Posts Tagged ‘David Farland’

Corrupting the Artist Within You, by David Farland

David Farland

David Farland

(From David Farland’s Daily Kick in the Pants) Selfish Art

There is a problem with the arts, one that I have not addressed, and it is this: If you have the fortune (or misfortune) of being a gifted artist, it can corrupt you.

If you are a gifted artist, people will tend to be moved by your art. They will praise you in private letters, offer you awards, present you with valuable gifts, fawn over you, seek to seduce you, and so on, and this can corrupt and destroy you.

It starts innocently enough with praise. Every author that I know of feeds on praise to some extent. We need praise. I was fascinated a few months back to learn that the single biggest factor to predicting longevity is the “approbation of our peers.” When others praise us consistently and admire our efforts, it reduces the harmful stress in our lives and not only allows us to perform at our peak, but also lengthens our years.

But praise is a fickle thing, and few artists have a career where they are praised and receive awards on a regular basis. I have known authors who received early praise to grouse when a competing author receives a rave review, wins an award, or hits high on the bestseller list. Such authors become ravaged by jealousy and despair, to the point where such authors have been known to fall into alcoholism, drug addiction, or suffer from suicidal tendencies.

Even worse, praise is so often insincere. It costs nothing to give, and so has little real value.

Other authors buy into the belief that their talent makes them inherently superior to others, so that they somehow exist in an elevated realm above the rest of humanity, and feel entitled to favor. I was recently speaking to an author who was hoping to get an endowment from a wealthy patron. I wondered, “Have you ever considered actually working for your money? It’s not very hard to make, if you work for it.” I actually suggested a couple of ways for her to make the money she wanted—all of which per promptly rejected.

When authors become puffed up in pride, they often become demeaning or dismissive of others, and I know of authors who love to ridicule and condemn their competitors in an effort to boost their own reputation. Such authors often treat the unwashed masses with contempt, having no patience with waiters, hoteliers, or similar “little people.” Very often, such authors blind themselves to the strengths and talents of others to the point that they look doubly foolish.

This sense of entitlement often is manifested in sexual aggression. I’ve known several male authors who could not be trusted to enter into an elevator with a pretty girl who was alone. Back during the 19th Century, authors of genius tended to die from social disease so often that it became cliché.

In short, talented artists may create wondrous things but become pathetic, miserable, self-destructive people. I’m reminded by this again and again when I read about people like Poe, Michelangelo, Paganini, Mozart, and most lately Tolstoy. more »

Fostering Multiple Revenue Streams, by David Farland

David Farland

David Farland

(From David Farland’s Daily Kick in the Pants)

You probably know that I’ve trained a lot of successful authors over the years. I was listening to some of them teaching at a writing seminar last week, and it struck me that those authors who have succeeded best in this field are those who learned one of my first lessons best: Foster Multiple Revenue Streams.

What does this mean? Well, many authors, the ones who fail, typically publish a novel and sell the North American rights to it, then try to write another novel and do the same, again and again and again. Eventually something happens and their revenue stream gets blocked—either they can’t deliver a manuscript on time, or a publisher squeezes them in harsh negotiations, and the author suddenly runs out of money and has to go back to work in another field.

But successful authors look for ways to create several revenue streams. Very often, this means that the author might write in two different fields. For example, I write adult fantasy and middle grade books. If one revenue stream gets blocked, I’ve always got another.

You can have all sorts of revenue streams. For example, selling foreign rights can be very lucrative. Many authors who don’t make a lot of money in the United States, for example, might be very popular in other countries—the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, and so on. I’ve known authors who don’t even publish in the United States anymore, but who make a living on foreign sales.

Authors can make money in a host of other ways—through speaking fees, by teaching, by writing in different mediums (for example, if you’re writing a novel about an entomologist, you might do some research on ants, and write articles for magazines on the topic in order to gain some expertise in the field).

So each year, I keep track of my anticipated revenue sources. Here are my sources for the coming year:

1. Screenplay sale for Runelords. (I’ve been approached by a producer to write the screenplay and put the film into production.) more »

Turning Your Novel into a Screenplay, by David Farland

David Farland

David Farland

(From David Farland’s Daily Kick in the Pants)

Recently I’ve been hired to turn my first Runelords novel into a screenplay. I’m nearly finished with the last book in the series, and I want to complete that first, but it’s not too soon to begin thinking about the challenge—and it is a challenge. Always remember that the book is not the movie. They’re different mediums. A book is long enough so that you normally can’t just remove the excess description and still have a workable movie. You need to simplify the plot—not all of it, just the right parts.

So as I prepare to write the Runelords screenplay, I think I should go over the history of the project, first, so that you can understand why I want to take on the challenge.

Many of you know that I began writing the book in 1996, or at least began plotting it then. I plotted the novel knowing that it had excellent potential as a film and videogame franchise, so I made sure that as I plotted it, I kept the special effects budgets fairly inexpensive (it’s easy to write a novel that would cost a billion dollars to make into a movie), and I paid attention to creating a story that I would want to see as a movie.

