So, this month has been a little manic. Known as Silly September in the pharma world in which I work, it is a time of world congresses in various disease areas. For me it means a trip to Amsterdam (from Singapore) for the European Cancer Congress as well as prepping for meetings in Cape Town and Hong Kong.
However, I have not been neglecting my writing work and have almost finished my first draft of Huaca - the last in my trilogy of thrillers (www.huahuqui.com). But, while writing has taken up some time, another aspect of this project has dominated this month: pitching to movie studios.
The first question I am sure you are asking is: how the hell did he get to pitch to movie studios? Well, this is all thanks to a group of people working at www.Stage32.com lead by Richard Botto (CEO). In Richard's own words:
"Every day, there are thousands of talented individuals searching for like-minded souls with whom they can collaborate. They join writing or acting classes, theater groups, and online forums. They act in student films, direct and submit short subject films to festivals, and enter screenplay contests. The Stage 32 community is strictly for people working in or with a desire to work in film or theater. It’s a place to gather, to discuss and develop projects, to join actor with director, director with producer, producer with cast and crew. Here, you can grow your contact list and build a pertinent network in rapid fashion. The more you participate, the greater the results. As the saying goes, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.... Don’t wait for things to happen, make them happen..."
The amazing thing about Stage32 is that they put their money where their mouth is. It would be easy to just create a website and let the people wander around like ants hoping to bump into each other and make the right connections. Instead, these guys actively propagate network connections and drive relationships. What's more, they expose their precious contacts to the world. A potentially risky move.
I happened to join at an opportune moment: just before they ran the 'Creative Fest'. In this week-long activity, the guys at Stage32 and their collaborators at TheHappyWriters brought in actual movie execs (creative directors and the like) and offered slots to aspiring writers to pitch their ideas for movies. It could be written or live via Skype. If the exec liked the pitch, the writers were asked for their material - for further consideration. Strictly speaking, this was aimed at screenwriters, but I entered anyway. I chose one exec to pitch to. A day later I received an email from Joey Tuccio, of TheHappyWriters, who did several things. One: he gave me a little advice on my written pitch which I followed. Two: he followed up with me and suggested another exec who might be interested in my story. Then, a day later again, he emailed me telling me he had an open Skype slot for another exec who was particularly interested in sci-fi. That means Joey actually took the time to read my pitch and really think about it. Unreal.
The outcome is that I pitched a total of six times and have had two execs ask for my books. TWO. That's just crazy. I am a newbie to the business and I have TWO execs reading my work with the possible thought of optioning my story. I have one final pitch coming at the end of September. All I can say is a big 'thank you' to these guys.
Now of course, the likelihood of the studios pursuing anything with me is remote. And in the event, by some miracle, my book(s) got optioned (that is the studio bought the movie rights) there is no guarantee a movie would ever get made. But that's not the point. Stage32 brought me closer to the sun than I ever thought possible. I feel like Icarus. In the next month or so I will know if I too get my wings burned.