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Ben McSweeney AMA ()
#1 Copy

TsorovanSaidin

How awesome an anime do you think Stormlight would make?

Ben McSweeney

OH MY GOD SO AWESOME.

I am biased, as an animator, of course. But I think the world of Roshar is too fantastic and unique to be anything other than fully animated. If you do it with actors, they're gonna do it in the big green rooms, and that so rarely works out well.

I'd be content with a CG animated series (Shardplate kinda begs it), but it'd be a lot trickier to do well. That being said, I've seen some really great CG, so it could be done.

TsorovanSaidin

I'm so happy you agree. I've been a pretty huge fan of Knights of Sidonia on Netflix. That's a perfect style for Plate in my opinion.

Ben McSweeney

KoS is pretty great (awesome manga, too), but the cines for Guilty Gear Xrd are just sick.

Game cinematics offer the best examples of quality, but it's not easy to get a studio in the range of Plastic Wax or Blur to dedicate the resources required for a full feature or a 22x12/24 series. Well, mostly it's just crazy expensive. But costs are always adjusting, the field is expanding, and we've got a lot of books left to publish before anyone's adapting it for animation or film.

ari54x

I think some of the 2.5d CG animation they do could work well for Stormlight- you know, where it's mostly illustrated but some action scenes use cell-shaded 3d models as a reference for the perspective and animation so it's really spot-on? That would be really cool.

Ben McSweeney

Oh, it's entirely feasible. Just a matter of the right budget with the right people at the right time. 'Course, that's a tricky triumvirate. :)

ari54x

Definitely. I'm hoping White Sand does well as a start to prove that drawing Brandon's work is a good idea.

Ben McSweeney

I think it might. And if nothing else, it's one more branch on the tree. Reaching out to new audiences is almost always a good strategy. :)

MisCon 2018 ()
#2 Copy

Questioner

Are you worried if DC goes into a more gritty antihero sort of thing, it will edge out the place for Steelheart?

Brandon Sanderson

Nah. I'm not even sure Steelheart has a place. Superheroes are so played out. I don't think I would fund a Steelheart movie right now. It was really fun to write because of my superhero background; doing a superhero deconstruction like that was a lot of fun. But, I mean, I don't know if I would go see it if someone else had made it as a movie. There's so much superhero fatigue right now.

I'm not worried about that. I would rather them just make great movies. I don't need my movies to get made. I'll be excited if we ever do get some made. I mean, I'm doing my thing. I'm really having fun doing my thing, right? I don't need my thing to necessarily get to the big or small screen for it to--

In my dream of dreams, I get to be Stan Lee. I get to make something that people really love and that comes together in a really cool way later on... I don't necessarily want to wait as long as Stan Lee had to wait.

JordanCon 2018 ()
#3 Copy

Questioner

If you had a choice for a game format, would you go single-player story? Or would you go multiplayer?

Brandon Sanderson

For a video game? I would do single-player probably. 'Cause that's what I play most of, myself. If I could do anything, I would probably do a Mistborn video game, single-player, with a strong narrative.

General Reddit 2018 ()
#4 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

You guys might find this amusing. I read this threat [about Andrzej Sapkowski suing CD Projekt Red] last night at about 3:00, and came REALLY close to posting, "Dear CD Projekt. You can have the Mistborn rights, if you want them..." But this was looking like it would explode as a thread, and I REALLY didn't want to wake up to several hundred replies in my inbox. I have work to do today...

In all seriousness, I'd love to do something with CDPR. They've made by far the best book-to-video game adaptations ever. It's the sort of thing the rest of us salivate over--if for the simple reason that the entire genre (books, film, and games) benefit from something high-quality on the market like the Witcher games.

I would seriously consider giving CD Project Red the rights to my books for free, because the overall cultural impact that a great story adaptation can have is enormous. Though...I suspect they're done dealing with self-important fantasy authors, and are likely more interested in creating their own new IPs.

Brandon Sanderson

Well, this kind of exploded, didn't it!

I appreciate the outpouring of enthusiasm and kind words in this thread, but let's rephrase this title a little. Saying that I'm considering giving them the rights for free implies that I have the option. I haven't talked to CDPR (though I've considered several times sending them an email and seeing if they'd be willing to meet next time I'm in the area.) I'm not in a position to offer them anything. Part of the reason I didn't post in that other thread until I was summoned was because I didn't want to come off as presumptuous.

But...I did read the original article and think, "Man, is Sapkowski crazy? I'd practically kill to have such a high quality adaptation of my work." If you magically gave me the chance to have an adaptation on the level of the Witcher--but with no payment given to me--I'd take that in a heartbeat. I'd much rather know it will be good (or at least be in the hands of someone skillful and passionate) than gamble on big money up front with a risk of bad quality.

Please, though, don't put CDPR on the spot or bother them too much about this. I've had some discussions with those who run video game companies, and I know a little of the stresses put upon them. If something goes wrong with a book I write, and it flops, then I'm the only one who suffers. But video game companies work on tight margins for years, employing the passion and enthusiasm of hundreds, to create a game. They need to pick their projects VERY carefully, because a flop has huge ramifications for all of their employees.

I'll continue to explore getting a good video game adaptation of Mistborn and/or Stormlight--in part because I want to play them myself. But the proper way for me to do this is keep meeting with companies, talking to them, and learning more about their business. I didn't want to hijack a thread about another author to do this, and I feel a little bad that this exploded like it did.

(That said, you guys are awesome.)

