Creative teams announced for Screen Queensland and Wattpad development initiative

Writers Dominic Morris and Siobhan Domingo.

Two Queensland creative teams have each been selected to adapt a story from the Canadian social storytelling platform Wattpad for the screen.

Writer Dominic Morris and producer Nadine Bates from Brisbane production company Like A Photon Creative will make a feature film version of The Bro Code  (21.2 million reads) by Elizabeth A. Seibert.

The other team comprises writer Siobhan Domingo and producer Elizabeth Simard, who have been tasked with creating a TV series based on How To Lose Weight and Survive The Apocalypse  (236,000 reads) by Australian Kate J. Squires.

It comes after Screen Queensland announced a partnership with  Wattpad  Webtoon Studios in June last year as part of a $3.3 million COVID response package, launching a development initiative that invited Queensland creatives to come up with adaptations of two Wattpad original young adult titles.

Leveraging stories and insights from Webtoon and Wattpad’s combined audience of more than 166 million people, Wattpad Webtoon Studios determines stories with potential for publishing, or film, TV, or digital reimagining using data insights.

The company will engage the global Wattpad community, as well as existing fans of  The Bro Code and How To Lose Weight and Survive The Apocalypse, incorporating audience feedback from the Wattpad platform and social media into the development process.   

With scripts now delivered, both projects will be audience-tested with fans of the stories, with the approach designed to help the teams progress to the final script stage and produce a concept trailer to pitch to market later this year. 

Speaking about the audience testing phase, Domingo said it was a great opportunity to be getting feedback and input from the fans this early on in the process.

“It’s going to ultimately help us shape a series that’s a fresh rendition of the original work that the fans will love,” she said.

Morris added that giving the fans a voice in the process made them “really excited”.

Wattpad Webtoon Studios head of international strategy Dexter Ong said the company had pioneered a fan-first, data-driven approach to creating hit entertainment.

“These are incredible stories with readers all over the world, and we’re thrilled to include some of their most passionate fans in the adaptation process,” he said.

Screen Queensland’s chief creative officer Jo Dillon said the chance for the creative teams to tap into Wattpad’s 90 million passionate readers worldwide would be of enormous benefit as they prepared to pitch.  

“Rarely will creative teams have access to this level of engagement with their prime target audience,” she said.

“It will be hugely satisfying and constructive for the writers and producers to learn which scenes, characters, and ideas really hit the mark and, equally, which ones could do with a bit more work.

“From Screen Queensland’s perspective, it’s this audience-driven aspect of our collaboration with Wattpad Webtoon Studios that makes the partnership truly unique and career-changing for our two Queensland teams – we can’t wait to witness the readers’ response to Dominic’s and Siobhan’s scripts and how they plan to bring these hugely popular stories to life for the screen.”