Hollywood Versus The Author
Rare Bird Books
September 18, 2018
Available in: Audio, e-Book, Trade Size
It’s no secret that authors have a love-hate relationship with Hollywood. The oft-repeated cliché that “the book was better than the movie” holds true for more reasons than the average reader will ever know. When asked about selling their book rights to Hollywood authors like to joke that they drive their manuscripts to the border of Arizona and California and toss them over the fence, driving back the way they came at breakneck speed. This is probably because Hollywood just doesn’t “get it.” Its vision for the film or TV series rarely seems to match the vision of the author. And for those rare individuals who’ve had the fortune of sitting across the desk from one of the myriad, interchangeable development execs praising the brilliance of their work while ticking off a never-ending list of notes for the rewrite, the pros of pitching their work to Hollywood rarely outweigh the cons.
Stephen Jay Schwartz has sat on both sides of that desk—first as the Director of Development for film director Wolfgang Petersen, then as a screenwriter and author pitching his work to the film and television industry. He’s seen all sides of what is known in this small community as “Development Hell.” The process is both amusing and heartbreaking. Most authors whose work contains a modicum of commercial potential eventually find themselves in “the room” taking a shot at seeing their creations re-visualized by agents, producers or development executives. What they often discover is that their audience is younger and less worldly as themselves. What passes for “story notes” is often a mishmash of vaguely connected ideas intended to put the producer’s personal stamp on the project.
Hollywood Versus The Author is a collection of non-fiction anecdotes by authors who’ve had the pleasure of experiencing the development room firsthand—some who have successfully managed to straddle the two worlds, seeing their works morph into the kinds of feature films and TV shows that make them proud, and others who stepped blindsided into that room after selling their first or second novels. All the stories in this collection illustrate the great divide between the world of literature and the big or small screen. They underscore the insanity of every crazy thing you’ve ever heard about Hollywood. For insiders and outsiders alike, Hollywood Versus The Author delivers the goods.
I’m the Thriller Award-winning and Bram Stoker and Anthony Award-nominated author of the Amazon bestselling crime and supernatural thrillers The Harrowing,The Price, Book of Shadows, The Unseen, The Space Between, and the Thriller Award-nominated Huntress/FBI thriller series: Huntress Moon, Blood Moon, Cold Moon, Bitter Moon, and Hunger Moon. The New York Times Book Review has called me “a daughter of Mary Shelley” and my novels “some of the most original and freshly unnerving work in the genre.” I’m a California native and a graduate of U.C. Berkeley, where I majored in theater and minored in everything that Berkeley has a reputation for. After college I moved to Los Angeles, where I’ve made an interesting living doing novel adaptations and selling original thriller scripts to various Hollywood studios. In my stories I like to cross the possibility of the supernatural with very real life explanations for any strangeness going on, and base the action squarely in fact. The Unseen is based on real paranormal research conducted at the Duke University parapsychology lab, and Book of Shadows teams a Boston homicide detective and a practicing Salem witch in a race to solve what may be a Satanic killing. The Space Between, is an edgy supernatural YA about a troubled high school girl who is having dreams of a terrible massacre at her school, and becomes convinced that she can prevent the shooting if she can unravel the dream. I also have written paranormal romance (The Shifters,Keeper of the Shadows) and the non-fiction workbooks Screenwriting Tricks for Authors and Writing Love, based on my internationally acclaimed workshops and blog. I live in Los Angeles and in Scotland, with Scottish crime author Craig Robertson. When I’m not writing I dance: jazz, ballet, salsa, Lindy, swing — I do it all, every chance I get.