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A Brief Explanation of Film Options
"OMG, you should totally turn this into a movie!"
Oh, if only authors had that power. Sadly, though, that isn't exactly how it works. In 2009 the film rights to my debut novel THE DUFF were optioned. Instantly I got a lot of emails and tweets that read something like this:
"OMG! So when is the movie coming out? Who are they casting?"
But that's not how it works, either.
When a film is "optioned" there is no guarantee it'll be made. Basically, an "option" is just that - a studio or producer or director or whatever buys the option to make the film. In other words, they pay a certain amount of money (it can range from a tiny amount to a ton of money - usually it's tiny, though) to ensure that they and only they have the right to make the film for a certain amount of time. If they haven't made the film by the time the option expires, they can either re-option or lose the rights.
Now you're probably wondering about that "tiny" amount of money for the option and thinking, "But I thought authors get paid a lot when their books become movies." While " a lot" is relative and amounts vary, most authors do get paid more once the film goes into production. Which may happen right away or . . . never.
I know. It's kind of complicated, but that's show biz!
Now, I'm going to go watch the Hunger Games Trailer again. For the millionth time. Let's hope some more kick-ass YA books like this get optioned! And then turned into kick-ass films!
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