Monday, April 28, 2014


 The photo above was taken on Highway 50 in Nevada and is one of many photos that I'm using to write my travel book now, putting aside the Travel Day contract as the producers are looking for money to make it and am still waiting for some more funding for the actor's screenplay that I finished in January. And I've heard from the French producers who hope to make Chase this fall.

This is how writers spend time when somone's interested in a screenplay; you wait till they come up with a deal which, if it's an indie movie, could be forever. When a network or a production company or studio options your screenplay, you'll probably wait and wait more and they might even drop the option. Here's the body count:

Emperor of Mars has the most optioned at least 6 times and one was pretty close and another one was almost there until disputes spoiled the game. This was mostly because some producers tend to be too greedy and don't want to share. When a project has two or more producers it gets more political and if you've noticed, some movies can have up to 18 or more producers. 

Now that's a meeting I'd like to watch.

Secrets of The Salmon was a drama that got really good response and had interest from Jody Foster's company but was optioned by ABC who was then taken over by Disney. Unfortunately the exec who optioned it was let go and so the project ended. It was the only Disney contract I ever had and included an odd clause that read they (Disney) reserves all rights "in perpetuity throughout the universe." I told my agent that I wanted to keep Saturn and he almost believed me.

The Town Christmas Forgot (originally called Christmas in Nowhere) was around Hallmark for three years and then one day in June 2010 I got a call from a woman that she read it and wants to make it and asked "who do I call for the deal". I expected this to disappear but didn't expect that they would make a winter movie set in the mountains in August, two months later. That wasn't the fastest turnaround though.

The fastest turn around was when I wrote Betrayal of Silence, another title changed from the original that I don't remember. I had an idea and an outline and a producer who needed to make a movie fast. I wrote the screenplay in a hotel in Toronto in 14 days and handed it to the Assistant Director on Friday and started shooting Monday. Ironically, it's still one of my favorite screenplays.

There were probably thirty or so options on other screenplays but never got to the funding stages. There's on producer who wants a screenplay of mine but writes a deal in that if he doesn't find the money to make it and I happen to find it, then I have to include him in the new deal. 

Does that sound good?

No, of course not. I said this; he can have a free option for 6 months. This means he can shop it around at no cost. Doesn't that sound grand of me, he doesn't have to pay a penny.  But no, he returned my contract and added that clause again, that if ever I get to make it with anyone else, he has to be part of it. 

Without contributing anything.

He calls me at least four times a year for the last three years and he offers his same deal and I give him my deal and so on and so on. 

And what about Travel Day? Well, the deal was made, I took a deferment, which means I would get some money back from the profits. But if you've read that deal in a previous blog, there's no chance in hell of getting that money back. But I'm still getting a considerable amount under WGA so it's not too bad. 

They optioned the screenplay a month or so ago for $10, as a token gesture. 

They still haven't paid me the $10.

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