Saturday, July 15, 2000

Bastille Crazy...



Since my ankle still won't seem to cooperate, I have decide to take an extended break from running and give it a rest. In order to satisfy my craving for aerobic activity, I have taken up swimming. The park where I run also has a pool that opened on June 21st and I figured I should take advantage of the situation. The first night, I swam for about twenty minutes and then went home and cried for three hours. Not because I was particularly upset, but because I didn't have goggles on when I was in the water and my eyes felt like they were on fire. The next day, I bought some goggles. If I get out of work on time, I can swim for about a half hour before they close the pool and I sink to the bottom in a state of pure exhaustion. But the goggles help a lot.

To celebrate the July 4th Holiday weekend, I went to a Bob Dylan concert down in Del Mar, just north of San Diego. Originally, I was planning to go to the concert in Ventura (about an hour north of here) with tickets I won from the radio. But the tickets never showed up. Fortunately, the nice lady at the radio station offered to replace them with six tickets to the show the next day. Cool! I went with Brian and two other friends. However, when we got there we found out that the six tickets were actually three pairs of tickets: one for the fair and one for the concert. We didn't find that out until we had already bought fair admission tickets, though, and I had to buy an additional concert ticket as well. Bob was very good and did a really nice version of "Wheel on Fire."

Instead of driving all the way back after the show, I had made arrangements for a nice motel room just up the road. But when we got to the motel, we were told that my credit card had not 'authorized' and so they gave my room away. I had just used the card to buy the Dylan ticket earlier that day and made the guy recheck it himself. Of course, this time it 'authorized.' It didn't matter though, because there weren't any rooms left in that or any other motel in the area. So we drove home, arriving at 3:30 a.m. The next day I got a parking ticket.

Somehow, during the weekend, I also managed to lose a copy of my script: IN YOUR DREAMS. I had been working on another rewrite because a production company called Armada Pictures got in touch with me and asked to take a look at it. They liked what they saw and offered me an option. But first, they had some suggestions for a few changes. To my surprise, their ideas were excellent. They showed me where I could cut some extraneous material and helped reformulate the ending. They also had some great casting ideas. Since the movie is about a guy who dreams of being James Bond and then gets entangled in a real-life Bond-style adventure, they want to get Roger Moore or George Lazenby or Timothy Dalton (or any two, or all three) to play the villains. They keep sending me e-mails about how they are really eager to contact the "Ex-Bonds."

Before they do that, they have to have a signed option agreement from me, giving them permission. The original offer they made was about as low as you can go, although they offered me a "bonus point" for the rewrite I am doing. In other words they would give me an extra percentage point on the 'back-end' profits they receive. As any Hollywood writer will tell you, there ain't no back-end profits. Or to paraphrase a character in Mamet's 'Speed the Plow': "There are only two rules in Hollywood -- the first is there is no "net", and the second I don't remember..." Anyway, I looked up a few standard options on the Internet and counter-proposed an additional point on the 'front-end' i.e. percentage of the final budget once the film goes into production (or "real money"). I sent them my offer on Friday and worried all weekend. On Monday, I got a response from them giving me the extra point up front plus two extra points on the back-end, which was actually more than I had asked for. But, apparently they thought what I was asking for didn't include the "bonus point", so I ended up with what amounts to a standard Writer's Guild option agreement, even though I am not a member of the Guild. Pretty savvy, huh?

I still haven't received the agreement yet and I so I still have my fingers crossed, but it looks like as of next week we will be in business. There's no money in it for me at this point, because they are just starting out and they don't have any money. But, I am confident that the script will generate a great deal of interest and when we get the Ex-Bonds on board, the investors will be lined up around the block.

Tonight I am going to Cousin Blake's birthday party. Haven't seen those folks in a long time. I'm looking forward to telling them the news.

Hope everyone is doing well. Next month at this time I'll be in Maine.

Love HWD

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