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A Guide to Adapting Literature to Film

Denise Faithfull with Brian Hannant

Turning a 250-page novel or a two-and-a-half-hour stage play into a 90-minute film means leaving out much of the original and changing most of what’s left. So why does it remain recognisably the same story? What is the slippery essence that transfers, unaltered, from page to screen?

In Adaptations, Denise Faithfull comprehensively and systematically addresses the thorny issues of choosing your source and type of adaptation, whether a liberal appropriation, a free-flowing intersection, a variation or a faithful translation. She illuminates questions of structure, character, dialogue and visualisation, and includes a checklist for the adaptor. Brian Hannant’s introductory chapter discusses the history of Australian film, the basic principles of filmmaking and screenwriting, and a guide to correct screenplay layout.

Drawing from dozens of Australian films including Così, Lantana, Hotel Sorrento, The Boys, Dead Heart, Death in Brunswick and Head On, Adaptations navigates the treacherous waters of the adaptation process, showing us what works … and what doesn’t.

For anyone who’s ever read a novel, seen a play or heard an incredible true story and thought, ‘Now, that would make a great film’, Adaptations is the ultimate on how to make it happen.

Click here for a review by Nick Sidoryn, Marden Senior College, as published in the SAETA Newsletter.

Currency Press | 978-0-86819-792-0 | Sales rights: worldwide | PB
Bastard Boys
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Bastard Boys

Sue Smith
Bastard Boys is the story of the fight that stopped the nation—the 1998 battle for Australia's waterfront. More than just a dispute over reform, it became a campaign for the hearts and minds of all Australians. Controversial, all-consuming and combative, it forced people to pick a side and fight for their beliefs. Political thriller, war film, buddy movie, love story and courtroom drama all rolled into one, this is the story of the people behind one of the most significant events in Australia's recent past.

Iconic Australian actors Jack Thompson and Colin Friels lead an outstanding cast that includes: Geoff Morrell, Dan Wyllie, Justine Clarke, Rhys Muldoon and Lucy Bell.

Bastard Boys has been written with the cooperation and participation of all parties to the dispute. It is the first time participants such as former Patrick CEO, Chris Corrigan and ACTU Secretary, Greg Combet have agreed to tell their stories.

  • The world of the wharves, the boardrooms and war rooms are places most of us will never visit or understand. Bastard Boys takes us there, makes sense and great drama all at once. It’s amazing. Ruth Richie, Sydney Morning Herald

Currency Press | 978-0-86819-809-5 | Sales rights: worldwide | PB
Beside Myself
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Beside Myself

An Actor's Life

Antony Sher

A remarkably candid autobiography, utterly involving and often startlingly revelatory, Beside Myself is an inspiration to young actors and a treat for seasoned theatregoers.

'I wish I'd read this book when I was starting out. Not only is Antony Sher one of the all-time greats of classical theatre, he also manages to be a writer of enormous skill and insight' David Tennant

Actor, author, artist Antony Sher grew up in the Old South Africa with a profound sense of being an outsider. Small, Jewish and secretly gay, he found refuge in theatre and escaped to London aged just nineteen.

In Beside Myself, Sher takes us to the heart of what it is to be an actor today, describing the journeys he undertakes in order to inhabit the roles for which he is famous - including The History Man (his TV breakthrough), Macbeth, Tamburlaine, Cyrano, Stanley Spencer and Richard III.

This edition, published to mark the author's 60th birthday, includes a new foreword and epilogue.

'The most unsparingly honest actor's autobiography I have ever read.' - Michael Billington, Guardian

Nick Hern Books, UK | 978-1-84842-035-9 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB
Blue Murder
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Blue Murder

Ian David

Set in Sydney in the 1970s and 1980s, this multi-award winning television drama centres on the notorious friendship between drug dealer and robber Arthur Stanley ‘Neddy’ Smith and Detective Sergeant Roger ‘The Dodger’ Rogerson. There’s a pot of gold involved but it doesn’t come easily or cheaply. This is a powerful and frightening story about police corruption and Sydney’s underworld.

  • Australia’s best ever drama ... riveting viewing   - Jenny Tabakoff,   Sydney Morning Herald

Currency Press | 978-0-86819-630-5 | Sales rights: worldwide | PB
Boys, The (screenplay)
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Boys, The (screenplay)

Stephen Sewell

Based on the controversial stage play by Gordon Graham, The Boys is an unflinching analysis of the violence that lurks in Australian society. 

Returning home from prison, Brett sets about re-establishing control over his wayward brothers as he searches for an act the three brothers can participate in jointly, and thereby violate norms.

The play of The Boys is also available.