General Reddit 2018 ()
#5 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

I've had to hide this news for a long time. It was almost one year ago that the Dark One outline finally snapped together for me at long last. We had interest almost immediately from Fremantle, and I've done multiple flights to LA to chat with them about it. I think this one might finally be the real deal when it comes to a Sanderson adaptation--which is amusing, considering we don't have any books for Dark One yet. But if this goes forward, I'll be sure to write some.

Aurimus_

I'm a big fan of this multimedia approach, but I'm wondering what inspired it. Was it your idea or Fremantle's? Is this an experiment for other properties in the future at all? A lot of us on the 17th Shard discord have discussed the sheer size of Stormlight, for example, and worry about DMG either going the Hobbit route (hours upon hours of content for a single book, which'll really rack up even by the time we reach OB), or missing out on a ton of content. If Dark One pans out well, would you use this multimedia approach for Stormlight? (I'm a big fan of the idea of a Black Mirror style show for the interludes, but straight up separating them from the rest of the books would take a lot away, especially with characters such as Szeth and Venli)

Brandon Sanderson

With Dark One, I've pounded myself against the idea for years. Finally, I sat down with it and said, "What if I were going to design this for a television show or graphic novel first?" Using Stranger Things and the recent Westworld reboot as guides, I dug into a parallel narrative--half in our world, half in another world. A kind of dark "portal fantasy" story.

It came out as an eight episode outline that I really liked, with a solid outline for two prequel novels about the previous generation. (Characters still important in the episode outline.) With this in hand, I took it to Hollywood and said, "If you guys are interested in doing the episodes, I'm interested in writing these books--and we can intertwine them in a (hopefully) very cool way."

Fremantle was on board immediately. (They'd been intrigued by Dark One from a one-page outline they'd seen, back before I did this new treatment.)

Warning: I can't say how much of my original outline will end up in the show; I've never written for a television show before, and the showrunner will know better than I will what will or won't work. But (theoretically) the graphic novels will follow the outline pretty closely.

If this works, will I apply it to the Cosmere? That's the goal. I do like the idea of getting some experience with TV/Film through non-cosmere projects, particularly as we see how things shake out these next few years in regards to TV/film distribution.

cusoman

Brandon, I'm curious how you see the same scenario playing out with Cosmere material considering the material already exists and the opportunity for the same intertwining wouldn't be quite the same. Unless of course you go back and interweave new stories with the already completed books?

Very excited to see what comes of this venture! I've loved the concept from the moment you first mentioned it and I can't think of a better way to see it come alive than how you're doing it here.

Brandon Sanderson

I can't really say at this point. There are just too many variables. There are a lot of ways these things could be approached, however.

State of the Sanderson 2018 ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Movie/Television Updates

So, let's talk about movies.

People tend to get really excited about news of my books being adapted—and rightly so. I'd be very excited to someday see one of my properties turn into a film, and I think it's inevitable that some day, we'll see it happen. However, the process of a book becoming a film or television show is a long one, involving the input of a lot of people. And fans tend to get very excited when something is being developed, but often don't realize that the stages of development can often take a long time.

I thought it might be helpful here to go over what some of those steps are, so you can get a better idea of how far along my various properties are. Understand that this is a rough guide, and individual properties might follow a different route. This is also kind of an outsider's take on it all, as I don't consider myself an expert in Hollywood. Those who know more about the ins and outs of the business would probably consider this a gross over-simplification.

Step One: Producers Option a Story

In Hollywood terms an "option" is kind of like a rental agreement. The most common way a story starts on its path to an adaptation is with an option. (Sometimes, there's even a step before this called a Shopping Agreement.) Basically, someone (usually a producer, but sometimes a studio) comes in and offers to pay an author every year to "option" their work, meaning the producer/studio gets exclusive rights to make a film on that work. They don't buy the rights completely, however. Usually, they set a buyout price, then pay 5/10% of that price every year or so to keep the option locked up. This gives them time to put all the other pieces together for a film without needing to commit to paying the full buyout price until they're certain the film is going to happen.

My agent once told me that about 1 out of 30 of the properties he saw get optioned eventually got made into a film or show. An option is absolutely an important step, but a lot of times fans see an option agreement in place and start expecting a film any day—when really, this is just the first exploratory step in the process. Sometimes, producers even option rights they never intend on making into films. (I once had a producer brag to me that he—in order to make sure nobody in town was trying to sell something similar to his property—had bought up all rights to similar books for cheap, with the intention of sitting on them for five years to make sure he didn't have any competition. I was not impressed, to say the least.)

Step Two: Screenplay

Usually, after the option agreement is signed, a screenplay is commissioned for a film. For a television show, it will either be a screenplay for a pilot, or some kind of series bible or "treatment," a kind of outline that talks about the process the group would use in adapting the property.

This screenplay, treatment, or bible is what the producers will take around town to try to get studios, directors, and actors interested in a property. A book being successful is interesting to Hollywood, but what they rightly want to see is if that book can be made into a workable screenplay. Often, this process takes years, as a screenplay/teleplay will be commissioned—then go through several rewrites. Sometimes, the producers will decide to hire a second or even third screenwriter to do a pass on the script, if they decide it needs another take or specific revisions.

Step Three: Studio Interest

With screenplay in hand, the producers will approach the studios or larger production companies. (Or sometimes content distributors, like Netflix.) The goal here is to get interest from parties with deep pockets and the power to actually make a film. This step can occasionally be skipped if a studio was involved from the beginning. (This has happened with several of my properties.) Sometimes, the studio might be interested—but send the producers back to step three to do more revisions before offering any kind of official deal or promise of distribution. Sometimes, the producers will need to secure promises from multiple parties—like, for instance, they might get a smaller studio in the US interested, then have to get a foreign partner interested to provide funding for overseas distribution promises.

