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From books to the big screen: Island author adapting novels to screenplays

Nicole Schindle finds a passion in writing, expanding it from the page
Black Creek’s Nicole Schindle adapts novels to screenplays. Photo by Ali Roddam

When Nicole Schindle decided to change her work life, she didn’t expect it would open the door to the world of screenwriting.

She, her husband and three kids set up in Black Creek after moving from Alberta about five years ago. She’d long been interested in writing, even as a kid, but kept working away on things.

“I published a children’s book years ago,” she says. “I have always been writing.”

The book, Starchasers, is aimed at kids nine to 13. It’s the story of a brother and sister who go out looking for a fallen meteor and find an adventure linking the constellations in the sky with their original classical myths. The siblings, with the help of a Starchaser named Rabedes, set out to return this star to its rightful place in the sky. The book, published in 2014, is available on Amazon.

Schindle published it under her married name, Nicole Vaugeois. Since moving here, Schindle’s main job has been in staffing for Island Health, but she decided to step back a little and started working part-time at the community centre in Black Creek. Through this, she made connections that ultimately put her in touch with a Comox Valley filmmaker, Stephanie Rossel, who read Starchasers.

“I met her and she loved it, and so she’s like, ‘We need to make this into a screenplay,’” Schindle says. “I’d always thought this children’s book that I’d done would be a great animated feature.”

This meeting, in turn, led to getting in touch with Leah Flagg, a producer on Vancouver Island from White Raven Pictures.

The result has been that her work is being adapted for the screen.

“At the time I was working on another novel, and I didn’t even know how to write screenplays. Stephanie taught me how. I was just writing books,” she says, adding, “You don’t realize until you try.”

This other novel, Morning Glory, came up in discussion with Flagg, who saw it as an idea for a 10-part mini series. While Schindle can’t divulge too much, the story revolves around a woman with a military background who has faced enormous tragedy but is looking for answers about home and family.

“We’re pitching it out to different networks, hoping it gets picked up,” she says. Meanwhile, the Starchasers adaptation is still a work in progress.

As to what else is happening, she has already written a couple of short screenplays for the Comox Valley International Film Festival that have gotten a strong response from the judges.

“I always have ideas,” she says. “I have so many ideas…. I’ve got quite a few projects in the works.”

As mentors, Flagg and Rossel have encouraged Schindle to continue developing her talent writing for film and television. It’s a big change in terms of learning about aspects like formatting or even writing for the page versus the screen. However, she has long loved movies as well as books, so in a way, this adaptation feels like a natural one.

“I was so meant to write screenplays … now that I’ve learned how,” she says. “It’s definitely my passion now.”

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