Friday, February 14, 2014

One more dance

After at least 6 options and 3 legitimate tries, I'm going back to the well for the 7TH TIME!
Sorry, can't help getting mad but this time will definitely be the last. If I can't get this made I am dropping out of the business and moving to somewhere around the Salton Sea where living in a truck is seen as mid-upper class. 

I wrote Emperor of Mars in 1989 and have done minor rewrites about five times, mostly on request of producers. Of the 6 mentioned above, three were actually real, meaning that they were in the process of putting the funding together. The other three never really got it together and their options expired.

What's different about now?

Well, I have a partner, Joe Thornton, mentioned in previous drafts when we tried to get Ghostkeeper 2 going.

I know, what a pair of losers.

All I have to say is that it took Alexander Payne 9 years before he made Nebraska. And if you look around you'll find that alot of movies took a long time to make. Somehow there's this idea that once the screenplay is sold, it's made within a few months.

My Town Christmas Forgot screenplay took almost 6 years.

But Emperor - aka EOM -- is in it's 25th year, I think. Somewhere around there. It must be a record, maybe.

I made a "flashcard" of sorts, that I put into emails and send it, along with a 3-page proposal that contains story information, bios, locations, tax credits and other stuff packed into only 3 pages and in short paragraphs.

Back to the three efforts that went down;

The first attempt was around 1999 and even had an Academy Award-winning director, Xavier Koller who turned out to be a good guy. We all met at a nice little "boutique" agency in Beverly Hills and talked it over. It was dependant on getting money from Canada and I knew how that worked. And how it didn't.

The Montreal money guy seemed to think the Canada would supply all the funding. Anyone who knows how Canada's credits works knows that Canada supplies only a small percentage of funding. Needless to say, a week after I got a call that there was no money to be had in Canada that would cover the full funding.

Number 2 was the closest, we were actually almost in prep, I travelled to Montana to look at locations although we might have to film it in Alberta. But my producer Bill and the Alberta producers didn't really trust each other and then in the "final shot", Bill and his partner didn't agree with the funding people who apparently wanted a bigger take of the budget.

This is common when someone else finds the money, first they're happy to help, but when the $$$$ start appearing, they get a little hungry and ask for more, after all, they found the money.

So that went down.

And the last shot was ironically with the previous Alberta producers, one very slick and one who hardly speaks. I had business with these two previously where I actually won an option with them years ago (it's a small world) and didn't quite trust them. But not trusting a producer is like not trusting a rattlesnake.

I wasn't really sure why they wanted to make EOM and in the two years they optioned it, they didn't do a single thing. At least nothing that would indicate them wanting to make the film. That was 2009

So here we are - Joe and me -- Joe's doing a new budget of $2.6 million and I finished the cards and the mini-proposal and next week a full 10-page proposal with all that stuff that lawyers and accountants like to read.

Of which I can actually understand it too.

Shall we dance then...

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