Sven in Germany writes:
In your January 5th episode with Aline and Rawson, you spoke about IP and YA and I kind of got the idea from the context, but couldn’t figure out the exact meaning of the abbreviations.
IP means “intellectual property,” and in a general sense could refer to anything covered by copyright, trademark or patent.
But for screenwriters, IP means some pre-existing property that a studio is hiring you to adapt into a movie. IP includes comic book characters (Iron Man), games (Clue), and all manner of remakes and reboots of other movies and TV shows.
A friend was hired to develop a TV series based on a candy logo. That’s crazy, but that’s IP.
When Rawson notes that it’s hard to get a movie made that’s not based on IP, he’s saying that studios want to spend money on projects that they feel already have brand recognition. Given two identical navy-vs-aliens scripts, they’ll greenlight the one called Battleship.
YA stands for Young Adult. It’s fiction that’s technically written for teenagers — but is often read by adults. The Hunger Games and Twilight series are YA books that became best-sellers and huge movie franchises. (We don’t talk about movies being “YA.” Only books.)
Notable movies based on YA books tend to be dystopian dramas and supernatural romances, but YA itself isn’t a genre. YA is more about who the intended reader is, which very often reflects the age of the hero.
Middle-grade fiction is written for kids roughly 8 to 12 years old. Harry Potter and Percy Jackson would generally be considered middle-grade. (Of course, Harry and his friends age up over the course of the series.)
In Hollywood, I’ve never heard anyone say “MG” aloud the way YA is thrown about.
Screenwriters don’t really need to know much about the publishing world and its target audiences. When adapting a book, you’re just thinking about the movie. But if you’re curious, Malinda Lo has a useful collection of thoughts about the differences between middle-grade and YA fiction.