Nothing’s really easy. There’s a revelation!
Lots of people who read my first novel, Purity, told me they thought it should be made into a movie – because they “watched” it as a movie as they read it. This, of course, pleased me, because I saw it as a movie as I wrote it. Truth is, I don’t read all that much for entertainment, but I do watch a lot of movies.
The comments from readers started me thinking about who would play the role of the protagonist if Purity actually was a movie. I, certainly, would be perfect for the role, if only I could get past a couple of barriers. I look like a fat Skeletor on camera. I can’t act.
It was (Famous Actor) I kept seeing wiggling out of difficult situations as the hero, Jeff Davis, even as I wrote many of them. He could do it. How hard would it possibly be to get the script to him? He’s an Arkansas boy, after all. The script is set in Arkansas. I know lots of people in Arkansas, and each of them knows somebody in Arkansas that I don’t. My mind was made up. (Famous) was going to make my movie. Done deal.
I put the word out. Astonishingly, I was contacted by a sweet lady from Batesville who actually knew (Famous’) lawyer. I won’t give her name here, because I haven’t asked her for permission, but she knows who she is (insert heart icon here). She gave me the Los Angeles lawyer’s contact information and I sent him an email, dropping her name. It worked! He got right back to me. He read the book. He liked it a lot, and asked me if I could adapt it to a screenplay. “Sure!” I told him, “No problemo!” Then, I frantically searched the internet to see what a screenplay looked like; downloaded some for reference; bought the appropriate software; and figured out how to write a script.
Meantime, the lawyer tells me (Famous) is tied up with several projects, and he thinks another one of his clients might be able to do something much sooner with my story. I jumped on that opportunity and worked with that Executive Producer, over a period of about 1 ½ years, using his notes to tweak the script into a pilot for a TV series. Dude kept telling me “The wheels of Hollywood move very slowly,” but he had me convinced that, eventually, we’d have the script packaged with “talent” and a director, then he would pitch it to one of the major studios. We had numerous conversations about me writing the TV scripts once that became a reality – a gig that pays about half my yearly wages, per week!
Well, now, I’m practically a bigshot. I ask Lawyer Dude if he thinks I need to get an agent. He says to me, “You’re already talking to me. Why would you need an agent?” That made sense. I never even looked for an agent, considering that I was higher up on the food chain than some struggling writer looking for somebody to read his script.
Time passes. I’m all hoity-toity, Mister soon-to-be Screenwriter, wondering if I should invite J.J. Abrams to my next party. He seems cool enough to hang out with me. EP Dude calls, periodically, discussing our options. (Famous Actor) is apparently out. Who could star in the lead? Jeff Daniels took a gig with “The Newsroom,” so he’s out. What about Kevin Costner? Jeff Bridges? Jeff Bridges! Are you kidding me? The Big Lebowski playing the lead role in MY movie? I’d sell previously-valued body parts to make that happen. Well, that’s just like, your opinion, man.
These guys I was dealing with weren’t some jackleg shysters looking for some rube from Arkansas they could swindle money out of. They never asked me for a dime. They were the real deal with impressive credits to their names. The deal was, we would all be Executive Producers, attempting to “package” the product (the script), and then pitch it to the money guys – the studios. If that never came to fruition, we’d all just walk away and no harm would be done.
No harm done.
About a year and a half into working with EP Dude, he calls me one late summer day and tells me that he is not having any luck getting those Hollywood wheels to turn. The industry, it seems, isn’t interested in pursuing original material at the moment. They’re sticking with tried-&-true themes: Re-makes of previous hit movies; Sequels of previous hit movies; Comic book movies. He has now teamed up with a very famous producer and a very famous actor to do just that – make a comic book movie – and he’s not going to have the time to continue to try to package my script. He wishes me luck. He’s walking away. No harm done.
So … it’s over? Nothing is over until I say it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no! (If you’re a reader and not a movie-goer, you won’t get that. Just trust me with the quote.) We’ll endeavor to persevere, back at Square One, sending PMs to people I know on Facebook – and people I don’t - who might have a connection to the big leagues; posting my scripts online for anybody to read with the click of a mouse. Scratching. Clawing. Going the extra … uh … sorry. Lost my train of thought.
Nothing’s really easy.
©2015 Rick Baber