Home Events - AFM Sessions Inspiration is Everywhere: Accessing & Adapting Existing IP for the Screen

Inspiration is Everywhere: Accessing & Adapting Existing IP for the Screen

Creating films from pre-existing works is not limited to Studio superhero movies.  Some of the best independent films have been fueled by original IP – books, video games, short stories, even news articles. Writers, producers and distributors discuss how to successfully identify, develop, produce and deliver these projects for mainstream global audiences.

Margaret Boykin, Vice President, Development, Film & Television, Ubisoft
Charles Hopkins, Director of Development & Production, Concord Originals
James Vanderbilt, CCO, Project X Entertainment

Jason Richman, Partner & Co-Head of Media Rights, United Talent Agency


Nov 02 2022


2:30 pm - 4:00 pm


  • Margaret Boykin
    Margaret Boykin
    Vice President, Development, Film & Television, Ubisoft

    Margaret Boykin oversees the adaptation, development and production of Ubisoft’s award-winning games and original stories set in the world, culture and community of gaming for film and television. Boykin is a producer on all of Ubisoft Film & Television’s film and television projects, where she translates the vast and complex worlds of Ubisoft’s games into Hollywood entertainment by putting on the lens of a filmmaker and breaking down the brands to highlight the potential for film – a skill she honed working for Producer Elizabeth Cantillon, assisting with the development of big IP adaptations such as THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB and the reboot of CHARLIE’S ANGELS.

    Boykin successfully developed and produced the award-winning film, WEREWOLVES WITHIN, as Ubisoft Film & Television’s first-ever independent feature film in 2021. Lauded as a film that broke the mold for most video game adaptations by building on the spirit of the source IP rather than adhering to a by-the-book adaptation, WEREWOLVES WITHIN represents Ubisoft’s creative, dynamic and unexpected film and television strategy, shepherded by Boykin. The film is Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and won Best Indie Film in the Hollywood Critics Association’s Midseason Awards. The film is directed by Josh Ruben (SCARE ME) and the ensemble cast includes Sam Richardson, Milana Vayntrub, Cheyenne Jackson, Michael Chernus, Michaela Watkins, Sarah Burns, Harvey Guillen, Catherin Curtin and George Basil. Boykin oversaw post-production remotely during the COVID-19 lockdown, keeping the film on schedule. The film premiered at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival and was released theatrically on June 25th and on digital platforms on July 2nd via IFC Films.

    WEREWOLVES WITHIN, based on Ubisoft’s VR game of the same name, was a direct result of Ubisoft’s Women’s Film & Television Fellowship, which Boykin championed to found at Ubisoft after seeing a lack of diversity in writers’ lists submitted to the company. The goal of the fellowship is to create more opportunities for women, non-binary, trans, gender-nonconforming, and gender-variant people in the entertainment space. Now in its fourth year, the fellowship sees two participants within the entertainment industry explore Ubisoft’s library and original stories over a paid, non-exclusive, six-month period for potential story ideas, engage in one-on-one mentorships and pitch their own takes. The fellowship has resulted in several script deals for films, including WEREWOLVES WITHIN, Heather Quinn’s Untitled Rom-Com, and Annbel Seymour’s REPLAY.

    During Margaret’s tenure, Ubisoft has successfully packaged and set up a slate of Ubisoft IP based projects including THE DIVISION with Rawson Marshall Thurber set to direct, Ellen Shanman attached to co-write and Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Chastain attached to star, BEYOND GOOD & EVIL at Netflix with Rob Letterman attached to direct, JUST DANCE with Sony and Assassin’s Creed. Each of these projects seeks to re-write the book on video game adaptations by creating new, unexpected stories with new characters for film and television while adhering to the world and tone of the games. She is also overseeing an emerging roster of original projects set in the culture and community of gaming that includes the UNT. SENIOR E SPORTS PROJECT with Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein (I FEEL PRETTY) attached to write and direct and Mythic Quest.

  • Charles Hopkins
    Charles Hopkins
    Director of Development & Production, Concord Originals

    Charles Hopkins is a Director of Development & Production for Concord Originals, the narrative content creation division for the massive music and theater company, Concord. As part of this role, Hopkins develops scripted and unscripted projects for film and television across a variety of genres and mediums. In his three years at Concord Originals, he’s spearheaded projects that are in development or distribution with Amazon, Netflix, Skydance and more. Hopkins is originally from Australia, where he graduated Arts: Media & Communications and Law at The University of Melbourne, then moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in entertainment. After stints in talent management and production, Hopkins climbed the ladder at an indie film sales and production company on the acquisitions side before joining Concord Originals. His experience encompasses creative development, packaging, business affairs, financing and distribution.

  • James Vanderbilt
    James Vanderbilt
    COO, Project X Entertainment

    James Vanderbilt has been making stuff up for a living ever since he graduated from the University of Southern California’s Filmic Writing Program. A talented writer, director, and producer whose diverse catalogue of films range from heavy-hitting blockbusters to edge of your seat thrillers, Vanderbilt sold his first screenplay 48 hours before graduating. It was promptly not made.

    His directorial debut, Truth, which starred Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford, was named one of the Top 10 Films of 2015 by The New York Times. He has written and produced numerous films, including David Fincher’s Zodiac, for which he was nominated for a Writer’s Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, and Roland Emmerich’s White House Down, for which he was not.

    In 2019, Vanderbilt formed the independent production and financing company Project X Entertainment (PXE) with partners William Sherak and Paul Neinstein. With a full roster of projects set for release and in development, the company’s slate includes Paramount’s relaunch of Scream, co-written by Vanderbilt, Universal’s action/thriller Ambulance, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and directed by Michael Bay and the upcoming STXfilms’ horror/thriller Bed Rest, as well as Netflix’s The Night Agent, created by Shawn Ryan.

    His writing credits also include The Amazing Spider-Man films, Basic, The Rundown, The Losers, and Murder Mystery and its upcoming sequel, both starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston, and both which he also produced. His other producing credits include the critically acclaimed Suspiria, directed by Luca Guadagnino, The House With a Clock In Its Walls, directed by Eli Roth, Fox Searchlight’s horror comedy Ready or Not, directed by Radio Silence, and the groundbreaking Netflix science fiction series, Altered Carbon.

    He lives in Malibu, California, with his wife, children, and dogs.

  • Jason Richman
    Jason Richman
    Partner & Co-Head of Media Rights, UTA

    Jason Richman is a Partner and Co-Head of the Media Rights Group at UTA. He began his entertainment career in 2010 in the UTA mailroom and quickly worked his way up to agent. With an incredible ability to identify emerging a­nd underrepresented storytellers, Richman has helped amplify the voices of numerous artists within the film and television landscape. Clients include Celeste Ng, Salman Rushdie, Jesmyn Ward, Elin Hilderbrand, Harlan Coben, Helen Fielding, Jia Tolentino, Adam Silvera, Samantha Irby, Erik Larson, Stacey Abrams, Anderson Cooper, Charles Yu, Shrill co-creator Lindy West, The New Yorker staff writers Rachel Aviv, Ben Taub, Jelani Cobb, Ian Parker, Naomi Fry and more. Richman also represents The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times, and WNYC Studios in addition to the estates of Charles Beaumont and Norman Mailer.

    Prior to joining UTA, Richman graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in English and grew up outside Chicago, Illinois.