What is a Screen-Plography?

By Tom Cartier Screenplay + Biography= Screen-Plography. In movie form they’re known as bio-pics, and throughout the history of cinema, Hollywood has always had an insatiable appetite for them. But before going any further, a disclaimer alert… I would never condone anyone trying to sell a film based on someone else’s life without first securing their rights. When shopping a project on the open market, always secure the rights first. However, if you’re just looking to make a big splash as a screenwriter or simply trying to get read, by all means. So long as no money changes hands, and the project is used strictly as a calling card, this can potentially work as a strategy that’s launched many a career. First and foremost, the basic story should be about someone who has done something extraordinary. The origin story of George Washington. Ted Kennedy’s ordeal at Chappaquiddick. The tale of how Francis Ford Coppola created his masterpiece The Godfather against all odds. All three of these ideas are scripts, currently making in-roads in Hollywood for the writers who created them; and all are great examples of what I consider to be Screen-Plographies. The key to it all is composing that perfect mix of personality and story, that flashpoint where truth and fiction collided to evoke something spectacular; a world where the truth actually did become stranger, and more arresting, than fiction. Oftentimes, it’s about telling the story of how a given person achieved fame, changed the world or made history. But just as frequently, it’s about that uncovered gem, that little known chapter in a well-known person’s life that’s absolutely riveting. Being a household name certainly... read more

From Unpublished Author to Hollywood’s A-List

Getting Lucky in Hollywood It’s no secret that Hollywood producers and directors are always on the hunt for the next best movie concept. What’s not so obvious is where they’re looking to find these ideas for their next Blockbuster sweep. Drumroll please…they’re looking at books (even self-published or unpublished ones)! Now, you may be thinking to yourself, “Voyage Media is talking crazy.” But I promise you we’re not! Think about it. A book is already a fully baked idea, complete with an established plotline and solid characters and a built-in audience, whereas a screenplay may be unknown and in various stages of development. Hollywood execs are all about immediate gratification when it comes to looking for their next project because, let’s face it, it’s all about the money. So from a buyer’s perspective, a book holds more weight than a screenplay because it’s more economically viable for them in that moment. Take for instance the self-published book turned Academy award nominated Hollywood adaptation The Martian. Its author Andy Weir found wild success practically overnight after releasing the book chapter-by-chapter online, and then on Amazon’s self-publishing arm where it caught the attention of a producer…and the rest is history. As the movie has begun to gain traction, so has the book, and vice versa. This is another reason Hollywood producers love a book adaptation…the book and the movie provide built-in cross-promotion. They feed off of each other which means more $$$ for everyone involved. After word got out that The Martian was being made into a movie, the book debuted on the New York Times best-seller list at No. 12 in March... read more

Launching Voyage 3.0

The ‘Voyage 3.0 Master Plan.’  We completed Voyage 1.0 and 2.0, which basically consisted of: 1.0  – Provide emerging storytellers with direct access to high level producers 2.0  – Nurture storytellers with quality education and training, and facilitate production of their projects The reason we built 1.0 and 2.0 was to prove the thesis that non-professional storytellers could be made professional with access to quality information and producer-mentorship. We proved the thesis as we were able to produce and distribute 4 projects, finance an additional 3, facilitate deals on over 40, get paid writing assignments to over 30 writers, and facilitate 45 authors in becoming bestsellers. With 3.0, we’re adding the final building blocks of our audacious vision: A thriving community of storytellers and a revolutionary, heart-centered way to create, share, and earn from the transcendent art of film and television storytelling. The cornerstone of Voyage 3.0 is to align our entire family – you and us – in an economic and creative future that has us ‘in it together’.    We’re inspired and deeply moved by a future where storytellers control their own destiny, are creatively fulfilled, and contribute to and benefit from each others’ success. Like United Artists did in 1919, we’re establishing the first modern creator-owned studio, complete with its own production financing that’s not dependent on the outdated and exploitative studio/agency system. Here’s what we aim to accomplish by 2021: Have a thriving community of 1 million creators, that are economically aligned and supportive of one another Produce 34 movies and 12 TV series that come directly from our community and with our own financing... read more

Writer Myopia: What If Your Project Doesn’t Sell?

