Mark Terry

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Stalking The Elusive Movie Option

September 21, 2006
So, I'm minding my own business... well, no, actually I wasn't minding my own business. I was minding somebody else's business, working on Chapter 11 of my nonfiction book-length business report. But I digress.

My cell phone sang out Bach's "Toccata and Fugure." Hmmm. Nobody calls me on my cell phone. Well, almost nobody. My office is in the basement and the connection is so-so and I have an office phone and...

But I digress.

Anyway, it was Irene, my agent (still get a kick out of saying that, although I say it sometimes with a deep sigh of despair... but I digress in the middle of my digression...) and she said, "Is this a good time to talk? You're not in a meeting or anything, are you?"

I hate meetings. It's a good thing I'm a freelance writer who works alone in his basement. The only meetings I attend involve my office manager and his daily walks. What was Irene thinking? If I was in a meeting, it would have been a teleconference and I would have been on the phone, well, not on my cellular phone, but...

I digress.

"No, no meeting. What's up?" I'm thinking, you just sent "Dancing in the Dark" out to five or six publishers on Monday. We haven't heard anything back from them by Wednesday. They haven't even got it yet.

She says, "How's working coming on ANGELS FALLING?"

ANGELS FALLING is the third Derek Stillwater novel. It's due sometime in December (I think. There was some postal issues with the contracts and the advance, and I don't actually have a copy of the contracts for books #3 and #4 in my hand at the moment). I say it should be done soon. I'm doing a final polish, I'm about 250 pages done, have about another 100 to polish off, give or take, but it's essentially done. Why?

"Well, we've got another film scout asking to read it, a production company associated with Sony, and they say the idea sounds fantastic, which sounds promising anyway, can you send it to him?"

Sure, I say. I'll make a PDF of it and e-mail it right off. What's the e-mail address?

Always exciting, although one learns quickly not to hold your breath waiting for these things to happen or, for that matter, to get TOO excited. This is the third or fourth time a production company has asked to read one of my manuscripts, which is three or four times more than they had with either of my earlier books. In fact, as far as I'm concerned, the more the merrier--the more producers that read it, the more likely it is one of them will option one of them.

I made a comment to Irene about my reality-check, ie., I have heard that only 1 in 20 books that actually get optioned get produced, and the number of books that get optioned is pretty small anyway. She said, "Oh who cares? I know an author that's made half a million dollars on one book that keeps getting optioned over and over again, but never made into a movie."

I commented back at her that the guy who wrote "Catch Me If You Can" said the same thing. That it got optioned every year for about 15 years before Spielberg optioned it and made it into a movie with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, and he thought it was a license to steal, because he kept getting $20,000 or so every year from a book he'd written years before.

Then I told her about my wife and I talking about George Clooney and Nicole Kidman, and Leanne saying Clooney would make a good Derek Stillwater, and I said, "Hey, I just read something about him forming a new production company, maybe I should send them a copy of THE DEVIL'S PITCHFORK just for grins..."

But I digress.

Mark Terry


Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

I seem to recall Ed Hoch saying somewhere that he had payments for an option on his Nick Velvet series for many years without it ever being turned into anything. I also knew a fellow who got about $16,000 for an option on the photocopied mini-comic he sold for a quarter to a couple hundred small press folks.

9:33 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Yeah, it's not like you can count on it, but it does happen, so I figure as long as people are interested--and they do seem to be--we'll just keep plugging away at it. A blind pig and an acorn, etc.

10:23 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Okay, when you're hot you're hot. Got another communique from Irene saying to send a copy of ANGELS FALLING to another guy, a VP at one of the studios who's interested.

Fingers & toes crossed.

12:39 PM  
Anonymous dory said...

"Options" little known possibilities that writers aren't
aware of.

I guess this is when everyone holds their breath.

Trust you will keep us posted.

1:20 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Yes, Dory. I think it's pretty much a given that if I got a film option not only would I announce here on the blog and on the news page of the site, but you could probably hear me hollaring down there in Ohio. Something along the lines of, oh, "Eureka! Hot damn! Yippee! Wheeeeee!"

Or maybe a dignified, "Cool."

1:33 PM  
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