Byron Writers Festival in partnership with Screenworks presents

Books to Screen – Pitching Adaptations to Screen Executives

3pm – 4pm Sunday 7 August 2016
Yellow Brick Road Pavilion, Byron Writers Festival

Watch three teams battle it out to win, as they pitch their book adaptations to key decision makers in the Australian screen industry.

This event is part of the Byron Writers Festival – you will need a 3-Day or 1-Day (Sunday) pass to Byron Writers Festival to access this event. Byron Writers Festival tickets are available for sale from

The Judging Panel

Penny Win – Head of Drama, Foxtel

Jude Troy – Executive Vice President, TV Development & Acquisitions, eOne Films Australia

Anita Sheehan – Managing Director, Porchlight Films

Sophia Zachariou – Head of Development and Production, Screen NSW

The Pitching Teams

Tristan Bancks and his book Two Wolves with screenwriter and producer Brett Stephens

Kylie Kaden and her book Losing Kate with screenwriter Pim Hendrix

Kate Veitch and her book Listen with screenwriter Charlotte Brookes.

Calling all screenwriters interested in adapting a book to a screen play

Three books and their authors have just been selected to participate in the 2016 Books to Screen project.


Now we’re looking for three screenwriters to each team up with one of the authors to put together the materials required to pitch the author’s book to a panel of screen industry judges at the 2016 Byron Writers Festival.

  • Each of the three selected screenwriters will be paid for their work on preparing the book to pitch at the Byron Writers Festival.
  • The screenwriter/author teams will be guided/mentored on how to prepare the adaptation material as part of a three day non-residential intensive workshop in Byron Bay with Belinda Chayko, Charlie de Salis, Roger Monk and Victoria Baldock.
  • The screenwriter/author teams will then pitch the book to a panel of screen industry judges at the 2016 Byron Writers Festival, with the panel of judges then selecting one winning pitch.
  • If the winning adaptation pitch is not optioned by one of the panelists at the Byron Writers Festival, Screenworks will include the winning pitch as part of a slate of projects that it takes to the Screen Producers Australia conference in November 2016 with the purpose of seeking market interest.
  • To apply, screenwriters will need to choose one of the following books as well as completing the online application form.

Selected books and their authors

TwoWolvesTwo Wolves by Tristan Bancks

What would you do if your parents committed a crime: Tell someone? Or keep the secret and live life on the run?

Bancks, Tristan Two Wolves Books

Losing KateLosing Kate by Kylie Kaden

Kate’s shirt is found strewn on the moonlit beach in a frenzy of footprints, hours after Jack broke her heart. The fate of both the missing girl and the survivors of the harrowing night are explored in this critically acclaimed novel.

Kaden, Kylie Losing Kate

ListenListen by Kate Veitch

On Christmas Eve, 1967, in suburban Melbourne, a discontented young wife and mother walks out on her dull husband and four squabbling kids.

Veitch, Kate Listen

Books to Screen is a joint initiative of Screenworks and Byron Writers Festival and is supported by Screen NSW. It is a pilot program designed to increase the number of Australian books adapted for film and television.

The program brings together authors and screenwriters with mentors and industry professionals to support them in developing book to screen adaptation proposals.

Each selected author/screenwriter team will work together to produce a pitch-ready adaptation proposal that may include a logline, a one paragraph synopsis, a one page synopsis, an outline, and a visual presentation of the project.

The participating author/screenwriter teams will pitch their screen adaptation proposals to a panel of screen industry judges as part of the 2016 Byron Bay Writers Festival.

Professional screenwriters Belinda Chayko, Charlie de Salis and Roger Monk will each work with a screenwriter/author team assisting them with story and guiding them through the development of the pitching material. Victoria Baldock will work with all of the screenwriter/author teams to identify the key pitching points and to develop their pitching skills.

Selected screenwriters will be paid a $2000 fee for their work, and the selected authors will retain all rights to the pitch materials produced. If the adaptation proposal is picked up by a production company or broadcaster, Screenworks will ask that the participating screenwriter be attached to the project in some capacity.

Three books have been selected following a tiered selection process to participate in this program on the basis of their suitability for the Books to Screen program.

Guidelines for Screenwriters

Applying screenwriters must demonstrate a skill in the craft of screenwriting and must have a screenplay that has received professional industry assessment and been developed to final draft stage.

Preference will be given to screenwriters that:

  • have at least one screenwriters credit on a production that has been broadcast on free-to-air television or screened at a curated film festival or online and attracted more than one million views.
  • live in regional Northern NSW
  • must be available to attend a three-day workshop in the Byron region June 10 -12 and cover their own costs to attend
  • available to attend the Books to Screen Pitch Session at the 2016 Byron Bay Writers Festival on Sunday August 7 and cover their own costs to attend
  • have accurately and completely filled in the online application form
  • must read and agree to the terms and conditions set out in the Books to Screen Participant Agreement. The selected screenwriters will be required to sign a Participant Agreement before the start of the Books to Screen Project.



Resources that may help you with your application include:

1. Screen Australia’s Development Plan Producer Statement –

2. View the clips of what has been covered in the Books to Screen program so far. Screenworks in partnership with Byron Writers’ Festival presented “Books-to-Screen: Pathways to Adapting & Optioning Workshop“. The workshop featured screen industry professionals and writers presenting on the processes and pathways for books to be adapted and optioned for screen production.