Step Four: Attaching Talent

With a screenplay in hand and the backing of a studio or similar group, the producers can now try to get a director or actor on board with the film. This crucial step will have a big influence on how/if the film will get made. Obviously, if you get a major director interested, that makes the studios sit up and take notice. Likewise if a major actor attaches to the project. For television, this often involves getting an established show runner attached. (In my experience, with television, sometimes this sort of thing happens in Step Two instead—with the showrunner being involved in the pitch documents. In that case, Step Three is the big one: getting someone big in the business to fund a pilot.)

Step Five: Actual Green Light

Finally, if all the pieces come together, you get what is called a green light. The film is scheduled for shooting, the studio commits a large chunk of money to the project, and people start getting hired. This is when the option actually gets exercised, and the author gets the payment for the contract they likely signed years and years ago. Once in a while, a group of producers will decide that the property they hold is big enough that (once their option period runs out) they decide to pay the buyout price to get more time to try to get the film made. Sometimes, instead, they'll just agree with the author to extend the option period for another payment.

Step Six: Film Gets Made

I've never gotten here, but I hear it's a lovely experience.

So, with that in mind, I can tell you where each of my properties are. Unfortunately, I won't be able to name a lot of names. For instance, if a director is interested but hasn't signed on officially, it's not my place to announce them as being involved. Likewise, if some producers have offered to option something, but we don't have signed paperwork, it's generally best if I stay quiet about the details so that they can do publicity on the deal in the way they would like.

EuroCon 2016 ()
#7 Copy

Questioner

So, of course we need to ask you to start about something which is important, which is the sale to DMG of the rights for the Cosmere. Now it's not just, I mean, it's the champion's lake that we're talking about, right? You're at the same level as many very important authors, and the rights will be sold to the cinema, TV, and so on, so forth, the Cosmere books, which can be about thirty. My question is, are you excited about that? Are you scared, or both? Because you know that when dreams come true, sometimes it's not as nice as it seems. So, the question is, now that you have made your dream come true, will you think that you were better when you were writing and having that dream, or is it okay now?

Brandon Sanderson

A writer I once read got asked what he thought of the bad movie that got made from his book. Actually, the phrasing of the question is, "What do you think of what they did to your book?" And I have always remembered his response, which was, "My book is the same. It's right there. They did nothing to my book; they made a bad movie." My dream is not to make movies, my dream is to write books, and I am living that dream right now. Now, the chance of having a good movie come out is exciting to me. I wouldn't have sold the rights if I didn't want to take that chance, and hopefully we'll get some great movies and great television shows, but if we don't, I still am writing books, and my books are what I started this to do. I am going into this with my eyes wide open. I have had some good friends who had some terrible movies made of their films and I have talked to them about their experience, and I am willing to risk that happening. You can't get a Game of Thrones if you don't risk an Eragon.

Skyward Houston signing ()
#8 Copy

Questioner

I wanted to ask have you ever considered making any of your books into an animated series?

Brandon Sanderson

I would! If the right people approached me, I would certainly not turn that away. I think there are more people wanting to get series made than there are people making good ones, but I would jump on it if the right people came along.

Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
#9 Copy

Questioner

Has anyone approached you about making a movie?

Brandon Sanderson

A few people are laughing because we did sell rights to the entire cosmere this summer.

*cheers*

Some people are like terrified by that news. So what happened is there is a company that optioned the Emperor's Soul, just itself. They really liked it. They're like, "We're gonna do Emperor's Soul." They're a Chinese company, DMG. Iron Man 3 was one of their things that they helped produce and stuff like that. So they've done some cool stuff. And I'm like, "Sure, I'll sell Emperor's Soul." And then they read Emperor's Soul and they're like, "Huh, this is connected to Elantris," so they read Elantris. And then they started reading and then they dove into the cosmere. And I still remember when I called one of the people from DMG to see how things are going and he was  just like, "I just started reading the cosmere and I just spent 20 hours on the fan websites and things." And so they came back to me a few months later and said, "Has anyone optioned the cosmere?" And I'm like well, "Mistborn is under rights to someone but the rest of the rights are available." So they started negotiations to buy the entire cosmere. Then when Mistborn lapsed from the people who had that, they bought that too, to fold them all in, and then they made the announcement, "we have the cosmere".

People were very confused when they saw, the "we have the cosmere," because they were working on The Way of Kings and Emperors Soul but they didn't have Mistborn, which is the one that makes the most sense to do. They immediately put that into production but they're further along on Way of Kings and Emperor's Soul.

I sold to them because they seemed to get it. Anything in Hollywood is a gamble, I can't promise this will even happen, but they get it. They understand the cosmere, they're behind this, they want to do these films the right way. So I am very excited and eager and I will keep you guys up to date as we know more.

Though as a side note, every time something really cool happens to me, Pat Rothfuss, who is a good friend, kicks down the door, saunters in, and says, "Hey Sanderson, guess what? Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote Hamilton, is writing The Name of the Wind. How's that sound?" So, I'm like, "Oh Pat, oh every time..." If you haven't heard that, Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Hamilton guy, is attached to Name of the Wind. So that looks like it's going very well also. I'm actually very eager. I think it's a really good match. It's just funny to me, I make my announcement then and Pat's like, "Oh by the way, better announcement!"

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#10 Copy

Questioner

So what are your thoughts on the Wheel of Time pilot?

