Friday, March 19, 2010
If it seems like I've abandoned this blog, it's because I have. Well, not really. But I've been extremely busy, and what spare internet rambling time I've had has been devoted to Twitter.
So, what have I been up to that's so damn important?
Well, I suppose the biggest news is that the feature film rights to my Boom! Studios book, Unthinkable, by Mandalay Entertainment.
That's right, UNTHINKABLE WAS OPTIONED!
Here's the story at The Hollywood Reporter's "Heat Vision Blog"
Here's me talking out of my ass to MTV Splash Page reporter Blair Marnell about who I think should play the roles in the movie. In reality, I won't have any say. But rumors seem to work for other creators, so lets add my speculative fuel to the fire.
The word option gets thrown around a lot, but it's not necessarily clear what it means. Basically, Mandalay has paid for the right to make an Unthinkable movie within a certain time period.
I use the word with both caution and pride. Caution, because I don't want to be another braggart who implies that I've hit Hollywood gold - and you can to, if you write creator owned books. And pride, because, quite frankly, most options that you hear about don't involve money. The fact that someone was willing to bet money on Unthinkable, especially in this climate, is a real vote of confidence in not just me, but everyone involved with the book.
The inevitable questions that arise when there's news like this is are:
How much money am I making?
There's no good answer to this. A high number invites envy, a low number pity. I am tempted to say it's none of anyone's business, and it isn't. But I also appreciate that there are aspiring creators who want to know. To those creators I'd say this - don't write a comic if you are looking to make a fortune in Hollywood. Write a comic because you want to make a comic.
Don't get me wrong - I'm extremely flattered by the interest Hollywood interest in Unthinkable. But if I wanted to make money, I probably could have found an easier way with all my degrees than going into the creative side of the entertainment business.
And if I was dead set on making on Unthinkable movie...I could have just written the screenplay. There are a number of reasons why I wrote a comic and not a screenplay. But the most important of all is that, while I have many screenplays sitting in drawers that no one will ever see, none of them mean as much as having published books that I can hold in my hands.
The best answer to the money question is, I suppose, is "I don't know." I'm guaranteed a certain amount. I'm promised more if a studio buys it, and even more if it gets made. I have my hopes for both those things happening, but this is a business where few things are bought and even fewer are made.
Will I write the screenplay?
Highly unlikely. But that's okay. One of the other reasons that I chose to write a comic is...when I came up with the idea for Unthinkable, I knew it was something with commercial potential. But I truly wanted to say something with this book. Boom! let me tell the story I wanted - they even gave me an extra issue to do so. And I'm not sure there's a film director or special effects studio that can do on celluloid what artist Julian Totino Tedesco can do on paper. The point is, I got my vision out - so now I'm okay if someone else messes it up.
I say that jokingly. I actually think the project is in great hands. The producers have it out to "A-list" writers who have a much better chance of getting this made than I do. I could write the best screenplay in the world...but this is a big budget action movie, and studios will want a proven name attached.
Hopefully, one day I'll be that proven name. I continue to work on film and TV projects, and I'd be lying if I said that I didn't want to write a feature. Having Unthinkable (and other books) optioned ultimately makes it more likely that it will.
Which brings me to the last question:
WHY SHOULD YOU CARE ABOUT THIS?
Well, I'd like to think that you love me as a human being and wish me happiness. But in these tough times...it's hard to be happy for anyone, especially in Hollywood.
But if you've been a fan of my comics work...thinks like this makes it much more likely that I'll produce more. What money I get from things like this allows me to write professionally. I'm also a creator that puts his money where his mouth is. I've spent more money than I'd care to remember paying various members of my creative teams.
I'm hoping this news augurs well for future work (there are already some cool things on the horizon which I'll blog about soon).
But regardless of what happens from here on out...I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude not only to the creative, editorial and publishing teams of Unthinkable, but to the reviewers that helped make this both a critical and commercial success.
Mostly, though...I have to thank my readers. There's been no better salesman than word of mouth. But more than that, I've learned a ton from my readership. They are smarter than me, quite frankly, and as a result I have to constantly work to become a better writer so I can amuse and surprise them.
Next post...what else I've been up to.
P.S. There's a movie coming out called "Unthinkable" with Samuel L. Jackson in it. That is NOT my movie, just a bad coincidence.