It Took Pages: Adapting Books to TV

It Took Pages: Adapting Books to TV

What do M*A*S*H, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, The Slap and The Family Law have in common? They’re all TV series that started their lives as books.

In this discussion, we explore the unique challenges and rewards of adapting books to TV, with three people who have first-hand experience of the process: Benjamin Law, Clem Bastow and Julie Eckersley.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of an established audience or fanbase? What happens when an author’s imaginative world must be conjured within the constraints of a production budget? And what are the special challenges of adapting a work of memoir, with actors cast to play real-life people? Join us for an inside peek into a delicate creative process.


Portrait of Julie Eckersley

Julie Eckersley

Julie is a creative producer with over 20 years experience in the industry. She originally trained as an actress and has worked nationally and internationally on stage and screen, winning numerous awards.

Julie currently works as a producer at Matchbox Pictures. She has produced documentary series Anatomy 4, The Turning – Cockleshell, animation series ZuZu & the SuperNuffs, The Real Housewives of Melbourne (Associate Producer) and Maximum Choppage - Australia’s first kung fu comedy. She was the Associate Producer on the supernatural drama – Glitch and has just produced a new SBS comedy The Family Law, based on the memoir of Benjamin Law. 

Portrait of Benjamin Law

Benjamin Law

Benjamin Law writes books, TV screenplays, columns, essays and feature journalism. He’s the author of the memoir The Family Law (2010), the travel book Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East (2012) – both nominated for Australian Book Industry Awards – and the Quarterly Essay on Safe Schools, Moral Panic 101 (2017). 

He also created and co-wrote three seasons of the award-winning SBS TV series The Family Law, and his sold-out debut play Torch the Place (Melbourne Theatre Company) ran February–March 2020.

Portrait of Clem Bastow

Clem Bastow

Clem Bastow is an award-winning cultural critic whose work appears regularly in The Saturday Paper, Fairfax newspapers and The Guardian. She has written about film and television for journals including The Lifted Brow and Kill Your Darlings, and books including Investigating Stranger Things (Palgrave Macmillan), ReFocus: The Films Of Elaine May (Edinburgh University Press) and Copyfight (NewSouth Publishing). She co-wrote and co-presented the 2017 ABC podcast Behind The Belt, a documentary “deep dive” into professional wrestling.

Based in Melbourne, she holds a Master of Screenwriting from VCA, and teaches screenwriting at University of Melbourne. Clem is currently undertaking a PhD in action cinema and screenwriting at RMIT University.