As the books began hitting the New York Times bestseller list, interest in them heated up. In 2001 I was invited to take a trip to China with some movie producers to see about filming the movies there, and I took another trip in 2002. I decided against working in China at the time, but began a development company in 2002 and helped raise millions of dollars to create the movie. more »

Evaluating the Value of Your Movie Option, by David Farland

David Farland

David Farland

(From David Farland’s Daily Kick in the Pants—Making the Runelords Movie)

So let’s say that you’ve written a short story or a novel, and a producer comes along and wants to buy your movie option. How much is it worth?

That’s a good question. Right now I’m negotiating a large contract. When I first spoke to one producer, he was surprised that I’d ask for so much for the movie rights to a book (we’re into seven figures). But when I explained the reasoning behind the valuation method, he said, “You’re absolutely right. This property is worth millions—probably more than you’re asking for—, and I’m happy to sign.”

So you, as an author you want as much as you can reasonably get. The producer will of course will want to negotiate as good a deal as he can get. There will almost always be some dickering.

There are a lot of complexities to this, but here are some thoughts. Please note that these method of evaluation a price aren’t cumulative. You choose only one method.

1) In Hollywood, an “idea” for a motion picture is worth a minimum of about $25,000. I know this because a few years ago I met a writer who went to studios and pitched one-line concepts. If the studio liked the concept, “A story about a homeless man who lives under the Statue of Liberty,” they’d pay him $25,000. Now, this was eight years ago when I met the pitch artist, so if you adjust for inflation, you might be able to get that raised a bit.

This number gives you a minimum. If you’re a no-name author who just sold a short story, and the producer wants to base a movie on your story idea, but this is going to be a very low-budget production, then this gives you the floor amount for just about any property. more »

How Hollywood Decides to Make Your Book Into a Movie, by David Farland

By David Farland

(From David Farland’s Daily Kick in the Pants—Making the Runelords Movie)

When a new writer puts out a book, you’ll often hear of immediate movie interest. I had interest in NIGHTINGALE, my most recent novel, before the book was ever released, for example.

This all sounds exciting, especially to a new author. You’ve just sold your first young adult novel, a big studio decides to option it, and suddenly you’re getting paid $60,000 per year “for nothing.”

Does this mean that a movie will be made based on your book? Possibly. If your book gets optioned at that price, there’s about a 1/10 chance. So what’s the deciding factor?

Fans. It’s all about the fans.

If your newly re-leased book comes out, and the sales are strong. That’s great. But you need about three to five million fans before the studios will decide that it’s a good bet. They want to feel assured that there are real customers out there, willing to pay for the opportunity to see this film. So they buy an option, tie up the rights, and wait. Of course, they buy rights for several other books, too. That way, no matter which horse is winning the race, they can jump on it’s back. more »

Reading in the Future, Guest Blog by New York Times Best Seller, David Farland

Friends I am taking a short but necessary hiatus (all work I promise) to finish two works in progress, Bone Stalker and Celeste, Eyes of the Demon. I’m in a bit of deadline crunch and need to focus. But…The Dark Side of Carthage Falls will continue! I promise!!! The series will pick back up where we left off Jan 1st (Now I know that for some of you this is not a good day, but think about this…when you come out of that New Years Eve induced coma a fun story will be waiting for you!). This week and next, and the week of New Years Eve, I will posting guest blogs and re-posting earlier chapters of The Dark Side…for my newcomer friends. My sincerest apologies and gratitude for your friendship! MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

IN THE MEANTIME–ENJOY this excellent guest blog from my friend DAVID FARLAND. He is a man of remarkable insight, and author of most excellent fiction and fantasy. His latest work Nightingale is now available. I’m sure that many of you have read his works…so enjoy his article! Thanks David!

Reading in the Future

Imagine that you put on your “reading glasses.”  The glasses are dark, fitted with lasers and high-quality stereo earbuds, so that as you put them on, your entire field of vision is captured.  A laser inside the glasses flashes a novel title on the interior surface of your eye.

Of course, the book you see is my book (why not, it’s my fantasy). The letters start small, off in the distance and they quickly draw closer to you, but they don’t stop, they wash right over you and just when it seems they’re all around you, they explode in a burst of light, “Nightingale, by David Farland.”  You can hardly imagine what life was like before 3D. As soon as you read the last word, a laser with a computer link that tracks your eye movement cues the background music, and images begin to flash in your eye—a holographic video-clip of the character of Bron, as an infant, being abandoned outside the door of a cheap hotel in the Utah desert.  The camera pans up to the face of his mother, Sommer, bitter and broken, with tears in her eyes.  We flash to the prologue, where Sommer runs through a forest at night, her breathing deep, while dogs snarl and bark as they give pursuit.  Fireflies rise up around her. more »

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