3. You may also choose to read the full book that you have selected to adapt.

Selection Process

Applications will be assessed by Screenworks, Byron Writers Festival and other industry professionals. Details of the assessment panel will remain confidential until we have announced the selected participants. Details will then be available upon request.

Screenwriters will be shortlisted and recommendations made to the authors prior to the final selection of screenwriters.

The writers will be paid $2000 for their work on creating materials for the adaptation proposal.

Due to the limited resources available for this pilot project, feedback about applications will not be provided/available.

A Screenworks and Byron Bay Writers Festival initiative

Three selected authors will have the opportunity to team up with screenwriters and pitch their book adaptations to producers and broadcasters at the 2016 Byron Bay Writers Festival, 5-7 August, with a view to gaining a book option.

The pitch forms part of a new program called Books-2-Screen, a joint initiative of the Byron Bay Writers Festival and Northern Rivers Screenworks.
Applications are now open for published Australian authors to apply for the program.
Selected authors will be matched with screenwriters and mentored to develop book adaptations to a pitch-ready stage. Preference will be given to authors living in the Northern Rivers or whose work is set in the Northern Rivers.

“Following a record year of $88 million in takings for Australian films at the Australian box office, this is the perfect time for an initiative that helps more Australian books make the transition to screen,” says Jesse Blackadder, board member of the Byron Bay Writers Festival.

“Books such as The Family Law by Benjamin Law go on to have a whole new life when they are adapted to screen, and we’re delighted to offer this help to authors.”

Applications for authors close 22 March 2016.

Applications for screenwriters opens 13 April 2016

Click here for more information

Watch the clips from the Books-to-Screen Workshop, where author Benjamin Law, Executive Producer Tony Ayres and Producer Julie Eckersley talk about their journey adapting Benjamin’s book The Family Law for SBS TV.


Screenworks in partnership with Byron Bay Writers’ Festival presents

Books-to-Screen: Pathways to Adapting & Optioning  Workshop

Screen industry professionals and writers present on the processes and pathways for books to be adapted and optioned for screen production.

Join Author; Benjamin Law (The Family LawGaysia: Adventures in the Queer East), Executive Producer and Screenwriter; Tony Ayres, founding Producer of Matchbox Productions (The Slap, Barracuda); Julie Eckersley Producer (The Family Law, Nowhere Boys) as they share valuable advice, talking about the challenges and successes they have experienced in adapting books for the screen.

6:30pm – 9:30pm, Thursday Nov 12
SAE Theatre (SAE Institute Byron Bay)
Ewingsdale Rd, Byron Bay

Tickets $45 / $25 Screenworks Members

Event supported by:

Screen NSW Logo       Screen Australia Logo


Screenworks has collaborated with The Northern Rivers Writers’ Centre to build a program that assists authors and screenwriters in adapting and optioning books to screen plays then pitching them to producers and broadcasters.

Preliminary activities included a workshop and panel discussion held in August at the 2015 Byron Bay Writers Festival, then in Nov 2105 a workshop for authors and screenwriters on Pathways to Adapting and Optioning and the introduction of a mentoring program.

Books to Screen components

Books-2-Screen is a hands-on mentoring program for authors and screenwriters through which they develop existing books to a pitch-ready level, and have the opportunity to pitch to producers and broadcasters who have a real interest in acquiring.

It draws on the contacts and resources of two highly successful regional organisations – Northern Rivers Writers’ Centre and Northern Rivers Screenworks – giving it a strong industry foundation.

Stage one – the open program

AUGUST 2015 – Authors and screenwriters can initially participate through attending a BBWF panel and a BBWF workshop (Storyworld & Adaptations Across Platforms) at the Byron Bay Writers Festival in August 2015.

NOVEMBER 2015 – Screenworks will hold a Books-2-Screen workshop in Byron Bay that will lead authors and screenwriters through the pathways via which books are both adapted and optioned for screen production. (Dates and guest speakers to be announced).

Stage two – the selective mentoring program

In stage two, the focus will be on mentoring small teams (each comprising an author, developing screenwriter and mentor/producer) to develop Books-2-Screen projects to the stage that they can be pitched for option and/or adaptation.

Participants who have gone through stage one can apply for stage two, in which selected authors and screenwriters will work in pairs, supported by an industry mentor (preferably a creative producer), to bring their adaptation or optioning project to pitch readiness.


Books-2-Screen aims to increase the number of Australian books adapted to screen formats by:

  • Developing skills and capacity among Australian authors in presenting their books for screen optioning and adaptation
  • Developing skills and capacity among screenwriters (with a focus on those in the Northern Rivers) in adapting books for screen
  • Providing opportunity for collaborative partnerships between authors and screenwriters
  • Providing access to screen producers and broadcasters.

At a Glance

Workshop Storyworld and Adaptations Across Platforms with Mike Jones, Thursday Aug 6 as part of the Byron Bay Writers Festival
Panel Discussion Adaptation: Books to Screen with Andrew Knight, Mike Jones, Osamah Sami, Phillipa Whitfield Pomeranz, Saturday Aug 8 at the Byron Bay Writers Festival
Workshop Pathways for Adapting and Optioning, November 12th
Mentoring opportunity (date TBC)

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