Friday, May 30, 2008

The Big, BIG News: Part Two

Okay, so picking up where we left off:

Production companies and studios were interested but...THE STRIKE. Also, I'd met with the wonderful Meryl Poster (and fortunately had googled her enough to know about her projects but not TOO much so I knew about what a VIP she is, or else I really would have freaked out...that googling came after the meeting - fortuitous, really), but regardless, everything in Hollywood was on hold.

So when the strike finally came to an end (hurrah!), my agent and I got on the horn with our film agent and said, "What now?" She decided to take the project back to the main parties who expressed the most interest pre-strike. She also sent me a note and asked if I'd go back in and chat with Meryl again. Um. Of course!

So I whisked off my sweat pants and put on something slightly more acceptable and headed down for another fab and fun pow-wow with Meryl and her (wonderful!) #2, Kate. We gabbed about my dream cast, what came next and all of that. We were concerned that since the studios had stocked up on scripts pre-strike, that they might not take another look at this unless we attached an actress and/or a screen-writer. (FYI: when I say "attach," that's really just H-wood speak for someone who signs on to the project. I.e. if Reese Witherspoon "attaches" herself to an adaptation, it gives the studio a lot more confidence that the project will actually get done, as opposed to flopping around in development and going nowhere.)

The next day or so, my film agent calls me and says, "We can do a few things: 1) we can keep shopping it around to folks who might be interested or 2) Meryl and her team have asked for an exclusive for two months to see if they can get this done. It's your call."

I thought about it for about five minutes and made the obvious decision: here was a producer who had taken the time to LISTEN to me and my ideas, who I genuinely liked and who really had a deep, deep understanding of the book and its themes. Why wouldn't I entrust her with this for a few months, give her the shot to demonstrate how much she's invested in the project and ultimately, also prove to her how much I trust her?

So we gave them two months. About a month later, I get a call from my lit-agent saying, really, more squeeing, that we're expecting an offer from The Weinstein Company! This was huge news because, beyond the obvious, Meryl was once Harvey Weinstein's right-hand gal, and the fact that they were reteaming on something meant they really wanted to get this done.

So I squeeed and squeeed and waited by my email for more details...and waited....and waited....and finally, like a week and a half later or something, we got the offer. I jumped up and down and squeeed some more and would have immediately accepted (because I am a writer, not an agent) but my agent is savvier than I am and prepared a counter-offer. (See, this is why agents are good things. Very good things. Because I would have squeeed forever and happily cashed whatever sum of money they shoved at me and called it a day.)

We counter-offered. And then...radio-silence. For-evah. Like, for weeks. I was dying. Agonizing. Every day between the hours of 1-5pm (the cross-over hours between my agent in LA and The Weinstein Co in NYC), I'd have to madly distract myself from hoping for an email or a phone call. Eventually, it got to the point where even that proved boring, and I frankly forgot about it. In the way that you can forget about these things: and by that I mean, I resigned myself to the fact that obsessing over my email for four hours a day couldn't be healthy since God knows when I was finally going to hear.

But...eventually...hear I did! We got their counter! By this point, the galleys were out in the world, and I knew that this announcement could really help bolster the pre-buzz and press coverage of the book. My agent said that we could counter again, but I had to weigh what was more important: adding a bit to my bank account or doing what was best for the book - getting this news out so that people really took an interest in it four months before the release. Because waiting another month for more negotiations could be detrimental to the books success.

So I said, "Please, let's be done! Let's be happy with this incredible good fortune and now go sell the hell out of this book." So we did. And I'm thrilled. After such a long process, I'd grown a little numb to the excitement of what's actually happening, but now, with this news out in the world and the excitement that you guys and everyone else is sending back to me, well, damn if I'm not on top of the world again! Just like the day I first heard the news.

So - one last time: SQUEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

Next week: the official press release and more film stuff. This is a great time to post film questions since we're on the subject, and I'll do my best to answer them. I should also say that this is solely my experience - I'm sure that other film deals have varied wildly and this isn't necessarily representative of what always goes down. Just as a disclaimer...

8 comments:

jen said...

Allison, I am so, SO happy for you! I hope you're celebrating!

Amy Nathan said...

Congrats! What great news!

Larramie said...

How exhausting but SO worth it! SQUEEEEEE!

Gail said...

What a great story, Allison! Congratulations!!!

Renee Rosen said...

Wow! Allison--this is fantastic. I'm really thrilled for you. Keep us posted and congratulations!

Manic Mom said...

OK, I'll be the first to ask, but I am guessing you can't even give clues, but let's just say HYPOTHETICALLY... who would you want to play the parts of the characters, and you can't say Patrick Dempsey .. hahaha!

CONGRATS! Way exciting!

Maureen McGowan said...

Squeeing along with you!

Trish Ryan said...

Squee is right!!! This is seriously exciting, and I can't wait to hear more!!!