March 12, 2011 – PANEL: Adapting to the Silver Screen

A Beautiful Mind. Chicago. Lord of the Rings. Million Dollar Baby. Harry Potter. Iron Man. G.I. Joe.

What do all these films have in common, besides all grossing over $100 million? They were all adapted from other sources — biographies, children’s books, classic literature, short stories, plays, comic books, toys.

Adapting material from other sources is a very different process than writing a script from scratch, and is a crucial talent for most working screenwriters today. Learn some of the techniques and challenges inherent in that process from some of the best in the business.

Nicholas Meyer was Oscar-nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay for “The Seven-Per-Cent Solution,” based on his own novel. He later adapted and directed the beloved fantasy film “Time After Time,” then co-wrote and directed “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” co-wrote “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” and co-wrote and directed “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country,” the last film in the series using the original cast.

He also directed the acclaimed TV movie “The Day After” and wrote the screenplays for “Sommersby,” “The Informant” and “The Human Stain.”


Paul Guay‘s movies have grossed over half a billion dollars. He conceived and co-wrote LIAR, LIAR, at the time of its release the sixth-highest-grossing comedy in history. The screenplay received an Honorable Mention (along with Fargo, Million Dollar Baby, The Full Monty and Catch Me If You Can) in Scr(i)pt magazine’s list of the Best Scripts of the Past 10 Years.Paul co-wrote THE LITTLE RASCALS, Universal’s second-highest-grossing film of the year, and co-wrote HEARTBREAKERS, starring Sigourney Weaver, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Gene Hackman, and Jason Lee, which opened #1 at the box office, and the rights to which he co-licensed to MGM for production as a stage musical.

His experience in adaptations includes such projects as THE NEVERENDING STORY, MR. MAGOO, ON A PALE HORSE, and Spy vs. Spy.

Paul is available as a script consultant. Visit his website at:

CNN correspondent-turned-screenwriter Bryce Zabel has created five primetime television series, notably NBC’s Emmy-winning UFO series “Dark Skies,” just released on DVD in January 2011. This year his just-published non-fiction book, “A.D. After Disclosure: The People’s Guide to Life After Contact,” is being developed as a weekly television series by his production company Stellar Productions and Electric Farm Entertainment. The book is also being released in the enhanced iBook format by Zentro Media.In 2008, Zabel received the Writers Guild of America (WGA) award for writing his third four-hour Hallmark mini-series, “Pandemic.” He has written multiple studio feature scripts, receiving credit on two produced films, “Atlantis: The Lost Empire,” and “Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.” He is currently under contract to write “Majic Men,” about the Roswell investigation. He wrote SyFy’s first original film, “Official Denial,” and the first original film in the Unsolved Mysteries MOW franchise.

Zabel served as the elected chairman/CEO of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and was responsible for the post 9/11 Emmy awards as well as the negotiations which led to an unprecedented 250 percent license fee increase for the telecast. He has been an award-winning on-air PBS investigative reporter, an adjunct professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and is a member of the Directors Guild of America (DGA), AFTRA and the WGA.

In addition to “Dark Skies,” Bryce has received the WGA “created by” or “developed by” credit on “Kay O’Brien” (CBS), “M.A.N.T.I.S.” (FOX), “The Crow: Stairway to Heaven” (SYN) and “E.N.G.” (CTV). His other series work includes Steven Spielberg’s “Taken,” “L.A. Law,” “Life Goes On” and “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.”

Besides two WGA nominations and one win, his work has been nominated by the Environmental Media Association, Mystery Writers of America and the LA Emmy awards. For more information, visit

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