As great stories are critical behind blockbusters, global film and TV content investors always try to identify promising targets ahead of others. The Taiwan Creative Content Agency (TAICCA) held the first “Book-to-Screen Pitching Event” at Le Méridien Taipei on November 18th. After the submission process in July, TAICCA recommended 23 books for film and TV adaptations. Senior film critics Ryan CHENG, Hsin MA, and Kuang-Cheuh LEE were invited to offer their professional perspectives to investors and scriptwriters.
TAICCA launched the content development program this year, said Chairperson Hsiao-Ching TING, as a long-term service platform. Rather than the traditional jury system, it connected publishers, scriptwriters, and investors, in order to accelerate film and TV adaptations. “The new process engages with studios, producers, and distributors. They are eager to find great stories in Taiwan for film and TV adaptations. We invited three influential film critics in Taiwan. Each of them is experienced and familiar with the industry to envision all kinds of adaptations in the future.”
TAICCA produced a showreel to introduce these 23 books, and film critics talked about titles that impressed them. Well-known film critic Ryan CHENG recommended stories about certain occupations, such as physicians, lawyers, flight attendants, and long-term caregivers, as well as fantasy stories. He was particularly interested in social incidents, such as criminal injustice Youth Without Color (五彩青春) by Juan-Fen CHANG and The River Darkens (黑水) by Ping Lu (平路) adapted from the Mommouth dual murder case.
Hsin MA also noticed the abundance of stories about professional occupation. She looked forward to genres of criminal investigation, horror, and young romance from this year’s selection. With outstanding books that resonated with specific era, adaptations would be easier, she added, “Popular literature is difficult to adapt, but it’s also easier to revive the film and TV industry.”
Audiences in Taiwan were easily attracted to horror stories, said Kuang-Cheuh LEE, but Hollywood versions were less appealing to picky consumers. Instead, stories adapted from folktales or legends were especially popular. After watching many fascinating titles from abroad, viewers in Taiwan could only be satisfied with details and sophisticated narratives. Therefore, stories about unconventional occupations would be more exciting to the audience.
The publishers and authors who attended also expressed their own perspectives. Overjoyed to be recognized for his debut, Ting-Yi LIN (林庭毅) of I Worked as a Writer in a Crime Organization (我在犯罪組織當編劇) said his creative works were often inspired by simple ideas. “Many of us are frustrated with our own lives. If there is really a script of our lives, what would it be?”
The Skybridge (空橋上的少年) author Po-Hsin TSAI (蔡伯鑫) was also grateful for the recognition stating that he hopes “this story would be comforting to readers.”
Millionstar Executive Mei-Wen HSUEH (薛美文) was excited about Ghost Lottery (鬼樂透), and hoped original IPs in Taiwan could be adapted into various forms, such as film, TV series, games, comics, and animations. With six titles on the list, the editor of Showwe Information Co., Heero (喬齊安), looked forward to exploring more development options.
TAICCA also prepared video clips for 23 books in the first round and 30 books in the second round, so more investors and producers could more easily notice these titles on site.
TAICCA gathered over 35 investors and producers in Taiwan, including television companies, studios, telecoms, and streaming service providers. Across verticals in content industries, they can offer market-oriented insights to content creators in Taiwan. Besides social issues, popular genres among investors include business life, romance, and comedy. Publishers have also submitted many stories about BL, suspense, and fantasy. It indicates content diversity from the creator’s side, and how many viewers are willing to embrace all kinds of stories.
Under the content development program, TAICCA hopes to support content industries in quality and quantity and bring the best creators from Taiwan to the world.
TAICCA’s book-to-screen content development program: