Monday, March 27, 2017

New guy on the block

... at least for me. But first.

As some of you know I came to L.A. around 1990 crossing the border, legally, and into the real world of screenwriting and big-time companies. Before that I was pretty much nothing as I lived in Alberta, not Vancouver or Toronto.

I had made a suspense thriller, Ghostkeeper, and it quickly got lost. But just before that I and my friend Phil Borsos made a short film about a barrel factory. It was about 15 minutes and we figured that we might get it into a festival. 

We did. A handful of festivals including the big fish. We managed one in particular, a finalist in the 1976 Academy Awards. A couple of doors opened. I was writing a bunch of scripts and one in particular.

It was based on my youth, age 12. And the new teacher who came into my life. Along with all the stories about the town, around 500 people. In the middle of nowhere. I took the screenplay and a few others to LA and everything opened up.

Don't leave yet, it gets more interesting.

This was around 1990 and I had my first agent from a director who had heard of me. The agent wasn't the best one, but he took me. It lasted two years with not one sale and few meetings.

Then I ran through a few other agents and ended up with the one I had till we parted a few years ago.

And my little story about me and my teacher and my buddies suddenly was "hot" as they say. In fact, I was getting meetings like crazy. I remember one time when I was working on a series in Canada and flew back to LA for one day and four meetings.


This was a weird thing for me, studies and networks and more. They liked me. Well, at least they said they liked me. And my script.

Emperor of Mars.

What's EOM? (that was the short way of saying it). I know, sort of smug but what the heck. I remember one producer, Steve Tisch. Maybe you've seen one of his movies, Forrest Gump. I walked into his office with his exec and "Steve" if I may say said "Ah, Mister Emperor Of Mars."

I couldn't believe it. Maybe after I left he'd forget, but for that moment, I was Mister EOM.

And that was the beginning of my screenplay going everywhere in town. I will scan one page for you. Most of the companies are still around, the players change but the company doesn't.

Just one thing.

Nobody wanted to make it.

That was around 1994. It still hasn't been made. Why? 

I don't know.

However it has been optioned six times - 6 times. I still have all the contracts. Around 2003 I was ready to make it, they let me direct and it was ready to go. Until one of the producers wanted more than the others. It was over as fast as it began.

However it got me a stack full of jobs, including around 15 screenplays made and episodic work. It was going all great until the one thing you've heard a few times before.

 The Death of the TV Movie.

Most of my movies were TV movies and that line above does not sound good. I'll repeat it fast as you've heard it before, "Death". 

Here's an example of what was the best agent I had. writing is a little hard to see but it gives you an idea as to how much work agents put into. Lots of phone calls and more calls and emails.

But everything changed after the death of the TV movie.  I'll try to post part 2 this week, probably around Wednesday.

Thanks again.

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