Diggin' out those "old" scripts...

My prior blog (“They call it LOVE”) got me to thinking. It got me to thinking about other times when I unearthed a forgotten (or half-forgotten) screenplay from the depths of my filing cabinet and thrust them out into the world...

I wrote a comedy script back in 1995. For the sake of clarity, we’ll call it Joe’s Boondoggle. So I sent Boondoggle around to a few friends and got some nice feedback. But still, I wasn’t thrilled with the script. My gut instinct told me it just wasn’t ready. I wanted to “fix” it, but I didn’t quite know how. So I tucked it away in the back of a drawer and forgot about it.

Flash forward to 2005. I’m on the set of a movie (one that I wrote), chatting away with “Tom,” the public relations guy, and I’m telling him about my personal experiences with such-and-such. Tom says, “Ya know, I’ve always wanted to produce a movie about such-and-such. I think it could be very funny.” I tell him, “Really? Well, it just so happens I have a comedy script about such-and-such. It’s called Joe’s Boondoggle.” Tom’s eyes grew large and he says, “I want to read it!”

So I pulled that copy out of that filing cabinet, dusted it off, and gave it to him. He calls me a week later and says, “I love it. I think it’s very funny.” Then he tells me he’d like to “take the script around, see if I can get it set up somewhere.” Hey, sounds great! But I wanted to do a quick polish first. So I did. Then I gave him the script, and he sent it around to some of his connections.

Several months went by. Not much happened. My manager, who also loved the script, was sending the script out as well. (I gave the script to my manager the day before I left on a week-long trip to the east coast. A few days later, somewhere in Connecticut, I check my e-mail. I had three from my manager. The first one was, “I’m reading the script. I’m on page four and I’m already laughing!” Then I opened her second e-mail: “I’m on page 45...and I’m still laughing!” Then I open the third and final e-mail: “I just finished the script! It’s very funny!” Sure did make me feel good. This, friends, is why managers get 15%!)

Anyway, my manager got the script to some pretty big names. Alas, no takers. (One “V.I.P.” told us the script was funny but wasn’t mainstream enough. What a crock.) We’re still trying to get that script off the ground. I think it’ll happen...eventually.

Then there was a very creepy thriller I wrote in 2000. My intention was to produce it myself. Well, why not? After all, it’s the perfect low-budget script: two actors, one central location, virtually no special effects. It’s all about character, setting, and mood. Well, I never did get around to producing the darn thing...

But in 2003 I did meet up a young fella, “Ralph,” who was looking to put together a low-budget project. He was a film editor and had connections to equipment and crew, and he “loved” my script. I liked the way Ralph talked and I had a modicum of faith that he’d actually get my script into production. So I signed a one-year option for the grand sum of one dollar.

Keep in mind, I wasn’t looking for up front cash on this script. If I could’ve been paid a few bucks and been involved in the making of the movie, that would’ve been more than agreeable to me. But after just a few additional meetings with Ralph, he completely disappeared. I haven’t heard from him since. He’s probably bagging groceries at a Quik-E-Mart somewhere (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Moving on.

A few months prior to the expiration of Ralph’s option, I decided, “The heck with it, I’m gonna try to get this thing going elsewhere. If Ralph wants to take me to court for breeching our option contract, let him try.” (Though I knew that would never happen.)

So I get in contact with this movie director I sort of know. He’s the husband of a girl I’ve known since grade school. He’s done a couple of movies and is always looking for scripts that interest him. He’s read a couple of mine, but finds them too “middle-of-the-road.” He likes his films “dark” and “strange.” Then I remember my low-budget thriller that will soon be available. I tell him, “Ya know, I might actually have a script that’ll interest you.” “Send it to me,” he says.” Well, I did better than that – I hand delivered it to him at his house.

Two days go by and he calls me, says that mild-mannered voice of his, “I really like it. I think we can do something with it.” (Notice how he said “like,” not “love”? Always be moderately concerned when they tell you they “love” your script.)

Well, here we are a few years later, and it’s been a regular Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, but it looks like the script is on track to production in mid-2007. At least that’s what I’m being told.

But ain’t it kinda cool how “forgotten” scripts can be resurrected and garner some nice attention?

So, boys and girls, the moral here: Keep tabs on those old, dusty scripts!

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