That’s about all I can say.
Right before dinner last night, I zipped upstairs to my office to hit send on an email I forgot about. Click, went I. Whiz-Bang, went the message. Pop, went my inbox.
That’s when I saw it.
It was a message from a production company executive I’ve been working with toward developing a particular book series as a mini-series for a major cable network. I opened the message, hopeful for good news. Good news, it seemed, had taken the day off.
offers (one real, one not so much) on the table now. Also a writer, he didn’t
tell me who, that is making a play for it…
It sucks because mere months ago, I had checked in with the management company. The rights were available–free and clear. There was another producer I’d been trying to interest in the project. Yet, though I caught his attention and he’s been very generous with his time and consideration, he’s also up to his eyeballs with his own wildly successful cable series and its impending follow up. Go figure.
Last month, as I sat in this other exec’s (who is a really cool guy, as well) office, it occurred to me that I should mention the property and what I knew about it. And he did sometime no one else had done to date: he pricked up at the mention of it. He got up, went immediately over to his computer, and Googled the series title. One peek at the Wikipedia entry, and he was in. He was, in fact, kind of excited.
We parted with a commitment from him to verify the rights availability. If they were still clear, then it seemed he was interested in making a offer for them. Most important, he seemed committed to letting me adapt the thing, which would not only have been amazing fun, but a great and steady gig for at least the next two years…maybe even longer if somehow the thing could be leveraged into an ongoing series.
Not a bad position to be in, eh?
In the feeding frenzy of gobbling up rights to virtually every book, blog, TV show, and magazine article known to humankind, I was amazed when the word came back that the rights to this series–which is quite popular and well known in certain circles–had reverted back to the author’s estate. I had, it seemed, found the golden egg that rolled under the bed, overlooked by the scavengers. I tried to hurry. I tried to not tip my hand too overtly. I knew that it was only a matter of time until someone lifted the dust ruffle and discovered my little secret.
And so it came to pass.
I know I shouldn’t be upset. I know I shouldn’t let it get to me. And it won’t…not in the long run. Tomorrow I’ll wake up and reset and be okay. It’s who I am. It’s what I do.
But today I am pissed off. Today I feel bad. Today I just wanna curl up and cry.
The problem is that I broke the cardinal rule of the movie business. I am nearly as upset about that as I am about the project dying on the vine. I feel like a neophyte. I feel like an amateur. I feel stupid.
The problem is that I let myself get excited about the possibility. I built a tower of expectation, forgetting that such things are unstable in the extreme and prone to collapsing without warning. But I built the damned thing, anyway. And I climbed clear on up to the top without the slightest thought to the cuts and bruises I’d earn for my trouble if the thing went down.
Because it was a cool idea. Because it coulda worked. Because it came to me unexpectedly in the first place. And because I’d secretly harbored a dream that maybe I would be the guy to turn this book series into a movie since I was a kid.
POSTSCRIPT: When I got home from my lunch meeting today, I got a really nice hug & kiss from Robbye and then discovered something had come for me in the mail. A box. An Amazon box. And inside, this…
Very cool! But I didn’t understand. I hadn’t ordered it.
After some sleuthing around on the packing invoice, I found a little message: To: Bill From: Mike Happy Birthday, lad! Feel free to do the simian step as you return to those thrilling days of yesteryear.
And suddenly, between that and the nice greeting I got from my darling wife, my day started looking up.