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Adapting to Hollywood: Sisters in Crime Conference

April 1 - 3, 2016 pm ♦ Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City

*** Schedule subject to change. Last updated 3/14/2016 ***




7:30-9am  Registration & continental breakfast  

 Welcome by SinC National President Leslie Budewitz and introduction of Pam Veasey
(Writer/producer CSI: Cyber; on TV writing faculty at USC)


Workshop:  Pitching 101

Pam Veasey teaches the art of the pitch.

Topics include the elements of the pitch, length, presentation, content, and how to sell yourself. The workshop will be followed by practice sessions led by writers experienced in the art of pitching.


Workshop: Practice pitching in groups - breakout rooms (group leaders TBA)


Q & A:  Join two show biz vets -- Agent Ron Mardigian of William Morris Agency and former studio VP Marianne Moloney -- who will talk about how to target the "right" production entity with your book, give advice, and answer your questions (this is for those that aren't involved in 1-on-1 pitching only).


Lunch – Hiro Room

Ellen Byerrum speaks over dessert re selling her novel at 2006 SinC Hollywood Conference


Panel:  Who’s Looking for What? 

Meet buyers of film and television projects

Panelists: Jane Goldenring, Rona Edwards, John Orlando, Mitchell Smith, Stan Spry, George Stelzner, Danielle Von Zerneck, Jen Weinbaum

Producers and executives describe the kinds of stories that interest them and what they respond to in a pitch.  A pitch can be a one-on-one encounter, a phone call, a letter or email describing your project.  Whatever form it takes, it needs to be compelling, succinct, and memorable.  More importantly, it needs to fit the parameters of what that buyer wants and believes she/he can get financed.  The first step to a book sale is to determine the best places to submit it.  The second step is to prepare a great pitch to pique the buyer’s interest and make her or him want to read your book.


Pitches: Tell Me a Story

Individual one-on-one sessions in breakout rooms. 

The panelists will meet with SinC authors who have pre-enrolled for individual 5-minute pitches. 

Note: They expect to hear about published work rather than projects in development or screenplays.        

 4:30-6:30pm Reception
   Dinner on your own


7:30-9am Continental breakfast and registration of any new attendees. Breakfast co-sponsored by SinC/LA

Welcome & introduction of Megan Abbott

Keynote – MEGAN ABBOTT presentation followed by Q&A

Panel: From Page to Screen

Film and TV writers discuss how they adapt novels into scripts. 

Panelits: Janet Batchler (Batman Forever, Modesty Blaise), Drew Greenberg (Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.EL.D.), Hart Hanson (Bones), Michele Mulroney (Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows)

When your novel gets into the hands of a screenwriter he or she must make decisions about what stays and what goes.  In this panel they will discuss their creative process.  As a result, novelists will have a better understanding of what makes their book appealing as a film or TV series.

Panelists will discuss what make a protagonist compelling enough to sustain a TV series.  Other topics include what kinds of plot elements—goals, stakes, obstacles—make for riveting, visual stories.


Panel: Getting Past the Gatekeepers

Story analysts and development executives explain their role in the development process and what they look for when they evaluate your book.

Panelists: James Bartlett, Kathy McCullogh, Michael Onofri

Before your novel gets into the hands of a producer, chances are it has passed through several gatekeepers. Any person in this chain can jettison a project−or champion it to the next level. The first person in this hierarchy may be the executive assistant who responds to a query letter or submission. Then the book will go to a story analyst who is paid to “cover” it and evaluate its prospects as a film.

What does coverage look like? Reports differ, but essentially each contains a one- sentence logline, synopsis, comment section and perhaps a score sheet grading elements, such as concept, characters and dialogue. Here is a sample coverage:

In this panel presentation, story analysts discuss what they do and answer your questions. What jumps out as “cinematic” or “high concept” to them? What, to them, is the most important element, character, plot, setting, narrative structure? What should novelists keep in mind if they want to their book to appeal to filmmakers?

A positive reader’s report will move your book to the next level, which is usually a development executive who works for a production entity and is looking for material specifically suited to the studio, producer, director or actor who runs that company. The exec will determine if the book is “right” for them and whether it should advance further.

12:30- 1:45pm

Panel: The Steps from Development to Green Light 

Producers and development executives explain the process of developing a novel into a produced work and discuss the current marketplace.

Panelists: Carol Baum, Kelly Goode, Cameron Larson, Laurie Zaks

Development begins with the decision to option your book. The next step is selling it to a network or movie studio. What is the marketplace for mysteries right now, in both TV and film? What determines red light or green light? What role do studio executives play in the process? What about independent producers? Topics also include finding the appropriate screenwriter, determining the budget, discussing casting and giving development notes throughout screenplay development and revisions.


Panel: Let’s Make a Deal

Agents and attorneys discuss negotiating the sale of your novel, what you should know about your rights, and what you should ask for.

Panelists: Jonathan Kirsch, Stephen Moore, Amy Schiffman, Shari Smiley

Topics include options, screen credits, residuals, ancillary rights, and the realities of the marketplace. How do you get your book out to Hollywood to begin with? How much can you expect to make on a sale? What are the prospects you can be hired to adapt the screenplay? Should you even want to? What are the benefits of having an entertainment lawyer as well as an agent to represent your book?

Dinner on your own



7:30-9am Continental breakfast
9-9:10am Welcome and Introduction of Alison Sweeney , star and executive producer of Murder She Baked, Sami Brady on Days of our Lives
Interview with Alison Sweeney
  Sweeney signs her new book, Opportunity Knocks

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