Regional Australian funding body Screen Queensland has set up two projects, one a feature film, one a TV series, emanating from its relationship with fan-driven literary platform Wattpad Webtoon. Both will enjoy further input from super-fans before heading into production.
Writer Dominic Morris and producer Nadine Bates from Brisbane production company Like A Photon Creative have been chosen to adapt “The Bro Code,” into a feature film. Originally written by Elizabeth A. Seibert and having attracted over 21 million reads, the story is set in a world where team-mates are brothers and breaking the Bro Code is social suicide. It sees a damaged high-school soccer star navigate a secret romance with his best bro’s sister.
Writer Siobhan Domingo and producer Elizabeth Simard have been selected to create a TV series based on “How To Lose Weight and Survive The Apocalypse” by Australian Kate J. Squires. The story involves a woman and her friends traveling from Sydney to Melbourne and along the way fighting off looters and doomsday cult members, while trying to balance an awkward end-of-the-world-love triangle.
Wattpad, the Canada based platform, struck a development deal with Screen Queensland in June last year. Since then, Wattpad was acquired by South Korean internet giant Naver and combined with its online cartoon firm Webtoon to form Wattpad Webtoon Studios.
With scripts now delivered, both projects will be audience tested with some of the stories’ most passionate fans.
“Rarely will creative teams have access to this level of engagement with their prime target audience; it will be hugely satisfying, and constructive for the writers and producers to learn which scenes, characters and ideas really hit the mark and, equally, which ones could do with a bit more work,” said Screen Queensland’s chief creative officer Jo Dillon.
“From Screen Queensland’s perspective, it’s this audience-driven aspect of our collaboration with Wattpad Webtoon Studios that makes the partnership truly unique and career-changing for our two Queensland teams. For potential buyers, of course, this process is particularly appealing, as it lends assurance to the marketability of these screen adaptations, whether series or feature film, providing a ready-made audience who can’t wait to binge the projects on screen.”
“Wattpad Webtoon Studios has pioneered a fan-first, data-driven approach to creating hit entertainment,” said Dexter Ong, Head of International Strategy, Wattpad Webtoon Studios. “These are incredible stories with readers all over the world, and we’re thrilled to include some of their most passionate fans in the adaptation process.”
Wattpad has previously worked with companies including Sony Pictures Television, eOne, Erik Feig’s Picturestart, Bavaria Fiction, Mediaset, Lagardere Studios, Wise Entertainment and Turner LatAm’s Particular Crowd. A prominent example of its online literature to screen process is a Wattpad story, written by Beth Reekles which accumulated 19 million reads and built an international fanbase before being developed for Netflix as “The Kissing Booth.”