The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Monday, February 06, 2012

Ooops! A new door just opened...

Wow. I have to adjust my plans. I said last week that MIT had asked me to write a short story for their anthology. A high honor, and one I fully intended to explore and enjoy. I was all set to plunge into it this week...

But then, on Friday I got an IM from one of my favorite producer/directors, currently producing a major film from one of the best and most successful directors in the world. I had submitted a 10-page outline for a film based on my early martial arts experiences with one of the finest men--and martial artists--I've ever known--Sabir Muhammad, AKA "Steve Sanders."

And this producer-director, whom I've worked with in the past, said he wants my movie to be his next project.


That...changes a huge amount. I have to back up, look at everything I'm doing, and re-focus my energy: I have a script to write.

While I won't discuss the particulars of the script too closely, it behooves me to document this entire process, in case the miracle happens and it makes its way all the way through the development and production process to release. If that happens, I want you, my fans, friends, and students, to have a trail of bread crumbs to show you how to accomplish a similar massive success.

Because...let me tell you, selling a script to Hollywood when you live in Atlanta is HUGE. So I'm going to take the pieces of this and break it down for you, day by day, and also extract the lessons for you to apply to yourself, whether you are a writer, or a student of Think And Grow Rich, or a Diamond Hour fan.


1) While living in Atlanta due to family emergency, I work every day to maintain emotional balance and optimism. It HURTS being out here, at times. So far away from everything I know and love. But here I am. I will never get this time back, so I have to find a way to enjoy it, and make it valuable.

2) So I dug into my101 PROGRAM, reminding myself of the forty years of study that went into creating the successes in my life. I became newly aware that I have to differentiate between the REAL damage to my life, and the ego damage. My ego shell definitely "cracked"--this situation (my wife had a desperate need to be near her mother, who is terminally afflicted with cancer) has no resemblance to the life I envisioned for myself. I'm a California guy. I'm not a Southern boy, in any way, shape or form. This is not my home. And yet...I love my wife, and my family, and her choice was, while painful, not dishonorable. I have a 100% commitment to be my son's father, and only a slightly lower commitment to be Tananarive's husband. That clarity of purpose closes doors. This is my life. The ego pain is irrelevant. I chose this path. That being the case...what are my choices.

3) I also dug into the LIFEWRITING YEAR LONG to remind myself of what I've learned about writing in the 30+ years of my career. And it didn't fail me. Never has.

I realized that I can't write for television from outside California (despite the mythology of telecommuting, people who can successfully write from a distance are as rare as comets). But, after much analysis of options...I realized that I could indeed write scripts, and assuming that I have representation, my chances of selling them aren't THAT much diminished by being 2000 miles away.

Armed with those understandings, I began to plot and plan...

More soon!


Sarah said...

Good for you! I will be looking forward to reading about your experience.

Shady_Grady said...

Congrats. Hope to hear more when you can share.

Anonymous said...

This is incredibly exciting! A million thanks for providing this rare opportunity to learn by sharing the process. You are one in a million Mr. B.

Steve Perry said...

Break a leg.

Terry H said...

Outstanding! I'm really looking forward to watching this process, and I'm really looking forward to seeing this movie! Yippee!

Steven Barnes said...

Thank you all. And will share. I'm hoping you guys will help keep me on an even keel here--it is easy to lose balance.