Thursday, July 11, 2013

A brief but true tale about a kinky-sex-billionaire-international-paranoid spy thriller.

I'm in anecdote mode again today:


Back in the day, a writer of my acquaintance—let's call him Todd—had a decent career writing kids' sports bios for schools and libraries. You know: Derek Jeter, Tom Brady, LeBron James, Maria Sharapova.  Anyway, Todd, who was one of your basic good guys, took a break from athletic heroics to write a kinky-sex-billionaire-international-paranoid-spy epic and, somewhat to his surprise, the thing took off. 

Big six figure sale, foreign sales, tv and movie interest.  The offers poured in, the mention of large sums of money were tossed around and Todd was thrilled.

"I didn't know there was that much money in the world," he told me, astonished and delighted by the speed with which everything was happening.

A few weeks later, I ran into him on Lexington Avenue and 57th Street. He looked upset and quite downcast, especially for someone for whom everything was coming up roses.

"Todd, what's the matter?" I asked.

"I just came from my lawyer's office," he told me. "It was about the movie deal—"

"That's wonderful," I said.  "Congratulations!"

He shook his head. "I was really happy but do you know what he told me?" he said. "He said, 'Todd, they got ways to fuck you you haven't even thought of yet—'"

Lawyer turned out to be right. Todd wrote a treatment but the producer who was so hot to get the rights, couldn't make up his mind, maybe couldn't get the star or the financing he wanted/needed, asked for a rewrite, then another, finally decided he wasn't sure, wouldn't (or maybe couldn't) say exactly what had turned him from hot to lukewarm to cold. He stopped returning Todd's phone calls, and Todd's epic went from Big Deal to what? to who? to turnaround to nowhere.

Movie never got made.  Publisher moved on to next-big-thing. Book, naturally, never earned out. Todd didn't get a contract for his next kinky-sex-billionaire-international paranoid-spy epic. The big bucks turned out to be gossamer and Todd went back to writing sports bios. Something he does well, something he enjoys doing and at which he makes a decent living.

Sometimes all that glitters isn't gold.


No commercial today. No sales, no specials. If you're looking for a book, though, why not check out mine?  You could probably do worse. :-)









2 comments:

  1. What a sad little cautionary tale. And a major reality check writers need. We all think those big deals are in our future if we can just figure out the right formula and get the secret phone number of the good luck fairy. But even the good luck fairy can't compete with the evil that is Hollywood.

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  2. Thank you, Anne, for the comment and the kind words. Old advice applies here: Don't get too high when things are going well (which they will) and don't get too low when things are going badly (which they will.) Patience and perseverance are key.

    Hollywood has the attention span of a flea and the morals of a rattlesnake. Or so I have been told. :-)

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