When Stephen Stern and his business partner, Joseph Giovannetti, launched Storyboard Graphic Novelsin 2011, they knew they were offering a unique service to the Hollywood communitybut they had no idea how quickly it would catch on. Within weeks, they had clients that included screenwriters, producers and directors who wanted their screenplays adapted into graphic novels. And their client list quickly extended outside of Tinseltown, to such locations as the UK and India.
"We knew we were providing a service that didn't exist, but was much needed by creators who wanted to separate their screenplays from the thousands of projects that make the rounds in Hollywood every day," Stern said. "Not only is a graphic novel a veritable storyboard for a moviehence our company namebut films based on comic-books and GNs are among the surest bets for studios."
Best known as the writer/creator of the independent comic-book, Zen Intergalactic Ninja, which celebrated its 25 th anniversary in 2012, Stern was well aware that graphic novels had spawned such films as Road to Perdition, 300, A History of Violence and Ghost World, and that films based on comic-book characters like Spider-Man, Batman and the Avengers were among the biggest blockbusters of all time.
"Not only that, but comics and GNs were selling impressively, both digitally and in print," said Giovannetti, Storyboard's CFO."So it was a win-wincreate a revenue stream with sales of your book, and attract Hollywood's attention at the same time. With a screenplay, you have to jump through several hoops, even if you've got solid representation, and there are so many screenplays in circulation that the odds are always against you."
Storyboard's message caught on, not only with screenwriters, but also producers and directors. "We have several clients on studio lots," said Stern, "and we even have actors who have a particular project which they strongly feel will benefit from being launched in comic-book or graphic novel form."