Brandon Sanderson

The Wheel of Time pilot? I... think... See this is kind of on the record because of the recording. I think the actors and the director are to be praised for doing so much with so little time. I don't think it should have been made and I don't think it is a good direction for The Wheel of Time to be going. But that is in part because I know Harriet was not pleased with it.

Firefight San Francisco signing ()
#14 Copy

Questioner

I wanna know about Alloy of Law, if there was an actor who was going to play Wayne, who would you--

Brandon Sanderson

Oh who would I cast to play Wayne in Alloy of Law? I have no idea. I don't cast characters. I pay a lot of attention to directors but I feel like the best actors are the ones that always surprise you. Like if you were to tell me Matthew McConaughey was doing what he did these last couple of years, if you would have said that ten years ago, I would have laughed at you right, because the best actors can do so many different things. So I don't know, I have no idea who I'd cast. The only actors I've ever really cast in my books, if you guys have read... Legion, about a guy who's schizophrenic but not really, he sees hallucinations but they help him solve crimes; I cast all the hallucinations as actors, so if you pay close attention you can tell who each of these hallucinations are because a lot of them are famous actors. Except for Kalyani who's a friend of mine.

Firefight Houston signing ()
#16 Copy

Questioner 1

So, last time you were here, I know that the Mistborn movie had kinda fell through. Any other nibbles, are we gonna see something?

Brandon Sanderson

Any other nibbles? ...So, Mistborn had just fallen through last time. We did resell Mistborn, and I've seen the treatment. So, the steps to getting a film made. Start with them giving me money. *laughter* The important part. Step two is usually a treatment, this is where they take the book and they do, not a full screenplay, but kind of a ten-page summary adaptation of what they're going to cut, what they're going to add, that they will then hand to a screenwriter. Next step would be to give that to the screenwriter that they hire, who they usually have hired, and have them do a screenplay of it. Next step then, generally, is going to people with lots of money and say "Hey, will you fund this?" Conversely, they can go to people who are content-makers, like a director or the talent, so to speak, or a star, and get them attached. So, when one of those happens, it's easier to get the other ones. And then, finally, is a green light. So, you can see, we're right at the beginning again. We had gotten to the screenplay stage last time, but the screenplays were just not that great, and the people who were doing it before were just not very powerful in Hollywood. I love them, they were great guys, but they came to me very early on, and so it was a longshot.

So, the new treatments are very good. I'm hopeful for what's happening there. For other things, we have The Emperor's Soul, in works with DMG. They worked with Marvel on the Iron Man films. They're a part of the funding company for those. We have just sold Steelheart to Fox. Specifically, to the producer and director of Real Steel (which is a great film, if you haven't seen it) and the Night at the Museum movies. And then, we have one more in the works... Legion. We have a Legion television show in the works.

So, as far as I know, the Wheel of Time rights have lapsed, and there's a discussion of what to do with those now. Because the people trying to make a film of those were not able to get a film made. They should have been doing a television show all along, I know, but-- Anyway. So there we are, that's how it stands, and the video game is still kinda spinning its heels as well.

Questioner 1

So, have they optioned the first trilogy, or just the first book? How does that work?

Brandon Sanderson

With Mistborn, they have optioned the entire thing. They basically optioned the whole world. Though, the people who have The Emperor's Soul, it's very fun, because they started to go down the cosmere rabbit hole. Yes, for those who don't know, my epic fantasy books are all connected, and they're all in the same universe. And so, their guy they assigned to it, the studio exec, read the book, and he's like, "Ah, there's some references to other things." And he went and read those, and he went and read those, and now he's read everything. He called me, and he's like, "Uhhhhh...." He's flown out twice to try to get a handle on the whole cosmere thing, what they can put in, what they can't put in. They wanna have a Hoid cameo at the very least, and stuff like that. So that's been very, very fun.

Questioner 2

Will you be able to advise on these movies? Do you have any creative control at all?

Brandon Sanderson

Do I have creative control, or can I advise? Well, in several of the contracts, mostly the Mistborn and the Emperor's Soul one, I have executive producer roles. In Hollywood, executive producer is the throwaway credit, though. That's one that they pat you on the head, bring out out, let you watch, and then they give you, like, a chair with your name on it you can take home or something, I don't know. They've been very easy to work with so far, so I have confidence that they would allow me, and in both contracts we got the requirement that I can come on-set anytime I want to, not just the one time, which is good. And they've taken my advice on the treatments. I am not powerful enough to get anything more than that. You have to be, like, two levels above me before you can really get any influence in Hollywood. Even, like, Tom Clancy, when he was starting, couldn't. JK Rowling could. And people like that. So, if I can get a good film made, and it takes off, I think all future contracts I'll have more influence, but right now I'm just kind of up to what they will let me.

YouTube Livestream 35 ()
#17 Copy

Questioner

Are there any other actors that you currently have in your mind-canon?

Brandon Sanderson

People have really converted me to Lance Reddick for Sazed. That was not in my head, but the fans have been persistent, and now it's hard to imagine anyone else.

I really don't have a lot of other people, though. I have never been one who does a lot of fan-casting, even for my own books or for other things, because I believe in the power of... like, there are casting directors. Really good casting directors are amazing. I would not have imagine anyone who ended up doing the new Star Trek movies, but that cast was just so good and so perfect. I like seeing that; people are experts in this. Like, the Lord of the Rings films. People are really good; it's their entire job to figure out how to match actors to roles. And actors, turns out, are really good at being different types of people.

Other than The Rock as Rock, which obviously is too perfect.

