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Novels, Romance & Hollywood

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Novelist and Screenwriter James Dalessandro makes a point.

Writer James Dalessandro has been pitching to Hollywood for years and knows how the game is played. Dalessandro shared some of what he has learned with wit, charm and a straight chaser of blunt reality at the Scriptscene mini-conference, July 30, held during the Romance Writers of America 28th Annual Conference in San Francisco.

The Bay Area writer has sold a number of pitches, screenplays, and books. In 2004 his epic novel about the great San Francisco earthquake and fire, “1906,” was published. He sold both the novel and the screenplay. Warner Bros began production in 2005 on “1906” with a $250 million budget.

 Dalessandro is a skilled pitchman who strongly believes in being prepared and delivering a great presentation whether it is at a meeting or on the page. Here are some points from his workshop Novels, Romance, Hollywood: Adapting Your Ideas to Film (And Surviving Hollywood):

–Books are more demanding to write than screenplays.  If you want to do both, start off concentrating on one or the other. 

–Focus on the heart of your story – the central theme.

–It is good to have humor in your writing. 

— For a pitch, tell them just enough that they want to know more. Remember, it is not about the details… about the emotion.

— Characters catch people’s imagination, example, the Academy Award winning screenplay for the movie “Witness” which is a romance wrapped in a police drama.

–All drama based on conflict and problems.

— At a pitch, the writer needs to be the smartest person in the room.

–Advice — do your homework; then ask for more money.

Agent Nathan Bransford raves about RWA conference.

Literary agent Nathan Bransford lives in San Francisco, but works for the New York agency, Curtis Brown Ltd.

Bransford runs one of the best blogs for writers. It is packed with the basics, from query writing to submissions, as well as tidbits about the publishing biz. Also, he’s an agent who seems to really like getting queries and reading them, too! Bransford’s blog is on my list of favorites.

Bransford attended the recent RWA conference. On his blog, he described the experience as quote “…pretty great…”

Bransford explains how romance fits into his manuscript interests, what he likes about writer conferences, and gives a recap of the RWA conference in two posts on August 4th and August 5th. Well worth the read.

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