Kinda Lost Something
Today, I lost something. It was very dear to me and it's no longer mine. Some else has it now.
In the early 00's, my career in screenwriting seemed set to take off. I had one concept get as far up the chain at Dreamworks as it can go - without being actually made.
I had an LA based producing partner and 'representation', and a handful of writing assignments. Still very much bottom rung writer in Hollywood terms, but crazy and dizzying progress for some guy from a country town in Australia.
That's when I received it. The thing I lost.
It was a short story from a bestselling UK author. I loved it and it would become my next assignment. I lobbied agents and literary managers to get my pitch to the author and before long, it was mine. I descended into it's landscapes, hung out with its characters, wrestled with it's message and themes. I wrote, re-wrote, rebooted, reimagined and threw it all away a dozen times over the next ten years. It taught me so much. It inspired many things in me. While other projects and priorities often pushed it aside, it was never far down the 'recent documents' list.
I fought hard to renew the rights in 2010, and was inspired again by regular contact with the author who was keen to see my interpretation. Another person who was keen to see it was Mr. 'Lord of The Rings' Peter Jackson. His visual effects wizards were soon sending me concept art for characters and key scenes. Me! It was this artwork I presented personally to the author in London. Jo and I sat with him and his manager in an exclusive club in SOHO. He was lovely. And curious. And very chill about letting go of his thing and giving it to me. We flew home with a sense of certainty that THIS WAS IT.
This thing that was well and truly mine would soon be OUT THERE.
A month later, it was in tatters. I'd lost the thing. Some poor decisions by the people who were my champions lead to the Kiwis dropping us in favour of some little project they were putting off called 'The Hobbit', and a disagreement over legalities saw the rights vanish.
This whole LA screenwriter dream was just silly in the first place. What was I thinking. I was utterly dejected and decided to live vicariously through a friend who had already forged his way into a perfectly impressive TV career in LA.
A year ago, some five years after I'd said goodbye to it, my friend asked me about the thing as he wanted to pitch it to someone he'd met. With some trepidation, I reached out to the author and his manager. We mended the bridges and he told me that someone else had the rights to that now, but he'd go on to sell us the rights to its sister.
And the thing was lost. Or was it?
A part of me suspected that it might still be available and that looking after the sister project might open the doors to our reintroduction. But the sister warrants it's own attention and my friend and I - and his friends in LA - have been doing a great job in developing its future. As I write this, it's looking very promising.
But today, as I boarded the morning bus, I saw an update from the author on Facebook. He was pleased to announce the release of a film adaptation of one of his stories. On Netflix. With an A-list Producer and Director. I watched the cryptic teaser. My suspicion was right and I just had to see it in the comments section to confirm it.
It was the thing that was once mine. Only now, it was clearly someone else's.
At first I was jealous. Then I was pissed off. But eventually, I just became curious.
Being a kindamindful person, I had a realisation.
'Why believe it was even mine to own? Attachment is not always a good thing, especially when its attachment to something as intangible and changeable as an idea.
I came to a good place and decided that I'd really like to see it on the big screen - well, big TV to be more accurate. If it's a hit then it won't hurt the intrigue around the sister project... which is written and sitting on the desks of various people who might now want to treat it with some urgency.
This thing I lost... lead me to find a new thing.
Something that has a life and fate of it's own. Sure, I'd like to fan the flames under it and see how high I can make it fly... but for now, I'll just protect it, nurture it and let it go when it's ready.