Currency Press | 978-0-86819-569-8 | Sales rights: worldwide | PB
Cheeky Monkey, The
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Cheeky Monkey, The

Writing Narrative Comedy

Tim Ferguson
From one of Australia's most successful comedians comes The Cheeky Monkey, a practitioner's guide to the art of comedy writing. Both insightful and practical, The Cheeky Monkey explains the principles of sitcom writing and guides the reader in how to apply them. Seeded with exercises to aid the developing comedy writer, this book will help you to:
  • Write jokes
  • Create funny stories
  • Build comic characters
  • Develop a sitcom
  • Sell your sitcom to producers and TV networks
Many of Tim's techniques can also be applied to film, stage, stand-up or indeed any form of comedy. You'll make 'em laugh before you know it.

  • Watch Tim talk about the controversy his book caused
  • Listen to Tim defend himself from the castigation of his peers
  • Visit Tim's website, and immerse yourself in the world of the Cheeky Monkey.
  • Read about Tim's first comedy experience

    eBook available from

Currency Press | 978-0-86819-861-3 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB
Children on Screen
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Children on Screen

Landing a Role in Film and Television

Frederick Levy

A guidebook for child and teen actors and their parents on the UK and US TV and Film industries from top Hollywood talent manager Frederick Levy.

• Training
• The Tools (Headshots, CV)
• The Players (Agents, Managers)
• Auditions
• Booking the Job
• Working on set
• Publicity
• Child Labor Laws
• Education
• Parents in the Biz
• Building a Career

Filled with anecdotes about working in the business, the book is an entertaining and informative read, offering firm, practical advice not just from the author but also from other actors, acting coaches, agents and casting directors from both sides of the Atlantic.

Oberon Books, UK | 978-1-78319-124-6 | Sales Rights: Australia/NZ only | PB
Close Up: An Actor Telling Tales
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Close Up: An Actor Telling Tales

John Fraser

John Fraser starred in films such as Repulsion, El Cid and Tunes of Glory, and was nominated for a British Academy Award as Best Actor for his performance, opposite Peter Finch, as Bosie in The Trials of Oscar Wilde. He has written fiction, non-fiction and drama. This paperback edition includes a previously unpublished chapter.

Genuinely moving...a deliciously gossipy read, but much, much more than a set of anecdotes about famous people. What distinguishes Close Up from a hundred other celebrity memoirs is the skill of the writing, and also the sense that a real warm heart lies at the centre. -  The Mail on Sunday

Oberon Books | 978-1-84002-504-0 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB
Comedy Bible, The
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Comedy Bible, The

Judy Carter

This is the definitive guide to making a career out of making people laugh. If you’ve got a sense of humour, you can learn to make a career out of comedy, says Judy Carter. Whether it’s creating a killer stand-up act, writing a spec sitcom, or providing jokes for radio or one-liners for greeting cards, Carter provides step-by-step instructions in The Comedy Bible. She helps readers first determine which genre of comedy writing or performing suits them best and then directs them in developing, refining, and selling their work.

The Comedy Bible is proof God does have a sense of humour... Until comedians can enrol in a comedy 101 humourversity course at the school of hard knock-knocks, this is the next best thing. - Wil Anderson

Currency Press | 978-0-86819-741-8 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB
Coral Browne
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Coral Browne

'This Effing Lady'

Rose Collis

A larger-than-life character that towered over the London stage for half a century, Coral Browne was remarkable for her mesmerising character performances, her glamour, her liberated attitude to sex and the quickness of her often-savage wit.

Arriving from ‘awful Australia’ as a 21-year old she quickly became the talk of wartime London—performing as bombs rained around her. Prodigiously talented and highly unconventional for the age she lived in, she forged a reputation as a brilliant comic and classical actress, though she would later perform in the premiere of Joe Orton’s What the Butler Saw in her underwear, alongside Ralph Richardson. She is also remembered for a series of iconic performances in films such as Auntie Mame, The Killing of Sister George, Theatre of Blood, The Legend of Lyla Clare, The Ruling Class, and in television dramas such as Dennis Potter’s Dreamchild, and Alan Bennett’s An Englishman Abroad, in which she played herself.

Almost as famous for her bawdy wit and unashamed appetite for men (and women), her famous lovers included Maurice Chevalier, Cecil Beaton and Paul Robeson, though she played confidante to many more, including Alec Guinness, John Schlesinger, Alan Bates, and, remarkably, the traitor Guy Burgess. Later in life she became ‘Mrs Vincent Price’, one half of one of the most passionate and remarkable celebrity marriages of all time.
'This Effing Lady' is Rose Collis' humane and funny account of a remarkable and truly original star.

Oberon Books | 978-1-84002-764-8 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | HB