My Big Announcement

Boy, I’m tired this morning; I was up until close to 1:00 last night on the phone — or 10:00 L.A. time (you’ll learn the significance of that momentarily).

Some of the details still need to be worked out, but it looks like I’ve got some big news (actually, I don’t know if I’m technically supposed to talk about it, but what the hell — it’s not like I’ve got a lot of readers anyway). It started with an e-mail from one of my high school friends who’s working in Hollywood. After the first Project Greenlight contest, I sent him a copy of my screenplay (then titled Quartered); he thought it was pretty rough, but at least showed promise. Neither of us thought about it beyond that — he put it on a shelf, and I got to work on rewrites.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of his, Christopher McQuarrie, picked up the screenplay and read through it. He liked it. Normally, I’d be ecstatic at just that — after all, we’re talking about the writer of The Usual Suspects and writer/director of The Way of the Gun. But right now, he’s attached to direct a project that Frank Darabont had done a treatment for, but had to drop because of another commitment. The bottom line is they need someone to do a first-draft screenplay so they can get started on preproduction, budgeting, etc. Both McQuarrie and my friend are writers, but are on different projects for at least the next six months. They asked me if I had a revised version of the screenplay I’d read, and if so, could I e-mail them a copy. Obviously, I immediately sent it (now titled “Holding Pattern”) to them (not that I’m really finished with it, but you go with what you’ve got).

So last night I had a rather extensive “phone interview.” They ran through the treatment, and we talked about what I’d like to do with it. Apparently, they liked what they heard — I’ve got the job. Now, before people start jumping to conclusions, it’s not like you’re likely to see my name at the Internet Movie Databse anytime soon. This is strictly a first draft screenplay; it’s doubtful that I’ll even warrant a mention after the final writing team gets finished doctoring it. But it’ll be enough for me to join the WGA, and probably to get enough work to keep me busy for quite a while.

I’ll be flying out to L.A. in about two weeks (leaving on the 13th) for our initial face-to-face meeting (alas, probably coach — writers don’t warrant first-class accommodations). I’ll be out there for about a week, then coming back and finishing up from here; I’ll probably have to make at least a couple of back-and-forth trips, but they don’t think I’ll need to relocate permanently (at least not yet). Pam’s glad about that — she’s not big on the idea of living on the left coast in general, and certainly not ready to uproot the kids right now. I’ll have to give my notice at work, but I’m holding off on that until everything’s finalized. I won’t be happy to leave, but at least we’ve done a pretty good job of training other folks in the department to take over — it’ll be rough for a while, but I’m sure they’ll do fine.

I’m still in shock; my hands are actually shaking right now. I’ll keep everybody updated.

“Classic” reader comments:

Kori · Tue, Apr 1st 2003, at 5:35PM

You rock, my friend! I am SO PROUD of you! I can't wait to talk to you about this is person. MY hands are shaking as I write this---I can certainly see how you must be feeling!

David · Tue, Apr 1st 2003, at 6:13PM

So good to hear that (occasionally) good things really do happen to good people! You've been working toward this for a long time. Congratulations! Keep us informed (as if I actually have to say that).

Dan · Tue, Apr 1st 2003, at 6:30PM

I'm deliriously happy for you and insanely jealous. At least *someone* I know will have his dream job! I'll expect to see some of your pictures opening at the Byrd.

Adam · Tue, Apr 1st 2003, at 6:48PM

Bill, This is most exciting news. I can't wait to direct all (both) people I know to read this. Way to go. I know you will have much success, you're good at this stuff. This may be premature but thanks for all that you have taught me. It is pushing me to new levels and maybe one day we'll meet up at some fancy shin-dig.

Joe · Tue, Apr 1st 2003, at 7:08PM

Wow! I'm so inspired! Bill, you are the shiznit!

Joe · Tue, Apr 1st 2003, at 7:10PM

Aw... that is so messed up.

Rich · Tue, Apr 1st 2003, at 7:15PM

Congrats Bill, can we all expect tickets to the Uptown for a premier?

David L · Tue, Apr 1st 2003, at 7:46PM

To quote Orlando Jones in Evolution, "Great GoogaleMoogle!!!" I'm trying to type something pithy but I just can't stop shaking my head and grinning...amazing. Obviously congratulations are in order but what what to say? So, you're doing the official 1st draft of a Frank Darabont treatment? Are you going to be able to (or have to) work with him as you develop, or do you just use that as a jumping off point and work with the director. As you can tell, I've got no clue how these things work.

Geoffrey · Tue, Apr 1st 2003, at 7:53PM

Attaboy, Bill! Way to go, man!

Heh. And we all knew him when.

Collin "Are You Shitting Me" Klamper · Tue, Apr 1st 2003, at 8:15PM

I am stunned. Ultimately, I'm not surprised, but I am, well, stunned.



Did I mention that I have acting experience?

Nello · Tue, Apr 1st 2003, at 11:49PM

Okay, I realize the date is only technically April 1 for just under 2 hours, so if you can tell me that the whole story is true with a straight face tomorrow morning, I will buy you a bottle of your favorite single malt scotch, share a drink of it with you (yes, in the morning), and then hand you some fresh copies of my headshot and resume for you to distribute freely among your new Hollywood friends.

Geoffrey · Wed, Apr 2nd 2003, at 12:17AM

I swear vengeance.


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