1. KP Williams
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    KP Williams Contributing Member

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    What if my story is a movie first?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by KP Williams, Aug 6, 2010.

    Long story short, I've been considering doing some amateur film making, turning my stories into movies. But I still want the stories published. If I turn them into movies and make them publicly available, would a publisher still accept them? I'd like to think so, since movies are not the same as novels, but they'd still be the same stories. Just in a different format.

    Also, a bonus question just for future reference. If I were to decide to make an amateur film based on someone else's work, would that require permission even though the original author would be named and I would be making zero profit?
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    With respect to you second question, yes you would still need the permission of the copyright owner on whose work you are basing the film.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes, that's true... very true!... the only exception is if it falls under the fair use exception to the copyright laws, by being meant for educational purposes, or other allowed uses... check that out here: www.copyright.gov

    But I still want the stories published. If I turn them into movies and make them publicly available, would a publisher still accept them? I'd like to think so, since movies are not the same as novels, but they'd still be the same stories. Just in a different format.

    as for:
    first of all, are you a feature film producer?... if not, how are you going to 'turn them into movies and make them publicly available?...

    secondly, movies that are then novelized are only commercially viable if the movies had been box office dynamite... and even then, the novelized versions are never really seen as literary efforts or successes, as they only sell to fans of the movies...
     
  4. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Just being meant for educational purposes alone won't necessarily make it fair use. That's only one prong of the test. If someone adapts an entire work to a motion picture, I wouldn't want to be in their shoes arguing fair use, because I think they'd very likely lose, even if they could argue it was educational.
     
  5. KP Williams
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    KP Williams Contributing Member

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    To the first, as I said, it would be completely amateur. I know someone's eyes are probably rolling right now, but amateur is not synonymous with bad. There are far too many quality amateur films for that to be true. As for making it publicly available, I'm thinking Youtube, my own website, etc. Any publicity would have to be due to my own efforts.

    To the second, I think there's a slight misunderstanding. The novel isn't being written to ride the wave of any hypothetical popularity the movie might create. If anything, it would be closer to the other way around. What I'm asking is that if I work on the novel and the movie at the same time, and the movie is completed first, would releasing it interfere with getting the novel published. I'm wondering if a publisher would take on a story that's already out there in another form.
     
  6. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    What if the author, her/himself is considering having a movie made of 'THEIR STORY' and maybe the author needs to make money out of it.
    You will need authors permission, and rightly so.
     
  7. John Horace
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    John Horace Member

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    Probably, no one here knows the answer to your questions friend. I don't think any of us have had experience producing movies and novels at the same time. I wouldn't trust any answer you get from anyone on this forum. It's likely to be far off the mark.

    You'd be better off asking a magazine columnist who knows people in the publishing industry, or is positioned to be able to find out, in my opinion.
     
  8. Anonymouse33
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    Anonymouse33 Member

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    You'd have to have permission, I'm sure. I know if I were the author and someone made a movie based on my book, with my plot line and my characters without my permission, I'd be livid.
     
  9. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Actually as long as he isn't wanting money in turn. Then publicly available is about as easy uploading it to youtube, veoh, dailymotion, megavideo, and any number of video hosting sites.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    What author will want his or her book turned into a free short movie? Why would he or she hand over film rights for free?
     
  11. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I was just answering how someone could make it publicly available. Not the why. Why someone would do that I don't know. For the fun of sharing the story in a different format? Because it would make for an interesting side project. Because they are not overly concerned about the film rights and just want to do it? Because they are so egotistical that they truly believe the world would be a better place because of it? while I say that as an extreme I wouldn't put it past some people.

    But in the end I would be the wrong person to ask the Why. Thats a question best asked to the author themselves.
     
  12. Anonymouse33
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    Anonymouse33 Member

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    Whether it's a short youtube movie or a feature film, I would think that it would be copyright infringement none the less. Would it not? To publically post something you have no rights to.
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The point is, it's unlikely any author would give permission, especially if there is no money to be made from it. As it is, authors tend to be reluctant to hand over their "baby" without solid assurances that the movie do justice to the author's writing. And permission is absolutely necessary.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    and that's the ironclad bottom line!

    those of you who're asking about all of this should study up on the copyright laws:
    www.copyright.gov
     
  15. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hmm. We were talking about 2 different things. I was talking about the author themselves making their story into a movie themselves. I was talking about the first question in the post about how they wanted to turn their own stories into a movie and how someone could make it available.

    But I should have paid closer attention :redface:
    Thinking back I realized I had over looked a segment of Mammamaia's post.
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    This part of the original post was what I was primarily responding to.
     
  17. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Being as you have no faith in the ability of the people on this site to answer such a simple question, then why are you a member?
    I find that hard to understand.

    Speaking as a writer I believe that we should respect fellow authors and acknowledge their right to their copyright.
     
  18. Anonymouse33
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    Anonymouse33 Member

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    What's not to trust? It's common knowledge. If it's not your work, you need to ask permission.
     
  19. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    while some [or even most] here may not know much about such matters, a few of us do... regardless, such a blanket assumption is foolish, not to mention disrespectful of your fellow members...

    and that's beyond foolish, as well as putting yourself in the 'far off the mark' category... magazine columnists are not necessarily legal experts and certainly wouldn't take the time to 'find out' for those who are too lazy to find out for themselves by simply going to the uspto website... or consulting a literary attorney, which is what you should have advised, to be at all helpful...
     
  20. Community
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    Yes you would still need permission even if it is non-profit. The exception would be if you made it as a parody of the work and changed enough of the original content so that it was obvious a parody and not a derivative.
     

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