I’ve had a few books optioned for films. That’s not bragging or anything since it’s pretty much a random thing that happened. A few things fell my way, one thing leads to another, and then somehow, I end up getting a few options. It’s pure chance, I think. Just dumb luck. Oh, sure, I’m talented and an all-around cool dude, but that and a buck won’t even get me a cup of coffee. I’ve worked hard to get here, but without a healthy dose of good ol’ dumb luck, I’d still be some poor schlub waiting for his break. Remembering that keeps me humble, which is no small feat considering how awesome I am.
Since I’ve had various books optioned for films, I’ve been involved, in different degrees and stages, with the possible films. Some books I’ve just had optioned and left in the hands of experienced filmmakers who know a lot more about moviemaking than I do. And some others, I’ve contributed a bit more. All these experiences lead me to one inescapable conclusion.
I am so damn glad I write novels and don’t make movies.
Movies are just so hard, so much more work. They’re huge projects with tons of people involved. They have budgets, actors, directors, tons of marketing decisions, and so many other elements that it’s amazing good movies get made at all. In comparison, books are quaint, almost mom and pop productions. It’s not as if books don’t require a lot of work. Or that, by the time my books go from an idea in my head to a thing in your hands, they haven’t been through an elaborate process to get them to you. It’s just not much of a process compared to making a movie. Or even thinking about making a movie.
Yep, there’s more work in the development of a film than in the entire writing of a novel, I think. At least, one of my novels where I usually start with an idea and hash it out over the course of a few months into something sensible (or at least readable). More work goes into the possibilty of a film than the entire production of a book. And it’s entirely possible, probable in fact, that most movies in development will never become a movie.
It boggles my mind sometimes. I couldn’t imagine doing all that work just to have nothing come of it. And moviemakers live with that everyday. I guess the millions of dollars that can be made from a successful film make it all worth it (and I’m just as happy as anyone to grab some of that Hollywood payday if I’m fortunate enough to have it come my way), but it’s not necessarily a business I’d want to consider my primary job.
It’s fun to dabble. And the work I’ve done so far has been rich and rewarding. I look forward to more of it coming my way (as long as that luck holds out), but at heart, I think I’ll always be a novelologist. Maybe I’m too much of a control freak. Or maybe I’m just too damn lazy to work that hard and not see something come out of it. Most probably it’s because I know it’s highly unlikely anyone would pay me to write a movie about space vampires vs. jetpack gorillas.
But, hey, Hollywood, if you ever need a story where a pirate primate swordfights an alien bloodsucker on the moon . . . well you know where to find me.
Fighting the good fight, Writing the good write,