Firefight Seattle Public Library signing ()
#18 Copy

Questioner

...I'm actually a video game designer.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh cool.

Questioner

And the one thing that I kept thinking as I was reading The Stormlight Archive was "Oh my god. I want to play that" Is there any, kind of, y'know-- Do you see those moving in to some other media besides just books, or video games or...

Brandon Sanderson

Excellent question. So, other media. I like video games a lot. I remember-- You're going to get a lot of stories tonight, this is what happens, I'm a storyteller-- I was 11 years old, my father shipped me off to visit my uncle for the first time on my own. Got on the airplane and everything, went to Utah from Nebraska. And my dad gave me two hundreds, two one hundred dollar bills, he said "Pay for your food" and things like this... *laughter* You're laughing you know what happens. I just let my uncle pay for everything and at the end of it my conscience had gotten to me and I said "Uncle [Don?] my dad gave me money, I should give this to you to pay for the food". And he just laughed at it, like "No you're not going to do that. We're going to the mall right now. We're going to spend that money because if you don't your dad will take it back" And I went and I bought a Nintendo, original NES, with my two hundred dollars at KB Toys. And I came back with it and my dad was like "Where did you get that?"

I love video games and I want to be involved-- Which is why, some of you have watched, I did the novellas for Infinity Blade, which is a video game. Which you can read online but if you havenit played the games they won’t make any sense. I'm just going to warn you right there. I am involved-- We have sold the rights to Mistborn as a video game, but we have entered some development problems, the video game industry is almost as bad as the movie industry when it comes to delays and things like this. You have studios fall through, get divided, all sorts of things. I'm still hoping but the deal was I got to write the story and all the dialogue for the video game. It's going to be-- We are going to do it-- an action RPG, the model I told them I wanted to use was Infamous, which was one of my favorites from lately, in the Mistborn world. If we can get that working then I bet I can get a Stormlight book turned into a video game.

As movies go, movies are even harder. I was on the phone with movie producers right before I came here. I got a phone call, and we're doing a lot of that, talking with them, we've sold a lot of rights, we've seen a lot of scripts, but nothing's ever been made. So right now we have Legion, Emperor's Soul, Mistborn, and Steelheart all have significant motion but far from actually done. And The Wheel of Time is kind of off-again, on-again, off-again, on-again with adaptations. I think television show is what they are currently working towards.

State of the Sanderson 2017 ()
#19 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Movie/Television Updates

Other Properties

Legion and Dark One are currently in negotiations. The rest of the Cosmere is covered by the DMG deal, as we want one company working on that at a time. We have a small deal for Defending Elysium that has it under option with a screenwriter, and the first draft screenplay is good. That leaves AlcatrazThe Rithmatist, and a couple of shorts (DreamerPerfect StateFirstborn) with no options right now.

State of the Sanderson 2018 ()
#20 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Games and Other Licensed Work

I'm interested in doing some more video game work. Ever since I got to be part of the Infinity Blade games, I've had the itch to do this again. Right now though, there is nothing in the works that I can announce—I've had some short preliminary conversations with game studios, but no contracts. I'll continue to look at doing this, and will announce what I can, when I think something might actually be happening.

Unfortunately, Mistborn: Birthright never came together. (Though I'm on very good terms with the folks there.) And you can ignore any rumors about CD Projekt Red. Some fans got hyped when I said I liked them as a studio—and some news sites even picked it up as a story, for some reason. But that was just me mentioning in a random post that I think they do good work. I've never met with them—or talked to them—and have no reason to believe they even know who I am.

Video games aside, we do have some exciting and fun licensed properties that we've been working on, and I figured I should have a section in the State of the Sanderson for updates on these.

Shadows of Self San Jose signing ()
#22 Copy

Questioner

I was wondering if there was any update on the movies, similar to video games?

Brandon Sanderson

The movies are moving along better. They're taking some time, but they are moving along better. I think, right now the farthest along are going to be Steelheart and Emperor's Soul. 

Questioner

Okay. Are they like in production right now?

Brandon Sanderson

No. They are in screenplays. So, yeah, nothing's really gotten done.

Questioner

Are you writing the screenplays?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm writing the treatments.

Questioner

Okay.

Brandon Sanderson

I don't want to write the screenplays but I can do the treatments.

White Sand vol.1 release party ()
#23 Copy

Questioner

So you've branched out into graphic novels. What about other types of media--?

Brandon Sanderson

So the question is, "I've branched out into graphic novels. What about other types of media? TV and things like that." Well a graphic novel is something we can kind of have enough control over to make it happen ourselves. Right? Like I know the people at Dynamite. We can work directly with the writer. We can work directly with the artist. And so a small team can put together a graphic novel. It's more than required to put together a book, like I do, but it's still a small team. It's basically me, the writer, the illustrator, and then Isaac and Peter working on this. So, you know, five people can put this together.

A movie--have you seen the credits scroll? *crowd laughs* I can't really do that on my own. So the best we can hope for is for me to sell the rights, which I've done for most of my properties, and hope that someone in Holywood can actually make a film out of them that's good. And that's just a roll of the dice. So, yes we're trying. It is slow. Watch my website--we'll say if there's any news. There really isn't right now. Fox has *Steelheart*. They've been doing work on the screenplay, which looks good. But, you know, the screenplay is the easy step--the next two steps are the hard ones.

General Reddit 2018 ()
#24 Copy

Vrlover123

How is [Rithmatist] not a VR game yet.

Brandon Sanderson

I have tried for years to get one made, and would love to do it. I also am fine with (not for profit) fan creations in most instances.

