This post is sponsored by LUV, a new social app for romance authors and fans where you can connect with authors, actors, publishers, and industry insiders to celebrate all things romance – in your books, and on your screens!
I connected with Beth Stevenson, Founder and CEO of Brain Power Studios, the production company behind many of the romance novel adaptations you might have seen on Netflix, Lifetime, and Hallmark. Brain Power adapted Shannon Stacey’s Snowbound with the CEO for film, for example, and it was released as Snowbound for Christmas.
BrainPower has launched the LUV app, a new romance community that connects authors and fans with producers, actors, plus film and publishing industry folks to celebrate romance in many marvelous formats, and demystify the process of adapting books for film and television.
There’s a lot of discussion about the resurgence of romcom films, especially with Anyone But You earning more than $100 million worldwide, and with how many people avidly curate their holiday romance movie watching in November and December each year. I learned a lot from this conversation about film adaptation, and how the LUV app is connecting authors and fans with producers and actors, and providing “an insider’s look at the industry.”
Sarah: I know that BrainPower is behind many of the romance adaptations on Hallmark, Lifetime, and Netflix. Why as a filmmaker did you decide to launch LUV, a dedicated romance platform for fans and creators?
Beth: Part of the reason LUV started is that myself and other producers, we go to conferences all year round, like Cannes in the South of France twice a year in April and October.
Sarah: I’m so sorry. That’s just terrible.
Beth: It’s brutal. However, when we went to the RWA, we looked around and we said, there is not one other producer here. Our industry is small, and from top to bottom, we know everyone. And we just thought that it was wrong. I mean, it’s to have an incredible amount of creative storytellers in one place, all of them.
We didn’t really understand why our fellow producer colleagues were not seeing this incredible opportunity to come and meet face to face.
Not only should we be doing more with authors, but we really want to be an advocate for authors in the film and television space and connect them to other decision makers and other production companies
On the production company side of things, I think [our producer colleagues] felt that doing an adaptation of a book was a very complex journey. So that’s why we’ve created this platform. There is a path. They need to know that there’s no mysticism of doing a book deal.
With LUV, we realized what we could do in terms of being that conduit and being able to to take their dreams and aspirations and just even understanding the film and television business a little bit more.
Where do things come from? How do the films get made? What is the decision making process to demystify some of that?
Sarah: What will new members find in the LUV app?
Beth: First and foremost, we really wanted to bring the screenwriters together with the authors. Members get that direct behind the scenes information about the film and television industry. We’ve held several live events and virtual events, and all of those are videos that are included on the app.
Sarah: I saw that! There’s a three-part online seminar on adapting your novel, and behind the scenes secrets to screenwriting, casting, and music. That’s very cool.
Beth: We hosted a contest to get your book turned into an audiobook, which is a tremendous opportunity, and we plan to host more contests, too. LUV members also learn how to get to know each of the networks and what they’re looking for, learning the legal implication of standards. What it means to sell your book rights and what your expectations should be.
And that’s information coming directly from one of our experts on our side, who has closed six to 10 or more deals a year on the publishing side of things. So I think from an author perspective, it is to find not only like minded authors who are also kind of congregating there and sharing, but also to have the opportunity to see the ongoing insider information behind the scenes.
It’s practical too: we’ve set up pitch sessions, we try to figure out how we can best match-make some of the pitches with our producer friends who are on the app.
I was just at a conference last week with a very high up decision maker at Hallmark, and I was able to take him through the whole app and how it worked. And he said, I don’t know why all my development executives are not on this app. And I said, I’d be happy to fly to Los Angeles and take them all through.
Sarah: So not only is it demystifying the process of adaptation, but it’s connecting people in real time. I get that: I miss being able to talk to people online about the things that I was interested in. It’s quite an opportunity to have that same collaborative environment in a format that is specifically focused on connecting different elements of the production process. What else can readers find on LUV?
Beth: I think it’s the proximity to the behind the scenes, both from the author perspective as well as the reader perspective. There are fun daily posts and conversations, and free books as well.
And we have a lot of actors that are also on the site, too, and they’ll post as well. Unfortunately, some of their social tending has to do directly with whether they get parts or not, like, casting departments sit there and go, well, how much is your following and all of this kind of stuff. So there’s a more “broccoli sense” to social media for the actors.
Sarah: Broccoli sense! What a good way to put that. When you are looking at a romance novel or a novella, what do you think are the elements that makes for the most attractive candidacy for adaptation?
Beth: It’s a challenge to answer the question, because it’s an alchemy, right? When we are looking for books, we’re definitely looking for things that are original, that no one else has. We have all the movies that have been released for the last six or seven years: what were the protagonists? What was the setting? How did they do it? We need to make sure that that hasn’t really been done before.
Sarah: So metadata is always King.
Beth: Metadata is king. And be a viewer yourself! Go and watch Hallmark, watch Lifetime, watch BET+, watch what’s coming out and is being produced. And then not try to mimic it, but say, wow, I’ve got something that could be a little different.
Sarah: Where can people find the LUV app?
It’s available on Apple and in Google Play, and online: checkoutluv.com.
Thank you to LUV and to Beth Stevenson for connecting with us!