THE IMPORTANCE OF DIVERSIFICATION As a writer, you invest huge amounts of time, energy and money into your project (and you should)! But because you spend the bulk of your time writing (often a single project), it can be difficult to dedicate energy to other important areas – such as planning for long-term financial health and wealth management… At Voyage, we aim to look at the life of a creator holistically – it’s not ONLY about sparking the creative fire, honing your craft and developing the most marketable story… It’s also about helping you to create a balanced and fulfilled life – a life from which the best stories and ideas naturally take shape. To give you some context: as a writer, you’re starting with a 1% chance of having someone buy your movie or TV project. Now, this should never stop you from pursuing your dreams… But you want to make sure you’re thinking about other ways of saving and creating wealth, not just from your writing – in other words, you want to save, and diversify your investments of time and money. Here are 3 simple non-writing ways to diversify and have a strategy for a long-term sustainable career that perhaps you didn’t know about: 1. Acorns Sounds funny, but we don’t literally mean invest in the acorns you find on the ground. Acorns is a very high-tech system that allows you to quickly enroll in automatic deposits to a personal savings account where their system will invest it for you based on market trends and super cool algorithms – and you can even select how conservative... read more

My (devious) plan…

I’ve received a lot of questions over the last few months about what exactly we do, how it works, and what the benefits to you are.  With this letter, I intend to articulate exactly how it all works, including what we’ve so far done well and what we need to improve on. Secondly, I want to bullet-point our master plan for the future, which I’ll refer to as “Voyage 3.0”. Finally, I also include an FAQ section at the end so you can get answers to some great questions we’re sometimes asked (and that will be good for you to know). Our humble beginnings… Our vision from the get-go has been to enable emerging writers to have a viable path for their film/TV projects outside the traditional agency and studio system. With Voyage 1.0, we launched our “Get Connected” program, which enabled writers to connect 1-on-1 with film and television producers. Our goal in providing you direct access to producers was to create a viable path to Hollywood for emerging writers and to bypass the traditional agency model. Our community upgrade… Once we had our team in place, it was time to expand. So with Voyage 2.0 we introduced both our “Get Educated” and “Become an Original” programs. The idea with 2.0 was to (1) facilitate a ‘smarter’, more market-savvy community of creators and (2) partner with select creators and produce their projects. We are now a little over four years in to building this vertically-integrated, concept-to-screen company that covers development, packaging, financing and production.  As you can probably ascertain, it’s a big undertaking with a lot of moving... read more

2016: What a Year!

It’s been an incredible year for the Voyage family and we’re so grateful to you for your hard work, dedication and commitment to your craft. You’ve inspired us in unimaginable ways. As we prepare for an even better 2017, here are some highlights we want to celebrate looking back… Our Commitment to Your Success 2016 found us looking within to discover what we could be doing more to benefit you.  In 2017 we’re completely reinventing, which you’ll learn a lot more about in the coming weeks. And you can take a peek at our revitalized commitments here. But we also took a moment to celebrate our astounding victories. And many of you have gone on to achieve wild success with your projects. Here’s a tally: 3 projects have been fully produced and distributed with a 4th headed into production right now and a 5th that’s fully financed. 3 projects have been partially financed Nearly 40 unknown writers/authors have had their material optioned by producers 30 writers have received ongoing paid writing assignments Over 45 authors have become bestselling authors We often get asked about stats and while we tend to avoid them since this is a creative enterprise, we were surprised to learn that 15% of our clients who work with us one-on-one achieve an objective metric of success like the ones listed above. We actually didn’t know it was that high ☺ A Brand New Batch of Originals VALLEY UPRISING (Documentary Feature by Peter Mortimer & Nick Rosen) -Our film won an Emmy this year for Outstanding Graphic Design and Art Direction! The film tracks the history of... read more

A Letter From Our Founder

Four years ago, we started a journey to bring emerging writers and storytellers into Hollywood… Voyage was a brash and revolutionary idea that came straight from the heart… ‘We believe that everyone has a story worth sharing and we want everyone to have a fair shot’. But, when push came to shove and we had to run a business in the real world, we gave up on one of our original dreams… We had this dream of creating a ‘cooperative’ of sorts in which everyone playing in the sandbox with us could and would benefit financially from everyone’s successes… The idea was to create a community of creators that were willing to make a big bet on their own projects but that would still benefit even if their project didn’t work out… Let me give you some context and get really real for a sec… To reference real estate, the entertainment industry is a ‘buyer’s market’. And it likely always will be. There are an estimated 50,000 scripts and 1,000,000 books entering the market each year. And how many movies and series are produced? Estimates range from 7,000 to 10,000 worldwide. This isn’t scientific, but it’s akin to a hundred people selling homes and there’s only one buyer. That’s the harsh reality of our industry. You’re starting from a 1% chance of ‘making it’. It was these underlying market conditions that inspired our big, audacious dream… What if we were all in this together! What if, while making a bet on your project, you were also making a bet on others’ projects? Of course, you want to give your... read more

