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The Screenwriter

The Screenwriter's Advocate: Adam Kline

By Christopher Wehner and Rita Cook

Adam Kline, of Adam Kline Productions, is currently associated with numerous projects. He recently set up "SHARK ISLAND" at TriStar pictures, an epic story based on Alexander Dumas' Count of Monte Cristo. "SHARK ISLAND" was scripted by an unknown writer whose talents were brought to light by Adam, and "REASONABLE DOUBT" (Largo Entertainment) is Adam's latest accomplishment starring Melanie Griffith. Additionally, Adam has a comedy in development at 20th Century Fox entitled "DEAR ROSIE".

You're a writer with what you feel is a great script. You've done your homework, and you're ready to send it out to someone like Adam Kline. But, you've got a couple of problems: first, you live in Iowa; second, you don't have an agent; third, you live in Iowa, feeling helpless? Well, you do have access to the World Wide Web or you wouldn't be reading this!

Adam Kline is one of the very few producers who will listen to the "unrepresented" writer. As a matter of fact, you can even email him. You're probably saying to yourself, "right, come one". It's true, you can email him and he'll even get back to you within 24 hours. "Why would he do this?", well keep reading.

Adam broke into the business by recognizing a good story that a friend pitched to him one day. He transcribed the story, and with his friend's blessing sold it. Adam did have some knowledge of the film industry, and from the very beginning Adam could recognize a good story. But even after his first sale he wasn't totally convinced about what he wanted to do in life.

His thoughts were with "advertising at first, it seemed like a good idea at the time", says Adam. But, his passion was always with finding great movie ideas, and eventually making movies. He continued to find great scripts, and continued to sell them. First he sold, A Really Rotten Christmas, and then it was Shark Island to Tristar Pictures. Now, his most important accomplishment is the film Reasonable Doubt (Largo Entertainment) starring Melanie Griffith, Tom Berenger, John Ritter, and Craig Sheffer. Directed by Randal Kleiser ( It's My Party (1995), Honey, I Blew Up the Kids (1992) , White Fang (1991)).

The writer for RD, "was an unknown, and now she's known...she's a professional writer doing other stuff...", says Adam. Indeed, the unknown writer needs more Adam Klines.

Adam Kline has long been an advocate for the unknown writer, and prides himself on each submission receiving personal attention. Adam seems to be a cool guy, but he's not looking for the unknown writer just out of the goodness of his heart. He is very honest, "I need the unknown as much as they need me". The top agents take their top writers to the top producers. Adam is as good as they come, and making himself accessable to the unknown fits his needs. Therefore, Adam will not leave any stoned unturned in his search for new talent. He wants, "commercial, mainstream...high concept material".

Make no mistake though as Adam states, "I make writers a lot of money, I've sold their stuff for six figures..." Adam is legit, and can make a writer. His goal as a producer is to "make great movies...come in under budget, and get it in the can on time."

What makes a good screenplay in Adam's opinion? Well we already mentioned he likes "high concept" material. But, as Adam states, "the first ten pages have to be really good. I have to see the story, I'm very visual...and nothing over 125 pages". As with any other producer, Adam wants "proper format". He doesn't mind an amateur writer, only an amateur looking script. If you want to be treated like a professional, have a professional looking script. But, ultimately it depends on if you can write.

So if Adam gets through your first ten pages and finds behind those pages a script that is "well written", you might just be on your way! Adam reads every screenplay he requests, no readers! This is impressive, and it makes sense. Adam is in complete control at all times. He knows what he wants, and why have a reader screw that up...I like that! Adam says he "works well with the unknown, and the un-represented writer...writers don't need an agent to sell", and this is true. (Writers should, however, always have an attorney look over any contract they sign).

What Adam Kline gives you -- the writer surfing the internet seemingly lost in an abyss -- is hope! It sounds corny, and maybe it is. But, it's the truth. It's nice to know that there is someone out there, someone who will always give you a real chance. Every unknown writer knows the hope that is with every new screenplay they send out, and it is that feeling that keeps them going.

Okay so, you've read this article and you want send Adam your stuff. Well, lets do it. First, here are some important things Adam asks:

  • Send a 5-7 sentence summary of one or more of your -- commercial, mainstream, and original material -- screenplays.
  • Send summaries for all your screenplays, all of them!
  • Send summaries for finished, feature length screenplays only -- but no more then 125 pages!
  • No pitches, no treatments, only send summaries for completed scripts !
  • Sell your screenplay to him in those 5 to 7 sentences.
  • That's right, make Adam want to read your screenplay. "If you can write a great 5-7 sentence summary," says Adam, "then chances are you're a good writer". But, do not take it personally if he passes on your summary. Adam is looking for "commercial, mainstream, and original material". You may be an excellent writer, but your material may not be what he's looking for at the time.

    Adam will respond to your emails, even if he passes. And in a line of professional where time is money, it separates Adam from most producers. Adam gets 20-30 emails a day just from screenwriters, plus he runs a company, makes and takes probably 80 calls a day. But in the end, he has time to write a personal response to you. It's about validation, and respect...something everyone deserves!

    Do you you think you have something for Adam? Well, send him some email:

    Click: Adam Kline Productions/ARK

    Thanks for the interview Adam!

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