Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Vraiment un Joyeux Noël

Circumstance Induced Mania was a disease I made up to describe how I felt when a clusterfuck of good news sent me crashing into a very uncomfortable mood. I remember adding a new corollary to my list of life lessons learned: Good news is as hard to take as bad news.

Yesterday I had an appointment with my friend/Doctor, Art, and while I was in his waiting room I got a call from writing partner, Warren. He had great news about our screenplay—really great news (that of course may come to nothing in the long run), but as soon as I hear it all I started freaking out.

When Art arrived, I was shaking like someone with delirium tremens. I was there to renew a prescription but he wanted to know why I was trembling and when I tried to explain, I felt embarrassed and silly for being upset about good news and having to tell someone about it and so I started to cry.

Art knew my Dad. He was Dad's doctor too and he knows all about Dad's issues and he thinks my anxieties about success come from Dad's abuse. I was very happy that someone I trust saw how hard good news can be for me and I value his insights greatly.

Anyway, Warren and I got very good news. Essentially, we have a seriously interested producer and what is shocking is the degree of his interest considering he has not read the script. That is the point of this post.

Sure, the screenplay is important but as he says, it will go through at least four evaluations and re-writes. What matters is the plot—it s drama and its politics, the characters and their gender (strong female roles are a huge plus, as is an appeal to a female audience), writers' union membership (we would have been doomed if we were unionized writers) and rights—we won points for being a true story with a living subject who is willing to have his story fictionalized.

Warren and my non-union membership, the dramatic roles for so many women, the subjects of adoption/loss and reunion and the French and English nature of our story in our bilingual nation allowed our producer, Brad, to tick off so many of his boxes that the actual words on the page became secondary. Now he's reading it, but I am confident that his reading will reinforce his enthusiasm not dampen it.

Uncle Gus' Monkey may actually become a movie. I may actually be able to add "executive producer" and "screenwriter" to my irrelevant curriculum vitae. But what a great way to enter heaven.

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