- Posted by Johanna on June 2, 2011 at 4:35 pm
- Category: LinkBlogging
I found this blog by an aspiring screenwriter, who’s documenting her attempt to break into the business, rather disturbing for what it suggests about how comics are viewed by other media and how movie writers are viewed. (Please note that I’m not attacking the blog writer, who seems like her heart is in the right place, but the advice she’s been given.)
I am a screenwriter who is exploring the graphic novel realm, with very little prior exposure to graphic novels. Follow my adventure, as I learn about the art form and adapt one of my screenplays into a graphic novel.
Why am I doing this, you may wonder? I finally have a manager, which is a very exciting, big step. But I need an agent, too, and my manager has worked with several. She followed her usual procedure; she called a few of them to tell them about me, and expected one of them to pick me up as a client, too. It always worked before. But this time, all of them said the same thing: in the screenwriting market of today, it’s not enough to be a solid screenwriter to break into the business, a writer has to have something else going on –- a book deal, a graphic novel, a popular blog…
I have never been a big reader of graphic novels, but I do have a screenplay with a strong visual story that will make a great graphic novel. […] I’ve ordered some books and started reading graphic novels and books about them.
It disturbs me that movie people consider a screenplay a suitable basis for a comic. Ideally, one would write for the format one was using, not assume that visual formats were interchangeable. I’m also concerned that aspiring creators would be told to make their name elsewhere, then come back — that’s been the case in comics for a while, where it’s a lot easier to break in if you’ve worked as a TV scripter, a movie assistant, a rock star, or an actor, and I don’t think it’s been a net win for the medium.
I believe that an agent would say that, that they wanted someone who’s built a promotion hook to pull them out of the pack, but I can’t help wondering where this all ends up. If you need to make a comic to become a screenwriter, and you need to work in Hollywood to be picked to work on comics, isn’t it all rather Ouroborean?
Update: For another take, story editor Tim Stout answers the question “Could my screenplay make a good graphic novel?”