Yes. I know it has been yet another long silence from Yours Truly. I know. I should be better behaved. Typically, most of my thoughts and news updates, such as they are, get posted to my Facebook page. I enjoy talking over there because it’s so much more interactive. Whereas on the blog, it feels more like I’m on a podium, talking TO a bunch of people instead of talking WITH them, if that makes any sense. So…if you are reading this blog, but aren’t following me on Facebook, why not?
But today is different. Today, I have news that is just too big for my Facebook, and so I will post about it here and then post the link there so everyone can read it. I’ll also post the link to my Twitter. (Yes, I have one of those, too…geez! Where have you guys been?) Okay? Okay.
I have been sitting on this news for about as long as I can stand it. I’ve hinted about it on my Facebook page, and of course I’ve spilled a bean or two about it to some close friends whom I knew I could trust not to blab. But now, finally, I can tell you all what has got me so ridiculously excited that I only slept for about two hours last night.
Yup. You read that right. 33 A.D. has been optioned for film.
Let me say that again, because I really, really like saying it. 33 A.D. has been optioned for film!
As some of you may know, Winkler Films is the production company that brought us Rocky, Goodfellas, Raging Bull, Taken, The Net, and a great many others. And now they want to make a movie from MY book! How off-the-charts cool is that?
So how did it all go down? I’ll tell you. I got an email from someone at Winkler Films on Monday, October 28th. This person (who I will not name) wanted to know if the film rights for 33 A.D. were available, and also asked if I have an agent or manager they should talk to. I emailed back and said yes, the rights were available, and asked if they were interested in acquiring them. A few minutes later, I got the reply. Yes, they wanted them, and again they asked if I had an agent they could talk to.
You guys should all know by now that I did not have an agent. So I emailed one and waited. I figured I’d wait to see if the agent was interested in taking this on before replying to Winkler Films. But then someone else at Winkler emailed me. This time it was the actual producer who was interested in the rights. He emailed me and said he loved reading it, and asked if I’d ever considered adapting it for a screenplay. I said yes, and we agreed to have a phone conversation to talk about it.
The phone call happened on Wednesday, October 30. I talked to the producer for about 20 minutes on a wide range of topics. Before we got off the phone, he told me he would put an offer together and email it to me in a few days. So once I hung up (and after I finished my fist-pumping air guitar solo) I emailed a friend of mine who is a writer in Hollywood. He put me in touch with his agent, who told me to forward the offer to him and he would look at it. The offer arrived in my inbox the next day on Halloween. I forwarded it to the agent, who said it was a pretty good offer, but he thought we could do better. So he said he would call Winkler Films the next day and start the negotiations going.
He called me again the next day (Friday, Nov. 1) to tell me where we were with the deal. It was better, but still not where he wanted it to be. So they spent the following week in negotiations, and then my agent called me again on Monday, Nov. 11, to tell me that the deal was in a place that he liked, and then he explained it to me. I liked it too, and that was it. The rest was just waiting for the contracts to arrive.
And just like that, I had an agent and an option for a Hollywood film, both of which I didn’t have two weeks ago. And in case you are wondering…yes, that makes me very happy.
Okay, enough of that. Some of you probably have a few questions. I know I would. So here are a couple of FAQs, and my best attempt to answer them:
Q – So does this mean there will be a 33 A.D. movie?
A – Not necessarily. This was an option, not a sale. What that means is Winkler Films basically bought the right to adapt the book for a screenplay and then pitch it to Hollywood studios, who will then decide if they want to invest in the film. Optioning film rights is the first step toward getting a movie made, but it is far from a guarantee. Hollywood options a huge number of film rights every year, but only a handful actually become movies.
Q – So why are you so excited?
A – Are you kidding? The possibility is there for something that could be huge! This possibility did not exist for me two weeks ago, and I would have laughed if anyone suggested it would come to be. So while there is no guarantee that there will ever be a 33 A.D. movie, it is much closer to becoming a reality now than it has ever been before. Besides, just the fact that Winkler Films believes in the story represents a tremendous validation of my work, and it sure was good for the ol’ ego.
Q – Are you writing the screenplay?
A – No. The production company will hire someone to adapt the book to a screenplay, and I’m more than happy to let them. I love my book, but books and movies are two totally different animals, and what works in a book does not always work in a movie. As such, I would most likely screw up the script by trying to force things to work that just weren’t meant to be.
Q – If a movie is made, will you have any say in who they cast?
A – Nope. I’ll have about as much control over that as I do who gets nominated to the Supreme Court. In other words, none at all.
Q – Will you have any input in the film?
A – I might. Then again, I might not. The production company is under no obligation to include me in the process. That doesn’t mean they won’t, it just means they don’t have to.
Q – What about 61 A.D.? Did that get optioned, too?
A – That’s complicated. But suffice it to say, if a 33 A.D. movie is made, and does well, a 61 A.D. movie would almost certainly come after. Pretty much the entire Bachiyr franchise could potentially be made into movies, but that’s a very, very long reach and would require a lot of stars to align in just the right way. So for now, I will just focus on 33 A.D.
Q – Are you going to retire now and move to some tropical paradise?
A – No plans to retire, but that tropical paradise sure sounds nice. Of course, unless I want to live on a sidewalk or park bench of said tropical paradise, I should probably just stay put and keep writing.
Q – What can I do to help?
A – Make as much noise as you can. Most of you already do that, anyway. Just remember to recommend the books to your friends, leave reviews whenever you can, and don’t forget to stay the incredible group of people that you are. Because honestly, without you guys, none of this matters, anyway.
Q – Blah, blah, blah movie, blah, blah, blah, option. So frickin’ what? When is 79 A.D. coming out, you slacker! Don’t make me come over there with a crowbar!
A – I deserve that. I have not met my (or your) expectations with regard to the third Taras and Theron story. All I can say is: put down the crowbar, your wait is nearly over.
That’s about it for now. I expect that the wheels of Hollywood are as slow, if not slower, than the wheels of publishing, so I don’t know when I will have any updates. I promise to share any news with you guys the as soon as I get it, so stay tuned, ok?