Dianne Salerni author Dianne Salerni author Dianne Salerni books Dianne Salerni blog Dianne Salerni Appearances Dianne Salerni contact Dianne Salerni teachers
Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | The Spirit Game

The Spirit Game


Recently, The Spirit Game, the 6-minute film short based on my novel, We Hear the Dead, directed by Craig Goodwill and starring Katharine Isabelle, Katie Boland, and Charles Shaughnessy, was posted on YouTube, where you can now watch it for free. Yay!


If you haven’t been following my blog for long, you might not know the story of how this film came to be made.  A long time ago I posted How I Got My Film Option — which involves feng shui and painting the front door — but the shorter version is that my book was optioned for film back in 2009 by Amy Green of One Eye Open Studios. It wasn’t even published as We Hear the Dead at that time. The original option was for the self published version, which was called High Spirits.

Shortly after acqNew film posteruiring the option. Amy talked me into writing the screenplay (in spite of my telling her I didn’t know how). She and I worked together and over the course of about 18 months — and 8 drafts — we collaborated on a full length movie script. Now I can technically say I’m a screenwriter … even though no one ever made a movie with that script. I got a lot of compliments on it, but no backers.

Eventually, director Craig Goodwill became interested in the project. He and Amy decided to apply for a grant from BravoFACT (Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent). Amy and Craig are Canadian; most of the cast would be Canadian. But I’m not. So at that point I had to bow out, and they brought in a Canadian screenwriter. (I did however get to act as a consultant on the historical details. Fun!)

The movie was filmed in November of 2012 and premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. (No, I didn’t attend.) This 6 minute story does not come from any particular scene in my book, but it does neatly capture the main premise: Three sisters run a fraudulent seance business. One of the three may also have real paranormal talent, but since she’s also addicted to laudanum, her sisters don’t believe her.production photo

After Cannes, the producer and director began pitching the idea for a television series, with the film being used as a teaser. They even wrote a pilot episode, and once again I got to be the consultant on historical details. I wish I could say that a series was sold and in the works, but no … not yet at least!

I still think this is all very cool. Lots of books get optioned for film and nothing happens after that. But I’m honored to have one unsold screenplay to my credit, a script for a pilot episode, a series “bible”, and a short film with some well-known faces in it that went to Cannes!



16 Responses to The Spirit Game

  1. Sheri Larsen says:

    YAY!! Love this, and you so deserve it. Glad it’s on You Tube. Thanks for sharing how this all came to be. It’s so encouraging.

  2. Hilary says:

    Hi Dianne .. that’s amazing and I’m so pleased it’s on YouTube … what a great journey you’ve been on … and you’ve learnt loads … I do hope The Spirit Game/We Hear the Dead comes the full circle and gets made into a film .. Congratulations – Hilary

  3. That was really creepy and effective! So much for the game now that the one sister can see the dead. Congratulations, Dianne!

  4. ChemistKen says:

    Congratulations, both on the video and for the interest shown by others. I’ll have to wait until I get home from work before I can watch the video. YouTube is blocked at my work.

  5. Tiana Smith says:

    Oooh, deliciously creepy! And how cool that it’s now on YouTube – hopefully it helps bring more people to your books!

    • Tiana Smith says:

      Also, I’m just noticing that I’ve missed a ton of your posts! I don’t know how it happened, but your RSS feed disappeared from my Feedly! So, please don’t think I’ve been ignoring you. I’ve added you again so all should be good! Stupid technology.

  6. What an exciting experience this has been for you. I’ve had friends who’ve been optioned, then ten years later told the option had been dropped. Nothing ever happened to their stories. So sad. But you’ve got some very nice footage out there. Fingers crossed that this will stir more interest.

  7. Rosalyn says:

    That is so awesome. How fun to be part of a project like this, to see your words come to life (or at least, the world created by your words). Here’s hoping the pilot sells too!

  8. Still so cool you’ve gotten as far as you have with the movie. And it still could become a TV show or maybe they’d be interested in another of your stories that would become a move or TV show. I think this is so awesome for you!

  9. J E Oneil says:

    How cool! Not many people can say they’ve had something go to Cannes :). It’s a fun movie. How awesome would it be if it became a series? (Answer: very)

  10. Rebecca says:

    I’m still in awe that you were once my teacher and now you’ve got a short filmed based on your writing, with Maxwell Sheffield in it.

    • DianneSalerni says:

      Ha! Imagine how I feel! He’s the one who Tweeted me, letting me know it was available on YouTube. Otherwise, I would have been clueless.

  11. I sure hope they make it into a movie! The video was great, but I sure wanted more….

  12. GREAT clip! Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that the pilot gets picked up for TV. I guarantee the show would be heads and shoulders better than half the stuff on there now. Good luck!

  13. It looks so good! I want to keep watching.

  14. Oh yeah! I remember you mentioning some of that. I thought it was cool back then. But now seeing the film. Wow! Lol! Screenwriting huh? Is it as tough as I think it might be????