Because the announcement of the TV deal for The Collapsing Empire has people asking questions, let me quickly catch everyone up.
Here’s where everything stands at the moment. I have four active options at the moment: The Collapsing Empire, Old Man’s War and Redshirts, and a project I can’t talk about yet (but which has been optioned and for which I’ve been paid). I have three other properties that are currently in discussion, which I also can’t talk about yet, but will when I can. Lock In was under option but isn’t now but could be again, hint hint, film/TV people.
All the active options are at various stages in their development processes and it should be noted at any step in that process, a trap door could open up and swallow the project whole. The time to get excited about any optioned work making it to the screen is when you’re actually watching it on the screen. Until then, it doesn’t exist. Projects can literally take years to happen, even when they are actively being worked on. For these as anything, patience is a virtue.
For those wondering if I’m actively involved in these projects, as a general rule at this point we negotiate me being an executive producer on the project. What this means can range depending on project, but generally means that I’ll be looking at scripts and offering other input. I’m open to writing or co-writing scripts, but often the producers already have people they like lined up for that.
Generally speaking producers and studios like to play things close to the vest, announcement-wise, until there is actually something really big to announce (like greenlighting, principal photography, casting news, etc). Often I will have projects under option that I can’t announce or talk publicly about, because we follow the lead of the people who have secured the option. If I talk about something it’s because I’ve been given clearance to talk about it. I won’t talk about stuff I don’t have clearance for, although I might subtweet about how there’s a cool thing I know that you don’t.
No, I can’t get you a job with the production. No, I can’t hire you to write the screenplay. No, I can’t help you get contacts with the production companies/studios I work with. This is especially the case if I don’t, you know, actually know you as a real live human being. No, please don’t send me screenplays/headshots/etc. I’m not responsible for any of those things. Also generally I don’t cast projects in my head until/unless they get to a point where producers ask me for casting ideas.
Yes, I’m excited about each of these. I would love for one or more to be made and to be a huge hit. No, I will not become rich on film/TV options or at least not for a long time (they pay relatively little up front; the big money is on the back end). And yes, regardless of the success (or not) of any of these, I’ll still be writing the novels I have under contract for Tor. It’s why I have a contract.
(And no, I won’t be moving to LA anytime soon. I love visiting; it’s where I grew up, after all. But I like my house and the at least 500 feet between me and any other neighbor. If anything gets made and they need me on set, I have it in my contracts the production company has to rent me an apartment.)
So that’s where everything is on film and TV deals at the moment.