Several regular visitors to TVWriter™ have suggested we run the following article, and accommodating sorts that we are, we’re giving it a whirl…even though we can’t tell if this is a view into a wonderful future for creators and viewers…or the mightiest piece of P.R. flimflam since, well, since the last mightiest piece thereof?
What do you think?
How young writers are busting into Hollywood with machine learning-fueled Wattpad
by Makeda Easter
At 14, Katarina Tonks thought she was going crazy. A teenager with an overactive imagination in a small New Jersey town, Tonks wondered if it was normal to have so many stories in her head. So she talked to her psychologist mother, who recommended she take up writing. A quick internet search led her to Wattpad, an online social platform where anyone can write and share stories.
“I opened up a document that day and started writing,” says Tonks, now 23. “It totally changed the way I was expressing my imagination and the way I was imagining these characters. It turned into my outlet.” An outlet that just happens to have some 70 million readers — many of whom aren’t shy about sharing their opinions.
Tonks found that out when around 15 she started writing her second story on the platform, “Death Is My BFF.” The dark romance exploring a relationship between the Angel of Death and a young woman caught on with Wattpad readers, who shared thoughts on their favorite characters and plot twists as Tonks expanded the story into a book series. Based on the response of fans — plus the input of a professional editor — Tonks rewrote the series, whose books in their original and updated forms have racked up nearly 62 million accumulated reads on Wattpad.
It was only a matter of time before Hollywood took notice. Last year, Wattpad Studios — which is responsible for adapting the platform’s most successful stories for the entertainment industry — brought Tonks’ story to television producer Paul Shapiro, who then hammered out an acquisition deal for “Death Is My BFF” with Sony Pictures Television.
“[Shapiro] told me on the phone he had certain criteria and mine hit the mark in every spot he wanted,” Tonks says.
Whether Tonks’ project will be produced is still unknown, but it wouldn’t be the first Wattpad story to go to Hollywood….