Friday, January 6, 2012

Guy Magar reveals all in his "Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot"

Guy Magar 

It’s not your typical story line: Egyptian immigrant makes his way into the United States, attends film school, lands a directing contract with Universal, nearly decapitates an eight-year-old Drew Barrymore, and hires James Cameron for his first production design job.

Filmmaker Guy Magar has over 100 production credits to his name and a million stories to share. From his incredible journey from Egypt to the U.S., to his evolution from a scrappy film student to a Hollywood director, Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot (Sea Script, May 2011) details one heck of a ride.

“This memoir brings to life the many personalities and stars I’ve encountered in my career,” says Magar. “It divulges the “stories behind the stories” about the rocky road to Hollywood success." From directing episodes of television’s La Femme Nikita, Sliders, The A-Team, Blue Thunder, Fortune Hunter, The Young Riders, Lawless, and Capitol to directing the feature films Lookin’ Italian (starring Matt LeBlanc and Lou Rawls in their first feature film credits), Stepfather 3 (which launched HBO’s World Premiere Series) and the cult thriller Retribution (his first film ever which is being released on DVD this Halloween 2011 for the film’s 25th anniversary), Magar shares the good, the bad, and the fascinating, including working with James Cameron, an unknown at the time.

“My search for the best visual effects designer I could find led me to the Roger Corman Company. . . Everyone there was raving about a young hotshot who was the art director and visual effects guru on Roger’s sci-fi epic Battle Beyond the Stars. So I arranged to meet with him. His name was James Cameron.” –from Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot

“The popularity of cinema is at an all-time high: for the second year in a row box office receipts topped a record-breaking $10 billion,” says Magar. “Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot offers movie lovers an inside look at what goes on when making movies and TV shows, an inside peek into the dream factory—what it’s like to be a film director.”

Bio taken from Guy Magar's website at: 

Guy asked if there was a question he could answer for my audience today, and I know this question has been on the minds of a few of my authors who write screenplays they adapt from their fiction books. Here we have our chance to ask an expert in the Hollywood movie business.

How does an author, who writes their screenplay based on their book, get it effectively in front of the decision makers in Hollywood?

Thanks for inviting me to guest on your blog, Patti. Actually, I get asked that question often by authors who contact me or take my filmmaking seminars. The truth is that if you’ve written a great book and you think your story would make a terrific film, you’re better off having your agent peddle your book to the movie industry. Producers, studios, and networks are always looking for the next great idea to make a film or movie-of-the-week or even a weekly TV series, and fiction books are one of the places they look at and they always have people looking at galleys to option new books before anyone else sees them. So if your book would make a good movie, peddle the book through an agent as you don’t need to write the screenplay.

Once they purchase an option on your book, they will want to develop it into their own screenplay and hire a screenwriter to adapt it for their purposes. If you’ve written screenplays and have experience in that world, you may be able to ask to write the first adaptation and make it part of your deal. However, they prefer you don’t so they can do whatever they want with your great idea. They know it will be difficult for the original author to follow their notes and delete large chunks of the plot or, God forbid, change the protagonist from a female to a male in the hope it may attract Brad Pitt! There are so many variables that can come up through the foibles of development executives that, believe me, no serious book author wants to put themselves through the Hollywood meat grinder.

If you want to be a screenwriter, then start writing screenplays. Learn the format, get instruction, get a good consultant, write as many as you can since you’ll be getting better with every script you write, enter as many screenplay contests as you can to make some noise if your writing is good, and once you have a very special script, start shopping it to agents. It is almost impossible to shop a book or screenplay at the serious levels in Hollywood without proper representation. Finding a decent agent is the great art of Hollywood and what usually separates the folks who have a chance to make a living at it and the folks who don’t. For everyone, whether a writer, director, actor, getting an agent is the biggest rubik’s cube you have to solve. No magic wands. It’s the ten-pound gorilla in the room. There are so many people who think they can write, that all the buyers depend on agents to find the cream of the crop to represent and bring to the industry table. And even then, the chances of any screenplay or book getting optioned are pretty slim. The competition is just unbelievable. There are over 10,000 screenplays a year that are represented by agents in Hollywood. All the studios put together make less than 400 movies a year. You do the math!

So if you wish to write books or screenplays, do it because you love the writing process, because  you’re passionate to tell your story, because there is nothing else you would rather do. Then, if you want to turn it to a great movie, regardless of format, find an agent to sell it for you. The truth is you’ll be wasting a lot of time to adapt it yourself and your script may not be as good as your novel…so then what? If you insist on writing the screenplay, then don’t tell them it’s based on your novel until a sale is imminent. And that’s the truth and I don’t BS people.

If your readers want an inside look at how Hollywood works, and how to forge a career in the film biz, then I recommend my memoir: Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot: A Filmmaker’s Journey into the Lights of Hollywood and True Love. If you love the magic of movies and if you’re a romantic at heart and want to read and share a true love experience, complete with a costumed Camelot wedding and the groom dueling for his bride, this is the book for you.

You are welcome to enter a weekly contest to win a signed paperback by simply voting for your favorite excerpt which includes almost decapitating Drew Barrymore, and hiring a young James Cameron to design my creature monster. You’ll find it here


Guy Magar said...

Thank you for having me as your guest. I hope the insight about writers turning their books into screenplays is helpful. Happy New Year everyone.

Nightly Cafe said...

Great post Guy! Thanks for hosting Patti :)


Patti Hultstrand said...

Thanks so much to Guy for sharing his knowledge and his story with us this week. Best of luck on your book sales.