From the Page to the Screen

Ever wonder what it would be like to watch the characters you have conceived come to life in film? Well, I have.

After spending almost two years crafting a screenplay myself, I’m looking forward to hearing what author Sue Kenney has to share about the process.

Almost a decade ago, Sue walked the just-under 800 kilometre medieval pilgrimage route called the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain. I admit my feet hurt just thinking about it, but for her, it was the perfect reaction to having been downsized out of her corporate telecom job. Her story of the experience, My Camino, was a Canadian bestseller and the film rights were quickly optioned. 

Fast forward four and a half years. Sue has spent that time working with writer/producer Bruce Pirrie to move the adaptation through the development process. It seems that only about two per cent of all books get optioned for film and a small margin of authors actually get their hands on the screenplay during the conversion.

Sure, we’d all love to see our stories on the screen. From the sound of things, it’s a grueling journey. Maybe I can skirt some of the anguish by learning from Sue’s experiences. Maybe you can to.I’ve only lived with my film characters for a few years and can already imagine the challenges, surprises and compromises that would await me if I were to try adapting a screenplay for shooting. I’ll need to ask Sue how she managed to hang on to her sanity throughout the long, arduous process. I’m intrigued to hear about these so-called rules she broke.

We’re thrilled Sue is able to join us at this year’s Ontario Writers’ Conference. Don’t miss her speak at “From Book to Screenplay” as part of our 4 p.m. lecture series. 

Sue Kenney has written two books, My Camino and Confessions of a Pilgrim, both about her experiences on the Camino. She is a filmmaker, stageplay and screenplay writer. Presently, she is working on a third book and walks barefoot everyday.

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