H o l l y w o o d   D r e a m s
by Beverley Wood
Well, they let their option expire. Our agent had negotiated what we considered really nice package...and we let them have the first six month option for $1.00. (There are various schools of thoughts on this -- but we were unknowns, the purchase deal was nice, and these guys believed in it, so I knew they would run with it.) When the renewal came up, it was time to fork over some cash if they wanted to stay in, according to the terms of the option agreement. So let's just say, they folded their hand at the raise of stakes...which was disappointing. But, we made a great contact and I stay in touch to this day. I'd happily work with them again, should the opportunity arise.
We went back to our agent with our original set of "warm response" leads and let her go to work. In the meantime, my dear friend in Toronto, Fred Duvall, who has his own recording studio, gathered some incredible talent and wrote a song to go with the movie (Click Here to listen to the chorus. It takes a minute to load). They recorded it (hey, this was a serious venture with some very talented musicians) and Freddy burned it to CD. It's a killer song, if I do say so myself. Now our agent sent out a not just scripts, but packages: The script, the book and the CD.
We waited again.
And while we waited, I got on the internet and found legitimate sites where I could pitch the DogStar script (www.screenconnect.com and www.hollywoodnetwork.com for starters). [ A quick word of advice. If you've got something to pitch at any internet site, register it first to protect yourself (with the Writer's Guild in Canada or America -- or both if you intend to pitch it in both countries). And rewrite it at least a few dozen times before you post it because you are showing it cart blanche.]
We knew someone on the board of directors for a very major player in the North American film industry, so asked for their recommendation. Our agent sent him the script, which he read first and then passed along to the CEO, with a recommendation. The CEO liked it but thought it might be more MOW (Movie of the Week). He sent it to their TV Division in Los Angeles, with a recommendation.
Okay, now a few people have said yes. The publisher, the agent, the guy on the board of directors and the CEO. (It's kinda like snakes and ladders; Yes is a ladder, no is a snake...and a no like the T.O. ProdCo gave us is a really long snake.) What did we do? We waited, of course.
A couple of weeks later, I got a query from one of the internet sites. An LA ProdCo! He wanted to see the book and was interested in the rights. I explained that we had a script. I agreed to send him a book, our agent would send him a script and we could talk. Whoo-hoo! Two more -- at the same time.
We know what we can reasonably expect, financially (and we have an agent, whose job it is to handle that). Sure, money (and the freedom it brings) is part of it, but it's not the real motivation. The true, inner, driving force is the widest audience possible for the story. And that's most likely an LA studio production.
But that scenario also has downsides... because there's not much chance if Hollywood actually buys your movie that you're even going to see one day on the set, unless the director is one who wants the writer there.
That's even assuming that you are credited as the writer by the time they are done rewriting your script. Of course, that's also assuming they don't just say, we want ALL the rights, period.
"Sure, sure, kid, we'll pay you for your script." And then they rip it up and give the book to William Goldman" and say "go for it Billy."
[Another aside: This actually IS my husband's version of the Hollywood Dream (he read this in a screenwriting book): You drive to the border of California with your script. You meet the studio at the state line. You toss your script to them. They toss you a suitcase full of money. You forget it completely and write another one. My version has me on set, daily...with Ron Howard or Penny Marshall or...well, it's my dream...Steven himself. (No, not Steven Seagal, either...) ]
In the meantime, the TV Division of the Los Angeles ProdCo likes Dogstar but they think it's a feature. They send it to their Feature Division, with a recommendation. (Be still my beating heart.)
And finally...the LA Features Division says no and we slide back down the snake. They say no nicely; they like it, they really do. But their immediate need is something that can be shot yesterday, and the script needs work. (Oh shit. But the Toronto ProdCo said 'Good Work. Very Good Work.' Doesn't anybody know anything? ...no, I guess not.)
The good new is...the ProdCo that found DogStar on the net wanted an option! We negotiate through our agent and reach a happy agreement. He's connected, he believes...and he's got some hot prospects for the story (and we're impressed by who they are.) By now you know what we do... say with me... "We wait. Again."
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