Historical Events and Figures

I was super excited to read this post on Film Independent’s Legal Ease blog– “If historical events/figures are open game for the public to write about, when is it necessary to secure nonfiction book rights?

This is a timely subject for me because I have been working on a historical story for which an incredibly detailed and well-written book has been published. I stumbled on this story while reading a historical fiction novel a while back- I knew elements of the story were real and one in particular had me so upset I gave it a Google search. The story turned out to not only be real, it was infinitely more outrageous and dramatic in real life than this fiction book had space for and I had to learn more. A little more Google searching pulled up a fantastic book by a reputable author and historian so I immediately ordered and devoured it.

The amount of research and detail that went into this book is astounding. No stone has been left unturned by this author, and it would provide a great base for the movie I want to write. So I shot off an email and later a follow-up to the author and haven’t heard anything back. This is nerve-wracking for me. Here I am, a nice little indie film producer who has developed an incredible passion for telling this story and now I’m asking a guy to consider trusting me to not screw up his work. And I don’t get an answer. I don’t hold it against him in any way, shape or form, I’m sure he is very busy and who knows how much he even checks his email. But I started wondering about other options. After all, I honestly believe this story needs to be told and it’s open to the public. I was never planning to follow his narrative structure, I was just hoping to start from his research since staying as absolutely close to the facts as possible is very important to me.

Partnering with this author would be ideal- not only because of how great his book is (and what an honor it would be), but also how well-respected and dedicated he is to other causes. I’m going to try some other channels to reach out to him, but maybe all is not lost if I can’t. There are other books written on this subject. I can do my own research. Wish me luck.


P.S. Sorry for the vagueness. Quite frankly, this movie is going to be made eventually and I want to get to it before someone else with different priorities screws it up.

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