Fire Sale

My Very Supportive Manager called to say one of the family channels is interested in my Hilarious Funeral Comedy. Actually she said they “love, love, love” it, which in Supportive Speak means they’re just about ready to buy. Four loves and they might even pay a decent buck for it.

Neither of us seems exactly sure how to feel about the prospect of this sale, since, while we're both just about at our whit's end with the thing, the second rate cable route wouldn’t exactly be our one-way ticket to Sundance. I’m also unclear as to what this particular network sees in an edgy script about sex, death and religion. I could be wrong, since I don’t have children and don’t even actually know any, but I can’t imagine wanting to explain to them why we’re all routing for the hot Amish farmhand to knock up the infertile Brentwood housewife while we’re sitting in the rumpus room passing around the Jiffy Pop.

The truth is, I’m desperate enough to let the thing go to anyone.  I’d sell it to the smarmiest group of right-to-lifers to use as a cautionary tale against the evils of dirty sex with a non-marital partner. I’d let the Scientologists offer it up with a hot meal in their weird-ass Celebrity Center to recruit unsuspecting runaways off the streets of Hollywood. I can't afford to be picky. I can't even afford the Jiffy Pop, I have to buy the store brand in the big stupid jar when it's on sale.

This doesn’t mean I don’t have a dream about The Way Things Were Supposed To Go. For example, there’s a time-honored ritual of alumni bringing their films back to my Big Deal Film School for a pre-release screening. Afterwards, you get a microphone and a director’s chair and the students ask you all kinds of fawning questions about how you made it those few feet from where they’re sitting to the veritable throne upon which you are now perched.

During my time there, this happy fate befell only a scant handful of filmmakers. Two had made small indies, one of them starring Hillary Swank totally miscast between her two Oscars as a French duchess. The other, coincidentally, was a hilarious funeral comedy starring Debra Winger and Ray Romano, who didn’t ultimately have the juice to get it distributed. Oh, and there was that very small picture about two losers on vacation in the wine country that managed to make such a big splash.

While I’d have settled for just about anything in between, I can’t help picturing the lame listserv announcement that will have to suffice in the event my Big TV Deal goes down. “Check out the inconsequential little movie of the week written by one of our own—if you happen to get this channel among the seven hundred and forty on your system or even watch TV at all.”  The silly thing is that I will print out this posting and mount it in my scrapbook on a page studded with foil hearts and stars to commemorate the best day I’ve had in a very, very long time, and the biggest victory of my life, so far.


  1. Hey, you gotta take those scrap-book moments where you can get them. The only thing I learned from scrap-booking, is that when you paste all your rejection slips in those things, your mom (well, MY mom anyway) starts to doubt your ability for the first time. And in my mom's case, the doubt never went away. I lost the only anchor I had because of that.

    Scrap-book every victory, no matter how small.

    I have fingers and toes crossed for you as usual, up here in The Great White North.

  2. Who keeps the rejection letters around? Those are lovingly crafted into pooper scoopers in my house.

  3. Julie,

    Yeah, I've kept every rejection letter I've ever had, even the ones from when I was a fifteen year old nitwit trying to get some short stories published. I'm not sure why I hold onto them. Now I'm a 31 year old nit wit with the same letters. Not a hell of a lot has changed.

    Help me out with something: I thought you sort of poo-poo'd the idea of writing something with an "independent" bent?

    By the way, whatever happened to your meeting, the one in three thing?

  4. Let's say I'm aiming for something between art house cinema and second rate cable garbage.

    My final studio meeting on the adaptation, which is down to one in two writers, by the way, is this afternoon.


  5. Good luck with the meeting. I'm sure I'll read about it soon. I wish for you nothing but the best.