and music industries – in the UK and also in the USA, Europe and elsewhere. He is retained by independent producers of a broad range of projects including, drama/drama series, comedy, horror/thriller animation, documentaries, music programming.
He advises on all legal aspects of the development, production and exploitation of audio-visual works in all media and across all streaming platforms. Tony also advises sales agents and distributors and individual writers, directors, composers, musicians and other creatives. He is regularly advises lawyers in other jurisdictions on the English law aspects of their clients’ projects.
Tony has lectured on the legal aspects of film since 1997, most recently for the Raindance, the National Film & Television School, University of Portsmouth and Sheffield Hallam University. Tony has published dozens of articles and commentaries and is the author of ‘The Filmmakers’ Legal Guide’ now in its second edition.
This Panel discussion is part of the Raindance Film Festival Industry Programme: Independent Film Beyond 2020. To access all panels purchase the UK All Access or International All Access Pass from £14.99.