Monday, January 6, 2014

When are ya gonna make my damn movie!

I've mentioned that a French company is going to make my movie, Chaser, in France. The script originally is about a guy in the valley who begins to follow a mysterious panel truck where he thinks a girl is held hostage. In their interpretation, it will be mostly that story only set in France and in French.

I often get asked about the project; "when are they gonna make it"? How come it's taking so long?

The truth is that most movies never really get made quickly mostly because they have to go through the "system", meaning a script can often go through a dozen people or more. Even maybe a handful of production companies.

Take my Christmas movie, The Town That Christmas Forgot, I wrote it around 2004 and it was pushed around a few producers and finally after 3 years ended up at Hallmark. It stayed there for another 3 years wherein several directors offered to make it and at least a handful of producers also offered to make it.

But Hallmark said no to each of them. No reason, no excuses.

Then I got a phone call from a nice woman who said her company is going to make it in late summer. This was June 2010. They optioned the screenplay where I got 10% of the script fee as determined by the Writer's Guild. This is the usual way it works.

Then I forgot about it because I thought it would slowly go away.

Until I learned that they actually did make it - and forgot to pay me. It took 2 weeks to get paid with the help of the Writer's Guild.

Then there's my best script, Emperor of Mars, and it's "almost been made" 5 times!  Once with an academy award-winning director too! Twice with me directing. I think that may be a record in Hollywood. Written in 1989.

They all fell through in the financing. Money that was supposed to be there wasn't.

I contacted the French company last week and they still aren't ready to make my film. But they still are interested and hope to make it after one they just completed. And they probably will.

And it's not unusual for screenplays to languish in a stack of screenplays somewhere in an office and probably forgotten. And sometimes even stolen. I know of a producer who actually put his name on a writer's screenplay but was found out and had to pay a lot of money to the scorned writer.

So why did the Christmas movie get made? 

The nice woman was looking through a stack of screenplays and read mine. She liked it for at least one odd reason -- the teenage girl in my screenplay reminded her of her daughters.

Make sense? No. Am I happy - yes.

But that's another blog.


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