The problem has always been that people who are interested in making a Rithmatist game don't have enough experience in the industry to really make me think they could do a good job with it. (I have had a lot of offers from first-time game makers, for example.) However, the sales of the book--while good--are not enough to interest big game makers. (Where we've had trouble even getting something like a Mistborn game made, a series with several multiples more fans than the Rithmatist.)

Shadows of Self Portland signing ()
#26 Copy

Questioner

Do you have any plans <for, like, having any of your novels made into graphic novels>?

Brandon Sanderson

"Would I like to have any of my novels made into graphic novels?" We're actually doing one right now. I've hit-- I've kept away from doing this for a while because I didn't want to just give people the same story. So <I kept thinking>, "Oh, I'll write a side story for something." But then that requires so much time for me, that if I were going to do that I'd just release it as a novel. So we <caught> this kind of weird place where I wasn't sure what to do. But then my agent pitched taking one of my books that was unpublished during my days that I was trying to break in, that was pretty good, and had a good magic system, but needed a lot of editing. And said, "Why don't we do that? Because we can edit it during the same time that we're preparing the graphic novel, and then do a graphic novel version." And that turned out really well. We got another writer to help me and do the writing-- someone who knew comic books. And the script turned out fantastic, so we sent it in as being turned in. They've done 5 out of 6 issues. And it will be 18 issues, but they'll issue them in 6-issue clumps. They actually will only be graphic novels, there won't be-- And there will be three of those. So the first of those should come out next year. The first six. It's called White Sand. If you want to read the book, I do send that book out to people who just write to me. Because I don't think the book as it stands is good enough to charge you for. So be aware that if-- But it was written about the same time as Elantris, and it's just a little worse than Elantris.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#27 Copy

Questioner

Did I read that they were going to make a movie out of Mistborn?

Brandon Sanderson

The question is-- Somebody bought the rights. The question is whether they are actually going to use them for anything, and that I can't say. I really like the people who have them.

Questioner

Would you be involved in it if--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. I would be involved.

Questioner

How much?

Brandon Sanderson

The contracts say I have to be able to go to the set at any time.

Questioner

You wouldn't be helping writing the screenplay?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh I don't write screenplays, it's a different skill. I think you do an expert do what an expert does. But so far they have sent me all of the stuff they've done and I've given feedback and they've taken it. It's a good sign.

Questioner

In your opinion what percent--

Brandon Sanderson

How close?

Questioner

--that they are going to start it.

Brandon Sanderson

15?

Questioner

That small?

Brandon Sanderson

That's high. I think that's very high for this business. My agent says one out of 30 gets made.

Questioner

So what's the criteria they would--

Brandon Sanderson

Investors, if there are people who are willing to give us a 100 million dollars... So if you happen to know anyone willing to sink a 100 million dollars into a film we could do it tomorrow.

Shadows of Self Houston signing ()
#28 Copy

Questioner

Any more information on like the efforts to go to the movies--

Brandon Sanderson

Oh the movies stuff--

Questioner

--or television or even maybe animated?

Brandon Sanderson

Television or things like this. So for those who don't know, what we do with Hollywood is they come and they option our books. This is where they give us some money not to sell the books to anyone else while they try to get things together to make a film, and most of the time it doesn't pan out. Sometimes it does, but making a film takes a lot of effort, takes a lot of time, so they want to make sure that they've got the rights looked-up while they do that. So it's basically like renting the rights, but it's a rent-to-own, because eventually they have a buy-out price they have to pay, but all the rental payments kind of apply to that. And I have had things for option since 2006 I think, and nothing's ever gotten made, and right now I have under option Mistborn, I have Emperor's Soul, I have Stormlight, I have Steelheart, and Legion just lapsed, so if somebody wants that, let me know. And all of those are in various stages of production, I've chosen production companies that I feel good about, and so I feel good about all of them, but I don't know what the chances are, right.

The most recent one was Steelheart, with Shawn Levy's company, he did Real Steel, that's what convinced me, it's a Richard Matheson story that he adapted. He also did the Night at the Museum films. And they've been really cool, they invited me in, I got to tour Fox Studios, and they're working on a screenplay, I'm hoping that will turn out well but I have really no power to make Hollywood do stuff. Nobody really does, even the people there, I think they're all kind of confused by how it sometimes works out. So I would do animated if the right project came along, and someone offered me, and I thought it looked good. I'm not opposed to that. I'm not opposed to TV. We just have to see who comes to me.

Kraków signing ()
#31 Copy

Questioner/Translator

So this is the question about White Sand. Why did this text become the basis of a comic - this one particular text - and how was the work going on converting White Sand into a graphic novel?

Brandon Sanderson

So White Sand was the very first book that I ever wrote, or at least a bad version of White Sand was the first book I ever wrote. I started it in 1994 and it was terrible. But I liked some of the ideas so years later I gave it another try. And it became my 7th or 8th book; I can never remember which came first: White Sand or Dragonsteel. And it was much better but still not quite where I wanted it to be. So I never ended up publishing it.

When a comic book company in America came to me and asked if I was interested in doing a comic book, it <immediately> sprung to mind. Because they wanted to do an adaptation of one of my books except I didn’t want to do a book that was already published, I wanted something for readers that was new. And I’ve always felt that White Sand was close to being good enough, it was just too long, it needed an edit. So the primary process for adapting it with Rick, who is a UK graphic novel writer involved him taking my text and cutting it way down to just the dialogue and the actions. And he did a fantastic job, we’re very pleased with that, but he did most of the work on that.

