Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Would My Book Make A Good Movie?

Another emailer asking me if I am doing anything about getting the book made into a movie, following the Italian docuemntary.  Because I think the story of Bessler would make a good movie, I did some research and this is what I found.

It seems that about half the movies made in Hollywood are adaptations of stories that originally appeared as novels, nonfiction books, comic books, short stories, plays, poems, or what have you. Hollywood studios and production companies aggressively scan major magazines and the lists of New York publishers looking for books and stories that would make good feature films or television shows. If Random House or Harper Collins or some other “major” house published your book, chances are that a professional “reader” has already read your book and written a short memo (called “coverage”) assessing its movie potential. 

If your book was self-published, or published by a smaller press or University press, it’s less likely that a Hollywood “reader” has assessed its movie potential. Hollywood is usually interested in making “big,” popular, commercial movies with wide appeal, so they scan publishers’ lists looking for big, popular commercial books. If your book received unfavorable coverage, or if it was published by an obscure press, then it is unlikely that merely submitting your book to Hollywood studios or talent agents will interest them in its movie potential. Someone (usually you or a producer) will have to show them the movie hidden within the pages of your book, if it’s there.

Given the above state of things I sought information on these professional "readers" and I found that they are difficult if not impossible to contact.  It's easier if you have a contact in the movie business but even then they may not see the story as a movie in the way you can.  Still the best way is the get a literary agen to sell it to a publisher and then let him approach Hollywood.

Ah well, back to the computer and the manuscript.



  1. Yes,John,..Depending on who you get to produce it.
    It must be someone who believes in your cause and believes that Bessler was not a fraud.
    The cherry on the cake would be to come forth with a working wheel at or around June 2012.
    They would then be able to vindicate Bessler and write him into history as one of the great pioneers of our time.

  2. John, you seem to be forgetting one minor detail.

    You DO NOT OWN the rights to the Bessler story! Those are historical facts and can NOT be copyrighted. Only the particular word descriptions of those facts in your book can be copyrighted.

    ANYONE, another author, tv script writer, or screenwriter, can come along, buy a copy of your book, read it and extract the public domain historical facts about Bessler and his inventions from it that you sweated for years to gather, and then proceed to write the script for a biographical movie on Bessler. In fact, they do not need to ask your permission to do so or even cite you or your book as the source of their information!

    If the producers of such a biographical film were really ethical, they might mention you in the film's credits and even give you a few pennies as a "consultant" on the film. Most won't.

    You must be VERY wary of "agents" that offer to "review" your work. Some have been known to secretly photostat an author's work, tell the author that he has no writing talent or that there is not enough "general" interest in the book's subject and thus the agent won't represent him, and then, perhaps years later, quietly sell the basic plot and characters to "insiders" in the film / television industry for a few quick dollars.

    When it comes to book publishing, the ONLY one you can fully trust is YOURSELF. I recommend that you self publish your work and not worry about having a film made out of it. If and when the secret of Bessler's wheels is finally found and begins to excite general interest in the man, then the films will come. Hopefully, we'll all be live to see that day!

  3. Thanks technoguy. I'm very familiar with the field of copyright having danced around it for several years myself. I take your warning on board but do not fear that I shall be taken advantage of.


  4. @ John Collins

    I’ve given some thought to your recent request for input regarding a potential title for your forthcoming updated biography of Bessler. Here are a few suggestions:

    Bessler’s Biography

    Johann Bessler: Genius.

    Johann Bessler: His life and Art

    Johann Bessler and His Gravity Wheel

    Johann Bessler: The Gravity Wheel’s Prime Mover

    The very remarkable Johann Bessler

    I’m not sure about the use of the words Perpetual Motion in your title. It’s a bit of a mixed blessing, as I know only too well! Yes it grabs attention, but the one thing everyone ‘knows’ about it is that it is impossible, and so people may tend to dismiss your book as the work of a fruitcake.

    As you say, a lot depends on what happens between now and when you are ready to publish.


  5. Thanks for the suggestions, John.


  6. John,when will be the book ready?
    One thing bothers me about Bessler,he wrote,that he build one hundred machine's in ten years.
    Let's say ten machine's per year,to me it is almost inhuman.

  7. I'm working on the book even as we speak, but how long before its finished I cannot say. I'm trying to complete it as quickly as possible. Over the years I've made estimates for six months usually and then I've abandoned it in the face of so much extra information. But I'm not abandoning it this time so hopefully it will be ready in a few weeks/months.

    I'm not sure he said that exactly Vincent. I think he designed and built a lot of machines but maybe some of them, like mine, were adaptations of existing builds. And did he mean he built and designed each one or just designed some but didn't necessarily build each and every one?



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