That's what Stephen Marro and his Arrested Development Production Company in New York hired me to do for his film, Broadway's Finest. He had a terrific story, but the dialogue, pacing and characterization needed help. That project started in development - which means all the work that goes into financing, producing, and marketing a film - about fifteen years ago and took this long to find its way to the screen. The original working title was Arrested Development, but then the television series came along, so he changed the film's title. Here is the trailer for the film.
I first met Stephen when he was interested in directing a screenplay I had written, and later worked with him on three scripts on which we share screenwriting credits. For two of those, I went to New York and spent several days with him developing the scripts. He had the basic ideas, some of the characters, and some of the scenes, and together we fleshed out the rest of the stories. Then I came home and wrote the first drafts of the scripts. Those were sent back to him for his input, then I did the final formatting and proofing. If "It Doesn't Take a Hero" and "Canned Goods" ever find their way to the big screen, I will get screen credits because my contribution to the scripts was more than doctoring.
The reason I don't have a screenwriting credit for Broadway's Finest is because under the Writers Guild of America screenwriting credit system, a screenwriter must contribute more than 50 percent of an original screenplay or 33 percent of an adaptation to receive credit. So no screen credit for me. But I did have fun watching the film with my son not long ago and recognizing some of the lines of dialogue that were mine.
My first screenplay was "A Question of Honor", which is the project I had in development many moons ago and was my introduction to Stephen. It was a semi-finalist at Sundance, and even being a semi-finalist there gives one good scriptwriting creds. A few years later I placed as a semi-finalist at the Chesterfield with the adaptation of my mystery, Open Season.
If you would like to try adapting one of your stories to a script, check out the tutorial that Shon Bacon posted here yesterday - Book to Screen: Seeing Your Book as a Visual Story.
Have you adapted a story to a script? Got some tips to share for those just starting out?
|Posted by Maryann Miller - novelist, editor and sometimes actress. Her most recent book releases are Doubletake and Boxes For Beds, both mysteries that are available for Kindle and in paper. Stalking Season is the second book in the Seasons Mystery Series, also now available as an e-book, along with Open Season, the first book in the series. To check her editing rates visit her website. When not working, Maryann likes to take her dog for a walk and work outside on her little ranch in East Texas .|