#1 Amazon Bestselling Author: Diane Dignan

Congratulations to our author client Diane Dignan for just reaching #1 bestseller status on Amazon in our Amazon Bestseller Program! “Race From The Finish” about a passionate NASCAR driver in the 1950’s is now a #1 Amazon Bestseller! We’ve been working with Diane since 2014 on a couple of different book projects she’s written and it has been a pleasure to see her grow as a writer and expand her knowledge of the industry. After moving up through the ranks of our book-to-screen program, Diane decided to pursue becoming an Amazon Bestselling Author. Within 2 months of signing up for our program and working with our Amazon guru on her book launch, Diane can now say she is a #1 Bestselling Author! facebook Twitter LinkedIn Archives April 2018 (1) March 2018 (1) February 2018 (1) January 2018 (1) December 2017 (1) November 2017 (1) October 2017 (2) July 2017 (4) April 2017 (1) February 2017 (1) January 2017 (1) December 2016 (1) November 2016 (1) October 2016 (1) September 2016 (2) June 2016 (1) May 2016 (1) April 2016 (1) February 2016 (3) January 2016 (1) December 2015 (2) November 2015 (1) October 2015 (2) September 2015 (2) August 2015 (2) July 2015 (1) June 2015 (1) April 2015 (1) March 2015 (1) February 2015 (2) January 2015 (6) December 2014 (2) October 2014 (1) September 2014 (3) August 2014 (3) June 2014 (2) May 2014 (5) April 2014 (3) February 2014 (1) January 2014 (2) December 2013 (1) April 2013 (1) December 2012 (2) July 2012 (2) April 2012 (2) March 2012 (2) December 2011 (1) November 2011 (3) October 2011 (4) September 2011 (5) August 2011 (3) May 2011 (2) April 2011 (1) March 2011 (2) November 2010 (2) August 2010 (1) June 2010 (1) March 2010 (1) October 2009 (1) September 2009 (2) CategoriesCategories Select Category Audience  (10) Blog post  (17) Book to Film  (14) Entertainment Business  (30) Font Page  (22) Pitching  (13) Presentations  (9) Producer Interviews  (8) Reality TV  (5) Screenwriting Tips  (11) The Expert... read more

Ever Wondered What It Feels Like to Sell a TV Pilot?

As creator of the TV series EXTANT, Mikey Fisher certainly knows a thing or two about it and he’s recently written about his experiences in this eye-opening  story below. He recounts every moment on his roller-coaster journey, from figuring out which screenwriting contests to enter, to how to choose an agent, to doing a conference call with Spielberg. This document is a veritable How-To on breaking into the TV business.  And for more tips and tools on the screenwriter’s trade, stay connected via Voyage Media. We make stories like Mikey’s happen every day for our clients. __________ ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS I’VE BEEN ASKED -MIKEY FISHER WHY I WROTE THIS: The day I turned forty years old I sold my first big script, a tv pilot for a new show called EXTANT. One of the Executive Producers was Steven Spielberg, it starred Oscar Winner Halle Berry, and got a straight to series order for thirteen episodes from CBS. I was made an Executive Producer as well and spent two years learning how to make television at the highest level. It was my first job in Hollywood. A lot of people are going to tell you that it NEVER happens that way. But it DID happen and to quote David Mamet from THE EDGE, “What one man (or woman) can do, another man (or woman) can do.” So I’m passing along what I learned from my personal experience. I know it’s not going to happen for everyone the same way and there will be plenty here that other people will disagree with. This is just one guy’s overall experience from writing the pilot to... read more

Call Us The Entertainment Myth Busters

3 Myths About Making It In The Entertainment Industry At times, the Industry can seem like a very mysterious & exclusive club that requires a secret password to gain access. Because of its somewhat elusive nature, stories of what people think the industry is actually like emerge and begin to be taken as fact. We hate to burst your bubble, but here we go… “Everyone is out to steal my story idea, so I can’t talk about it.” We hear this myth from authors and screenwriters all the time, but there’s very little evidence to back it up. In fact, a creator who is trying to break into the industry should be talking about his or her story to anyone who will listen. Yes, when you’re an established film or television writer who takes meetings with producers and executives all the time, copyrighting your ideas should be a consideration. But that fact is, an idea alone is not what sells in Hollywood. What sells is the entire package—how an idea is executed. And it’s crucial to practice telling your story because you’ll need to be phenomenal at painting the picture for your producer-audience when you do land a meeting. Check out producer Elizabeth Kushman’s (ONE MISSED CALL, THE HILLS HAVE EYES) opinion on the topic here: http://voyagemedia.com/exclusive-producer-interview/ “I have to send out a lot of query letters to improve my chances of getting my idea picked up.” Sending out hundreds of query letters to unqualified leads is like throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks – it’s a waste of time and often yields little to no... read more

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