Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Lesson for all authors in the television adaptation history of "Wheel of Time" series (Robert Jordan)


Authors with popular book series should be wary of selling media rights.  Vox Media has an interesting fable about what happened to the “Wheel of Time” fantasy book series by Robert Jordan. 
  
The rights wound up with a company Red Eagle, which did not seem to have the capacity to get successful television or other media adaptions produced.  According to the Vox story here  (by Todd Van der Werff), the company “exists” in order to retain the rights to Jordan’s successful books.  So a pilot, titled “Winter Dragon” in some locals and the original “Wheel of Time” in others, wound up aired at 1:30 AM in some markets on FXX (not FX).  A check of YouTube shows other outlets, like audibooks and some other videos.  
  
Of course, you say, the fan could just record the programs and watch at convenience.  True. 
The article goes on to explain how weaker remakes of comic book or fantasies get done, or weak sequels, just to keep rights. 
  
This can happen with other artistic works, like web series that are sold to production companies and then that stall. 
  
In my own case, with my own books, I’ve maintained independence.  Although the Kindles for the first two disappeared (although they are available online from me in HTML and I have my own Kindle copies), and the third recently had an unexplained $2.00 price rise, maybe to discourage overuse by resellers. 
  
That’s another reason why right now I do retain tight, autocratic control on my own screenplay development associated with the books. 
  
Some fantasy novels that seem “obvious” have yet to make it to film or TV series.  One is Clive Barker’s “Imajica” (1991), reviewed here March 28, 2006.

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