Chicken House and Altitude, a film production company, are teaming up to develop book and film projects simultaneously.
“Instead of waiting for a final book to take into movie production, we will find scripts or treatments together and develop them at the same time,” said Barry Cunningham, m.d. and publisher at Chicken House. “So if someone has a great idea and has written three or four chapters, we can get involved at that stage.”
He added: “Often movie people flag up problems with a book [for turning it into a film] such as a lack of adult perspective. This way we can address those problems straight on.”
Cunningham said he was inspired by the success of 'Big Game', a project about a 13-year-old boy who saves the US president, which he ran with Will Clarke, a producer at Altitude. The book, by Dan Smith, was published by Chicken House in January and the film 16 will be released in May.
“With 'Big Game' Will came to me and said I’ve got a great script,” he said. “I read it and we asked Dan Smith to write the novel. So he wrote it from the point of view of the boy and we sold it in 20 countries.”
The pair have not set themselves goals on how many projects they want to work on but are keen to “find one or two projects to develop straight away”.
The partnership is reminiscent of The Big Idea, a competition launched last year by Chicken House with agent Neil Blair to find multimedia story ideas. Cunningham is now looking for authors to develop the winning story, which was about three animals in a hot air balloon.
“We are in discussion with several leading authors and will be announcing soon.” he said. “A lot of writers were very interested in the project because they can step outside their inspiration range.”