Oathbringer Edinburgh signing ()
#32 Copy

Questioner

The casting for these films. Is that just gonna be, like, professional people, or will it be open to the public?

Brandon Sanderson

I have asked them to hold open casting calls. So, I don't know if they'll do it, but I have asked them. We're not even that close yet, though, right? It takes forever. We're not close enough for you to start being eager about that. It's still a few years if-- even if it happens.

Oathbringer release party ()
#33 Copy

Questioner

Any plans for a Mistborn, or just Cosmere, collectible card game?

Brandon Sanderson

Um, yes. Asterisk. It's a hard thing to get going. It would probably be more like a deck building game than a CCG, just 'cause we would sell a box set of something you could draft or something like that, rather than trying to go the whole CCG route.

Orem signing ()
#34 Copy

Questioner

I wondered how involved you are with the board games.

Brandon Sanderson

The board games I usually leave more to my assistants because I don't play board games. The RPG I was, like, all over, right? Reading all the drafts and things like that. But I play Magic, I don't play board games. But my agent loves them and Kara loves them, and so basically when board game stuff happens I say to them, "You guys need to determine if this are any good, because I have no idea."

JordanCon 2021 ()
#35 Copy

Questioner

The Wheel of Time fandom has been talking about the concept of episodes being released weekly, as opposed to a bulk release. Since you're actively trying to adapt things, if you had something adapted into a television show, what would you like to see? And would that depend on which story you're telling? What are your general opinions on that?

Brandon Sanderson

I thought that I would prefer the full dump, until I've started watching several of these Disney+ shows. I think it would depend on the story, it would depend on the format. They can get away with it better on Disney+ because they are properties that people know are worth waiting for. And one of the reasons I released Elantris as a standalone is I'm like, "I want to introduce this to people. I want them to know that I can tell a story," and things like that. So if it were my very first thing, I think I'd be more likely to do a full dump, and just be like, "Here. Trust us. Here is the show; watch the whole thing." People who know more about all of this than me are watching really carefully the ratings and the social engagement and things like that, and I think they will be the ones who ultimately decide, in all of these cases, how to do it.

Skyward Denver signing ()
#36 Copy

Questioner

I was at a book signing in Chicago a few years ago and you were giving out these little Szeth figurines with statistics on the back of them. What ever happened with them? What was that going to be?

Brandon Sanderson

That was me trying to get [Crafty Games] to build a hybrid card game slash-- a deckbuilding/boardbuilding game that still I have hopes will someday happen. It was, you build the board as you build the characters, things like that. They were way more interested in the board game itself, which came out well. It's possible we'll still do the deckbuilding/boardbuilding game. Keep a hold of those Szeth figures.

ICon 2019 ()
#37 Copy

Questioner

If there would be, like, a movie about the... I hope for a movie, I really hope for a movie. *inaudible*

Brandon Sanderson

So, I always promise people [that we'll] try to have open casting calls, but I do not have power over that. So, I tried like... Wheel of Time... I said, "Can you tell me when the castings start happening?" and they already did it. So, they don't necessarily involve the author all that much.

Questioner

No, I wanted to be, like... a concept artist.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, concept artists? Well, the best way to do that would to be working for the people who are doing things like... basically, the concept artists would be hired by the team. For instance, we... if Netflix were to buy one of my books to make an animated thing, it would be the team that they work with in-house. I don't know how a concept artist gets a job for there, but being a concept artist who's worked with Dreamworks or with Netflix, or with some of these people who've done a lot of this sort of thing, improves your chances.

I'm certainly not opposed to it, we've looked into it, and the right team has to come together. I really wanna see how the new generation of animated stuff on Netflix happened, how it works and things like that, before we jump into it. But it is something I'm investigating.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#38 Copy

Questioner

So a lot of your books are very cinematic in nature and lend themselves very well to other forms of media and I was wondering if you had to choose what would you do-- video games...

Brandon Sanderson

I would want to do all of those.

Questioner

All of the things?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, I would love to do a big cross-media sort of deal. Whatever I can get away with, right? So we're doing a White Sand comic book right now, you probably know about that. White Sand, my unpublished novel, we're doing a graphic novel of that. I'm working hard to get the movies made, I will do anything I can get made. Just because I love storytelling in all its different weird varieties.

Questioner

There's the Mistborn dice game, do you know of anything for The Stormlight Archive? If they're ever going to do something with that?

Brandon Sanderson

I think the thing we are going to do with Stormlight Archive-- We're going to try a chasm assault board game. Where you put together chasms and bridges and things like that. That's what we think would work really well. We have a developer-- well game designer who wants to do one of those so we're going to work with them and try to get it made.

#NookTalks Twitter Q&A with Barnes & Noble ()
#39 Copy

ALMTY BAM

Any plans for any adaptations in the near future?

Brandon Sanderson

If, by this, you mean film adaptations--we're trying very hard. Unfortunately, it's up to Hollywood more than it is me.

Stevie Finegan

Would you prefer film or TV adaptations? (If the choice was magically yours)

Brandon Sanderson

Depends on the series. I'd like to see Mistborn and The Reckoners as film, Stormlight and Wax and Wayne as TV.

Shadows of Self Newcastle UK signing ()
#40 Copy

Questioner

Obviously a movie's going to be a long way off, but how much input would you have in it and would it be like what you want compared to what--

Brandon Sanderson

How much input would I have in the movie? That really depends on the producer. I can't-- I'm not powerful enough to get in the contract. I'm actually like two ranks, two like not powerful enough-- the rank of of author above me, George RR Martin's rank, they don't even have the power. It's the rank of author above that, like Jo Rowling or Stephanie Meyer-- they have enough sales that they can demand something in the contract and, you know, I'm a number one bestseller but there's a big leap between me and Stephanie Meyer or JK Rowling and so-- There's-- I would have to say no. With some authors, they just say no; I would roll the dice and gamble on getting a good movie and I try to stay very in touch with the producers, so they know I'm a good resource, and some of them have made use of that, and some of them have made less.

