posted on August 12, 2014 by Jaycie Cash

To the Victor Goes What Exactly?

Macchina da scrivere, news, editoria, stampa, notizieSome years back there was a television show called Northern Exposure. Delightfully offbeat, it was filled with lovable but kooky characters that lived in an isolated small Alaskan town.

One of the characters, arguably the kookiest of all, was a young native man barely in his twenties. Filled with innocence, a joie de vive and love for nature and the arts, plus his own unique brand of spirituality, he wrote a screenplay called Shaman, about a holy man with a message of love and peace for the world.

I forget how, exactly, but somehow the young man got the script to a slick Hollywood producer type. The producer was quick to get back to him, absolutely gushing about how much he loved the script. Best thing he’d read in ages, so insightful, yada, yada, yada.

The producer had just one question; did the lead character have to be a shaman? Over the course of the show, Mr. Hollywood made suggestions about “improving” the script, which ended with the lead character being dressed in leather, riding a Harley and carrying an arsenal on his back as he rode about the countryside avenging and defending the rights of small woodland creatures.

A friend of mine is in the midst of a similar experience.

Close to ten years ago she wrote an absolutely beautiful screenplay about a middle-aged caregiver, on the run from an abusive ex-husband, who is hired to provide care for an elderly man with Alzheimer’s on an isolated farm. Over the course of the story she and her patient’s middle-aged son fall in love.

Now, after first reading it a couple of years ago, a producer with an extremely small independent production company has purchased her script, but—you guessed it—there’ll need to be a few changes before filming starts later this month.

The folks who put up the money to make the movie did so to help kick-start the career of the actress who’s playing the caregiver. Although in her thirties, she wants to play the character as a 25-year-old. Naturally, this changes not only the character’s life experiences, but also the tone of her relationship with everyone in the story.

There’s no longer the need, or possibility, of her having an 18-year-old daughter. The touching story of two middle-aged people finding common ground and overcoming their fear and mistrust of the opposite sex to find love becomes that of yet another middle-aged man putting the moves on a far younger woman.

Ick!

My friend still doesn’t know where all the changes are likely to end as the producer/director has told her that once all the actors have been hired for the main roles, they’re sure to “have notes” for her regarding the script.

So now, my poor friend who should be celebrating the wonderful milestone of selling her first screenplay is actually wondering what the heck she’s gotten herself into. At the very least she’d been hoping to have a final product she could point to with pride, now she’s not so sure that’ll be the case.

Sigh!

To the victor goes what exactly?

HOW ABOUT YOU, DO YOU THINK MY SCREENWRITER FRIEND HAS REASON TO CELEBRATE OR SHOULD SHE JUST GRIT HER TEETH AND WORK THROUGH ALL THE REWRITES? HAVE YOU EVER HAD, OR DO YOU KNOW OF, A SIMILAR EXPERIENCE? IF SO, WHAT HAPPENED? A FREE COPY OF MY DEBUT NOVEL, MRS. GOODFELLER WILL BE RANDOMLY AWARDED TO ONE PERSON WHO LEAVES A COMMENT BELOW BEFORE THE NEXT WRITERSPACE BLOG IS POSTED.

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