Monday, May 22, 2006

So I was sitting there waiting for Hollywood to call

Well, I was going to post about this over the weekend, but there were better things to do.

Those of you who are good bloggers and have followed the link, top left saying 'Buy some books!' will know that I have a website for a company called DevilDog Publishing. DevilDog have actually published a book, so I suppose it's fair to say that it is a publishing company. No-one has paid money for that book, however. Well, not yet anyway. There's still time. I don't put a lot of effort into marketing it, either, which might explain the lack of sales success. But it remains a showcase for my not inconsiderable talent.

An earlier iteration of the site had mailto: links on most pages, each different type of story having it's own email address. I learnt the hard way that this was a stupid idea - getting the same spam email fifteen times a day is not much fun. Still, filters are in place now, and the site sports a natty little contact form that makes life difficult for the spambots. And every so often I get an email titled 'A Query from the DevilDog website from - ' and a name.

Just over a week ago, one of these messages popped up out of the blue. It was from a Hollywood director, working out of the Warner Bros lot, whose movie is in post-production and who wants to do a comic book adaptation and an ongoing monthly spin-off from the film. Could we talk? I won't name names, because that's unprofessional and this deal's not dead in the water yet. But I checked out the details and it rings true - the movie and the director exist.

My first email reply was tentative to say the least. I really wasn't sure what the whole thing was about and I got the distinct impression the director had stumbled across the DevilDog site on a google search and mistaken it for an actual company. There was one line in particular that had me worried - 'we like your work very much.' In order to read my short stories or extracts from my novels on the site, you have to register first, then download them as pdf files. This allows me to keep track of who's reading what (in theory - in fact nobody's reading anything.) Any time someone downloads something from the site, I get an email telling me that it's happened, and the database behind the site is updated. Apart from a couple of Inspector McLean mysteries that are presented in all their glory directly on the site, you can't read any of my work without my knowing about it. And even those stories come up on StatCounter as page hits.

As far as I can tell, this movie director has never read anything I've written, unless its been passed on to him by someone else.

Still, I'm not going to turn down an opportunity to be chewed up and spat out by the Hollywood machine. I explained as best I could that I wasn't actually a publisher, more of a writer, and since then I have been exchanging emails with this fellow, trying to sort out a time when it would be OK for him to phone me, all the while trying to find a polite way of saying I'm probably not what he thinks I am (which is to say a publisher of comics). Still, he seems keen to get in touch.

The movie is a horror picture, which is a bit alarming. I tend to avoid these like the plague - I don't like blood and guts on screen much. But from what I can gather, it's less of a slasher horror and more spooky scary supernatural. This is more my field and the whole premise looks like it could be very interesting, especially developing it into an ongoing series. Finding an artist to collaborate with might be tricky, though Warren Ellis' forum site The Engine has a few likely candidates touting their wares. More difficult would be finding a proper, pukka publisher to put the whole thing together and get it out into the comic shops. Still, with a movie behind it for the marketing push, there should be someone out there willing to give it a punt.

But I mustn't get excited. It's all going to fall through. Hollywood will never phone.


Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

OMG James. Okay, I'm one of those people who will check the source code to verify that an email seems to really be coming from a person residing in the corner of the world the sender's supposed to be in.

Or make Kevin look at it and see if there's anything off.

But that would be so incredibly cool, and it must be hard not to get excited. I, for one, think you should do a full-length McLean work and that would be fantastic!

Of course, you should also do a write up on DevilDog for Spinetingler like I asked you ages ago.

I swear, you try and give somebody a little promotion...

May 22, 2006 9:37 pm  
Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

Fuck. Blogger ate my comment.

Or did it. Sometimes they appear later.

I'll check back...

May 22, 2006 9:37 pm  
Blogger JamesO said...

Yup, Blogger ate your comment, then vomitted it up like a dog that's been chewing grass.

I really don't think this is a wind-up. DevilDog is too small and insignificant to be worth the effort, so any attempt at spoofing me would just rebound on the spoofer. It would be well cool if it came off, but I'm cynical enough to not get my hopes too high. The director's at Cannes at the moment, so it's all gone rather quiet.

As for Spinetingler, I must have missed that request. I'll do you a write up if you want one. I'd be an idiot not to - you guys get more downloads for an issue than I've ever had hits on that site, and I've owned the URL for nearly ten years now.

Let me know what you want. The cheque is in the post.

May 22, 2006 10:13 pm  
Blogger Vincent said...

It'd be cool if it did come off, but the film industry is full of people with grand plans for films that ultimately come to nought.

So, it'd be a cool if it did come off, but just be careful to avoid finding yourself doing anything for a project that's never going to get out of development Hell.

May 23, 2006 12:01 pm  
Blogger Dr. Lisa said...

This would be awesome. I have no idea how this actually works, but I had a friend sell a treatment. Movie never got made, but she was paid. Not the worst thing that could happen to you.

May 23, 2006 12:10 pm  
Blogger JamesO said...

Vincent - the movie is 'in the can', which I believe is the correct terminology, and it's back by Warner Bros, so unlikely to sink without trace (though that can happen). I'll name it if nothing more has happened in a week or so.

Lisa, a friend of my sister wrote the original script for the movie 'Twins' with Danny DeVito and Governor Arnie. He got paid, but the movie that came out was something entirely different. That's Hollywood, I guess.

May 23, 2006 1:11 pm  
Blogger Vincent said...

Given most of my regular web-surfing involves movie news and rumour sites, I feel like I should go don my Sherlock Holmes beanie cap (complete with propeller) and see if I can figure out what'd be.

May 23, 2006 7:23 pm  
Blogger JamesO said...

I'll give you twenty questions...

May 23, 2006 9:40 pm  
Blogger Eddie said...

Hi, I was surfing the internet and here I am at your blog. I'm quite impressed , with how you have put it all together.

I'll be coming back again.


June 09, 2006 12:30 pm  

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