The first was with Producer X, a spec-project with which I was involved a few weeks back. To recap that one, it turned out that he and I had considerably different visions of what a theatrical script should look like, and we–by which I mean I–elected to part ways before the draft was finished.
The second deal, an option to which is now being negotiated with a fellow whom I've been calling Elvis, wanted a script that my collaborator Reaves and I did a while back, a low-budget caper thing. In that case, we had two would-be producers of the theoretical movie interested at once, and the first one–Jerry Lee–turned out to have a game-plan that looked an awful lot like an end-run around the option he wanted. Good-bye Jerry Lee and hello, Elvis ...)
Hollywood deals are kind of like a mirage in the desert–they look great in the distance, but as you draw closer, as often as not, they vanish.
Three producers at my door, wow. However it was not so much it-never-rains-but-it-pours, as you think it's a storm, but the rain doesn't reach the ground ...
So much for torturing metaphors ...
Um. So, Producer X called with the notion that he'd seen the light and wanted me to finish the script. Been a bit hasty, he said, realized he had gummed up the works, and would I reconsider. He'd stay quiet and let me write.
I demurred. Nothing had really changed, I said. Yes, he could bite his tongue and let me get done, but he didn't really want to do that, and his connection to the story (his idea) is such, as I see it, that he wasn't going to be happy with anything I did. There are things that, once seen, can't be unseen, and this was one of those cases.
Yep, he agreed with that.
Besides which, you don't really want a theatrical script running a couple hours, you want at minimum a miniseries, and an open-ended series for premium cable would be better.
That was true, he allowed.
Then why call?
Well, the bottom line is that if he had a script to show around, even if he didn't like it, that was better than not having a script to show around.
As you may surmise, I could agree with this, but not feel particularly compelled to continue work under those circumstances.
We ended the conversation on good terms. I like the guy, he's personable, and his idea is a good one; I'm just not the writer to realize it for him.
In the case of Elvis, we have kicked a deal memo back and forth, and are getting down to brass tacks. If he gets the option, if he can get it up and onto the silver screen we won't be talking about a summer blockbuster but an ultra-low budget picture. Unless it turns out to be the next Blair Witch Project, we won't see anything on the back end. Still, it would be one more tick on the bucket list ...
Stay tuned. The excitement never ends ...