In recent interviews I’ve spoken about how I almost got a movie deal for my book ANGST FOR THE MEMORIES. Here’s how it happened--
I released the book ANGST FOR THE MEMORIES and gave a copy to my friend Muddy. Muddy was doing studio work at the time with a guy whose wife was the head of Double Feature Films (Pulp Fiction, Man in the Moon) Muddy left the book at the studio by mistake one day and this guy picked it up and started reading it. From that accidental concurrence of events I got a call from the studio guy who was blown away by the book and asked “Did I want to make a TV show out of this?” -- Of course making a movie or a TV show out of my book had never occurred to me, this was 2004 and I was busy touring with RATT. Anyway the three of us, Muddy me and this guy started making the rounds of the major TV and movie production houses to pitch the book as a ‘Twilight Zone’-like series, mind you I was just a musician not a screenwriter or a dealmaker so I mostly just clammed up while the guys in Suits discussed my book
“It’s a little…weird…” one said.
“How do you see this…translating to the big screen?” said another
“There’s lots of drug references…” someone said frowning--of course in 2021 ‘lots of drug references’ could easily play on Nickelodeon. |
And on it went. We finally had a meeting with IFC the Independent Film Channel. Somebody asked me to tell the story of ‘Gas Station’ in my book and I did and that apparently sold them. It also helped enormously that Double Feature Films would be involved. Teenage San Fernando Valley Stoner movie, like Dazed and Confused only with harder drugs was what we were picturing.
We had a final dinner at some fancy restaurant and they all talked about the movie they were going to make. It was a bit surreal, Muddy and I just sat there eating our arugula salad, totally out of our depth. Everyone clinked glasses and as Muddy and I drove home he said “Can we high five each other now?”
Yes we can.
They (the IFC people) thought I should try my hand at writing the screenplay first. Of course I had never written a screenplay before so they gave me several scripts to read so I could get the feel. I got an advance copy of the Dirt (very different from the Netflix version) I got Almost Famous, a few others. I went to the local library and got some books –HOW TO WRITE A SCREENPLAY—how cheesy is that?
At that time in 2005 I was in RATT touring on the Rock Never Stops tour. I would be buzzed in my hotel room and the phone would ring and it would be the head of Double Feature, The Dragon Lady herself. I would try to compose myself like an adult as we discussed movie budgets, filming locations etc—all very surreal again, totally out of my comfort zone.
But alas, it was not to be. IFC had a small budget for their movies (a MILLION DOLLARS is small?) and when they wanted to cut corners and do some things that were strictly non-union Double Feature had to back out—they were a real studio and they couldn’t get in trouble by going non-union commando. I got the news while shopping at Trader Joes and it totally sucked. But then again 99% of all screenplays never make it to film so I was in good company I guess. Undaunted I bounced back and in 2006 I wrote Unhappy Endings, I was back to the pleasure of writing for its own sake and not for some giant corporate Being. I guess if some people in the ‘Biz’ thought my book was good enough to make a movie out of that’s good enough for me…