The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, June 29, 2007

No more teasing...Here's what's up

Thank you for the prayers and good thoughts.
Two and a half years ago, Tananarive and I moved to Southern California. My intent was to work my way back into Hollywood—I’d walked away from it ten years ago to raise Nicki in Washington. The first thing I learned was that the model for writing television had changed: it was mostly done by staff, and they didn’t hire people over 40 for writing staffs. So…I was SCREWED, and had had no idea of this when I moved down.
So we concentrated on the two avenues said to be open to us: creating a new series, and feature film.
In film, T and I pitched, among other things, a feature version of her novel THE GOOD HOUSE. With GOOD HOUSE, among others we had Forest Whitaker attached as producer: he helped us develop the material, and opened some doors.
We pitched it five times, I think, and one of those was at Fox Searchlight, where T’s book MY SOUL TO KEEP is in development. Fox wanted GOOD HOUSE.
That day was glorious. Peter Rice, president of Searchlight, shook our hands personally. Forest introduced me to Steven Spielberg in the commissary. It felt as if the sky had opened and the sun had begun to shine. Hallelujah, Hallelujah.
Unfortunately, the deals were a bit difficult to work out, and all of them were contingent upon each other—in other words, until EVERYONE’S deal was made and signed, no one got dollar one.
I will draw a bit of a veil across what happened next. Catch me some time at a con, and I’ll be happy to tell you. There are limits to what I’ll say publicly.
Let’s just say it was all enormously frustrating to nail down every deal point, and get everyone to sign. It took over TWO YEARS to get everything in line.
But yesterday, the final paperwork arrived at Searchlight. What happens next is anyone’s guess, but the following things are now true:
1) T and I have sold a script to Fox Searchlight, one of the best movie-makers in town.
2) Academy Award-Winner Forest Whitaker is signed to direct or produce.
3) This is all happening the same week our CASANEGRA is in USAToday. Blair will be in PEOPLE magazine promoting it. And Regis. We’re doing NPR, and
4) We’ve sold the second novel, IN THE NIGHT OF THE HEAT, for a healthy six-figures.

There are still stresses, of course. Always will be. But right now, things are looking pretty damned good.

Again, thank everyone out there for your prayers and support and friendship. This has been a fantastically difficult passage.

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