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SPF-052: When Hollywood Comes Calling – with Cal Moriarty, Screenwriter and Novelist

Let’s dream a little: a Hollywood producer has called and wants to turn your book into a blockbuster. What exactly do you do next? In today’s episode, ex-private eye, crime novelist and screenwriter, Cal Moriarty, explains how to prepare for such an eventuality and how to navigate the challenges that follow.

From Private Eye to Hollywood
Cal’s own career journey is inspiring. In this episode, listen to her tell the engaging story of her road to success as a novelist and screenwriter with years spent working in Hollywood now being put to very good use.

The Hollywood Rules for Screenwriters
Film-making is a business. Hollywood has its ways of doing things, and successful writers will learn and understand the “rules,” follow them and harness them to achieve success. Cal unravels the logic behind some of these rules and how to play by them in order to secure that life-changing deal.

What are the differences between a novel and a screenplay?
“They are buying the story, not the words.” Cal Moriarty talks about the differences between novels and screenplays and what the process of turning a book into a film script involves. Find out why most movie producers don’t want authors to write their own screenplays – and how you can change their minds and get yourself the job as screenwriter for the film adaptation of your book.

Getting paid for a film option
You get the call that a producer wants the film option for your book. What should you expect in terms of being paid upfront and when the film gets made and is released? What kind of deals should you say “no” to? Cal discusses good deals, bad deals and percentages. Don’t sign anything until you’ve heard this episode!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:25] Introduction to this episode about thinking big – Hollywood big.
  • [5:17] Introduction of today’s guest, Cal Moriarty, private eye and crime mystery writer.
  • [10:18] Cal Moriarty’s transition from private eye to Hollywood
  • [19:12] Hollywood’s rules for screenwriting
  • [25:22] Difference in writing styles between books and screenplays.
  • [32:33] Some can’t do the work of cutting their novel down to a screenplay. Others can. How to get your novel out of your head and approach it as a screenwriter. It is a lot of dialog and many writers don’t like the dialog aspect.
  • [34:36] How screenwriting skills can enhance your novel writing.
  • [40:47] When to say “yes” and “no” to an option offer.
  • [46:54] Cal Moriarty’s plans for self-publishing her next novel, The First Detective.
  • [52:22] Concluding comments.

Resources & Links Mentioned In This Episode

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