I have a post up on my publisher’s blog today about what exactly happens when a book is optioned for TV. I’m so grateful to the team at Aladdin Mix for all of their support!
My Book Was Made Into a Pilot TV Episode!
In 2010 my first book JUST ADD MAGIC was published by Simon & Schuster. Now, that same book is being launched as a TV pilot by Amazon Studios! I am just a weee bit excited. *back flips*
I get asked this question a lot: What happens exactly when a book is optioned for TV?
Since I had the same question a few months ago, I thought I’d open the book on how the process worked for me:
1. Agent: A film agent represented me, made the pitch and brokered my deal. Most authors likely have a literary agent who would sub contract with a film agent for TV opportunities.
As part of the deal terms, my agent negotiated for me to be a “consultant”. As a consultant, I participated in scriptwriter selections and script reviews.
2. Scriptwriter selection: Listening to the writer pitches via Skype was very very cool. Amazon had narrowed it down to two whose credentials I reviewed carefully in advance. With credentials like Disney, Nickelodeon or ABC Family hits to their name, I was instantly wow-ed.
The format of the pitch went something like this:
• Intro to the writers and their backgrounds,
• Writers’ impressions of the story/character/setting,
• Writers’ ideas to break the novel up episodically,
• Writer’ thoughts on potentially evolving the story and characters over the course of a season.
I knew which writers’ visions resonated for me, but I wasn’t confident in my own judgment since this was all new to me. I mean, what if I said the wrong thing? So mostly I listened, but then I was asked my opinion…Yikes! I very carefully crafted my response and was pleasantly surprised that the Amazon team was on the same page. Yay!
3. The script: In the months ahead I saw multiple drafts of the script and provided comments. I was fortunate that the writing team shared my vision and sense of humor – humor was super important to me.
Once the script was finalized, it went up the studio’s chains and ladders seeking a “green light” – the studio’s decision to develop the pilot.
4. Casting: Casting seemed like a wave of a magic wand to me. Surely there were lots of moving parts and pieces that I wasn’t privy to. I received links to photos then audition tapes. The tapes really gave me a feel for how the characters could portray the characters. And the cast in this pilot is wonderful, like, amazing.
Olivia Sanabia (Kelly Quinn) is not only beautiful and talented, but has a sweetness that you cannot help but instantly LOVE.
Abby Donnelly (Darbie O’Brien) is an absolute hoot who captures Darbie’s quirkiness perfectly.
Aubrey Miller (Hannah Hernandez) is the cutest thing you can imagine. And she totally “gets” Hannah. I try to catch Aubrey on Nickelodeon’s “Ricky, Nicky, Dicky and Dawn.”
Brady Reiter plays Charlotte Barney. I mean this girl could possibly BE Charlotte Barney. She nailed it. Nailed it! I was so psyched to see Brady on Nickelodeon’s “100 Things to do Before High School.”
And just two seconds ago my eleven year old called me in to our TV room, “Mom, come see. It’s Senora Perez!” Sure enough there was Amy Hill on Disney’s “Jessie.”
5. Filming: Amazon invited me to LA for the filming. It was an awesome experience to see all of the people, planning and equipment involved to transform something from my head to the screen.