Behind the Scenes at Adaptive Studios

Adaptive Studios has an MO so cool, someone should make a movie about it: find abandoned screenplays with big potential, turn them into novels, and then turn those novels into movies and TV shows.

We had to know more about how this process works, so we peppered TJ Barrack, founding partner of Adaptive, with some questions.

How did the idea for Adaptive come about?
Perrin Chiles, our CEO, came up with idea. Having been part of the entertainment business for over a decade he saw the great disruption in distribution as well as the huge stockpile of undervalued IP wasting away in Hollywood limbo. Four years ago on a cocktail napkin in Culver City, he and I laid out the basic idea for Adaptive.

How do you find screenplays? Do agents pitch them to you?
Everyone you have a meeting with in Hollywood has at least five projects that they wish they would have made or that they would love to pull out of some place. Studios, agencies, artists are all sitting on forgotten ideas. We find them in a variety of places.

Do screenwriters ever turn you down when you offer to buy their work?
Yes, it happens as in any business. However we have been very fortunate with the creative partnerships we have entered into and we take great pride in being stewards of the IP (intellectual property) we take on. We don’t want to acquire orphaned IP to create orphaned IP. We want to bring stories to life and have proven that we can do it well.

How do you find writers to adapt the screenplays into novels? 
Depending on the project we might target specific writers we think are a fit and then other times we will reach out to agencies and have a number of writers audition. Finding the right person to bring an idea to life is of the utmost importance.

How many writers are you currently working with?
Over ten novelists on the publishing side and double that on the TV & Film side.

How many people are on the creative team? What are their backgrounds?
The creative process is a very collaborative one at Adaptive. Everyone participates to some degree and everyone in the company is encouraged to share ideas and notes. We have a great creative team, including our creative executive Stephen Christensen, and an editorial director who runs our publishing division. One of our strengths is that we have a range of backgrounds, including publishing and independent filmmakers and producers. All four partners are involved in the final creative decisions.

Do the members of the creative team pitch ideas for public domain-based work like Dawn of Spies, or do those come from elsewhere?
The creative team is always generating new ideas from various sources including public domain, but most everything we take on has some kind of history or Hollywood vetting. Dawn of Spies originated as a studio screenplay which we altered quite a bit. But the initial spark was a screenplay.

Read more about Adaptive Studios here

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