Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I still dream...

...About making movies. Directing my scripts into instant classics. Which is what they'd be, of course; I'm not capable of writing crap or making crap. Sure.

My favorite dream deals with making The Cowboy King of Texas, based on John Millington Synge's "The Playboy of the Western World". It's a classic play of unparalleled beauty in its use of language and sharp satire. I shifted it from the west of Ireland just after the turn of the 20th Century to Texas in 1880, and it worked. It's probably my funniest script as well as my most romantic.

I won my first screenwriting awards with it -- 2 of them from Worldfest Houston (when it was known as the Houston International Film Festival). "Best Adaptation - Drama" and "Best Screenplay", beating out a thousand other scripts. I came out to LA, not long after, and got a few meetings...but nothing happened. I got a lot of the "Westerns aren't selling" stuff even though Dances With Wolves and Unforgiven were doing kick-ass business and winning Oscars.

The following year I adapted two books into a script about the life of Beryl Markham for some women I'd met in LA through a friend, and it won "Best Adaptation - Drama" from HIFF. What happened then? The women lost the rights to the books to Sydney Pollack and he wouldn't even read my script; I wasn't proven and he wanted to work with his own screenwriter. He never got the movie done. And I was left out in the cold.

I should have taken a hint that Hollywood does not want me, but I didn't. I'm oblivious to the obvious, sometimes...and sometimes deliberately so. I get locked into something and just cannot contemplate the problems that might arise or how there might be better ways to get what you're after. I think it's a family trait; I have a brother with the same mindset.

So here I am, nearly 25 years and 30 more scripts and two dozen awards later, and not one jot closer to getting a movie made from something I've written. And now I'm getting the "Vampires are so last year, now" and "Nobody's doing romcoms, anymore" responses. Yet I'm still dreaming.

Doesn't that fall under the definition of insanity?

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