Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Books and Movies, A Melding

Publishers and producers seem to be holding hands more and more. There have always been book/manuscript scouts on the lookout for movie ideas. Now, Hollywood seems to be doing more than just holding hands – they’re kissing and telling.

The Los Angeles Times has an article about the relationship between HarperCollins and indie producer Jeff Sharp ("Boys Don't Cry," "Proof," "Nicholas Nickleby" and "Evening"). Sharp has launched a book-to-film unit, Sharp Independent, at HarperCollins. He’ll be sifting through submissions and picking out titles he feels would be good for adaptation to the cinema.

How and when did this partnership come about? At a 2006 Christmas party, Sharp met with HarperCollins Chief Executive Jane Friedman.
The two friends talked about the need for a better partnership between filmmakers and publishers. He began outlining a possible joint venture with Friedman, who has a reputation for innovation, and the plan was launched last year.

Now, if you’re a potential HarperCollins author and you get picked by Sharp, that may or may not make you happy. You may be hoping for some other production company.

Never fear, you don’t have to sign with Sharp Independent.
No author will be required to sign a film option as a condition of getting a HarperCollins book deal.

This deal with HarperCollins gives Sharp an inside track on material, but he’s not the only runner on the track.
"If they [HarperCollins] can get more movies made from books, it's a win for everybody," said Simon Lipskar, an agent with Writers House. But even though Sharp's access to material is a plus, he added, "it's a little hysterical to think he's got a big advantage. There's no literary submission with any heat in this town that film scouts can't get their hands on."

I’ve said this before, and I’m saying it again, things are a-changing in the publishing world.


  1. Whatever Jeff Sharp produces is wonderful. He is a gifted producer.
    I have known him since he was five years old. His father kindly took Maria Shine Stewart and I out to lunch at Tavern on the Green on our recent trip to NYC. The purpose of the our trip was to conduct personal research, hear Maria's son play violin in several concerts at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and meet with my mentor of 38 years, Jeff Sharp's father.
    Jeff attended Colgate and has an MFA from Columbia, trained with Oliver Stone where he worked on the film, John F. Kennedy. Jeff (Jeffrey) Sharp has won many awards and so has his team. I wish him all the best with his venture with HarperCollins.

  2. Thank you Rosa. It's nice to hear from someone with a personal viewpoint.


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