Michael De Luca is on the prowl for a hit film.
The producer of “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “Moneyball” and his company, Michael De Luca Productions, have joined forces with the Launch Pad Competition to discover the next great novel to bring to screens. The event was started four years ago as a platform for showcasing literary talent. Last year, it began allowing writers to submit work in the manuscript stage. “Alien” director Ridley Scott and his Scott Free Productions participated in the inaugural contest, picking up two books to develop.
As part of the competition, De Luca has committed to option at least one winner. He will be joined by exclusive partners Energy Entertainment and Paradigm, who have each committed to signing one writer each from the competition, and publisher Inkshares, who has committed to publish a minimum of three books from the competition. Last year, Inkshares picked up eight books to publish.
De Luca has frequently adapted books. They formed the basis for “Captain Phillips,” “Moneyball,” “The Social Network,” and “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which rank among the biggest hits of his career.
The competition will also feature a series of mentors from the industry who will advise the writers. They include “Big Fish” author Daniel Wallace, “Mr. Holland’s Opus” writer Patrick Sheane Duncan, and newcomer Zach Hines, who works on HBO’s “Sent” and has an upcoming YA series entitled “Nine” for HarperTeen.
The contest is now accepting submissions through July 14. It does not require entrants to have ever written a book before. The event is open to new and established writers alike, inviting entrants to submit up to 50 pages of their work (including a minimum one page synopsis) to showcase their work. A panel of professional readers will then review all entries and select a round of finalists.
The event comes as Hollywood is on the hunt for the next wave of intellectual property to replicate the success of the “Lord of the Rings” and “Harry Potter” books.