Kraków signing ()
#44 Copy

Questioner/Translator

There are games, comic books and films had been made or are being made based on your novels. How do you coordinate work so there are no, lets say, errors in it and tell something about <that experience>

Brandon Sanderson

Coordinating to make sure there are no errors: I wish that Hollywood would let us do that! Mostly they kinda do what they want to do and then send us what they've come up with. I am working with one company right now that seems like that they are willing to listen a little bit better.

<Throughout> other things that hasn't been particularly difficult. <For> the RPG, I am a gamer, I love RPG and so it's very easy to work with them. In fact where it came from is they came to one of my signings and said "Do you want to make an RPG?" and I'm like "Yeah, I want to make an RPG!". So we had some brainstorming sessions where I told them my favorite styles of game and they built rules that they've thought to match Mistborn and kinds of things I wanted.

We'll see what happens with the movies. They are in development and they're very early in the process.

Steelheart Chicago signing ()
#45 Copy

Argent (paraphrased)

Pat Rothfuss recently worked with the folks from Albino Dragon to create a Kickstarted Name of the Wind deck of cards in which each face card features a character from the book. All those designs were discussed with Pat, and the final result is shaping up to be pretty spectacular. Are there plans, or if not - are you open to planning, - to do something like this for one or more of your own worlds?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

I know about Pat's deck, it's really awesome stuff! I can only say that I do have plans to do something similar, but you will have to wait for Words of Radiance to find out more about it.

DrogaKrolow.pl interview ()
#46 Copy

DrogaKrolow

Who would you like to be the composer, do the music for your movies? Do you have any idea?

Brandon Sanderson

I have never been asked that before! Wow! I have no idea. Right? Like I listen to a lot of soundtracks and I like them all but I'm not an expert in this. Michael Kamen was always my favorite. He's passed away. So we resurrect Michael Kamen and have him do it.

DrogaKrolow

A Lifeless?

Brandon Sanderson

What's that? Yeah, yeah, Michael Kamen the Lifeless.

General Reddit 2021 ()
#47 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

I've come to the mindset that there are two general ways to approach adaptation. One is to try to be very faithful to the actual text, and the other is to redo almost the entire thing for the new medium, while trying to keep the soul of it the same.

I've actually written treatments of Mistborn that do both of these. As an exercise, I did one more recently (for the screen) where I threw out every scene from the book and asked myself, "If I were doing what was absolutely best for a film, but telling the same story, how would I have written this?"

That treatment for that screenplay was very different from the book, while at the same time still being the book--same soul, same characters, same basic plot beats. But no actual scenes from the book except Vin/Elend on the balcony. Everything was approaching the story from a cinematic viewpoint--and I found that in a lot of cases, this new treatment was stronger.

There is, of course, a continuum between these extremes. But it taught me a lot about adaptation. And the Wheel of Time I saw tonight was absolutely worthy to be called the Wheel of Time, even though a lot of the scenes were new.

My perspective is, perhaps, skewed by my experiences. I tend to be someone who LIKES seeing film and television adaptations do new things. That doesn't prevent me from, as a producer on this, warning Rafe of places where I think the fans will prefer he stay closer to the source material. (Indeed, there are lots of places where I would prefer that he did.) But it does let me appreciate what he's doing, and how well it works. And a part of me likes that I can go and treat this as something new, rather than just a clone of something I've already read some two dozen times.

Bands of Mourning release party ()
#48 Copy

Questioner 1

So I hear that you have a director for Steelheart--

Brandon Sanderson

Do we have a director for Steelheart. So Steelheart was purchased by Shawn Levy's company, at Fox, Shawn Levy directed the film Real Steel, which I really like, he also directed the Night at the Museum films, which I enjoy.

Questioner 1

Do you have an idea as to when casting might start?

Brandon Sanderson

So the way this goes-- breaks down for those who aren't aware. First thing they do, usually, when they buy a property is they commission a screenplay. Which they did. Screenplay came in some time in January, I haven't seen it yet they are sending it out for a polish. Once they are satisfied with the screenplay, at that point that's when they go to the studio and try to-- Oh that's when they try to get talent attached. Usually a director, like Shawn Levy is enough talent if he says "Yup, this screenplay turned out good, it's my next project" that would get it a greenlight and they would go to casting. So it's actually going really well. If it weren't a studio deal, if it weren't through Fox, at that point they would have to get some talent attached and then they'd have to convince a studio to give up funding and stuff like this. But if Shawn Levy likes the screenplay and says "Yes I'm doing this" it will then go to casting.

Questioner 2

Would you have any option on the screenplay?

Brandon Sanderson

Would I have any option on the screenplay-- No I do not have any power over the screenplay. No. When you sell rights like this most of the time you just have to hope they do a good job. I feel I gave them a pretty good screenplay in Steelheart in the book itself so I'm hoping Steelheart the book works out as a film.

DrogaKrolow.pl interview ()
#50 Copy

DrogaKrolow

Would you like to see your stories adapted into video games?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. I've tried a couple of times. So far they haven’t worked out. We had someone working on Mistborn for a long time. Video game industry is hard. But-- I mean, there've been some really great games made from books so I hope to have one someday.