Apr 12

My book has been optioned for a movie. Isn’t that exciting? Or is it? I’m not getting my hopes up.

I was thinking about starting this blog in a host of different ways, poking fun at the book being set to be a big blockbuster, or going the other way and writing that the odds of it happening are so long, or that Brad Pitt was being lined up to play me, or that… well, you get the point. But it’s probably best just to recount the events. Just the facts, just the facts.

So this is what happened: A guy in California, who is originally from New Orleans, contacted my publisher in 2009 about optioning the book. He has been out in LA for 25 years or something, though most of his cinematic background is in TV. Anyway, after 10 months of negotiating with Pelican (my publisher) he has secured the exclusive rights to the book for the next 18 months. Now the hard work begins.

The first stage is to find a scriptwriter, and he may have done that already. He has a writer in mind – I suggested him and think he would be perfect – and that guy has said he would like to do it. If a deal can be sorted, and I guess that’s a big “if” right there what with agents and everything, then that would be the next hurdle cleared.

Then you need to pay him to actually produce the screenplay, so once you have the writer lined up you need to secure the funding to pay him. There are various ways you can do this obviously, but our guy is hoping to get backing from one of the Irish film organisations whose job it is to bring movies to the island. So there’s another obstacle right there.

But if the guy agrees to do it and if a deal is agreed and if the funding is found to pay him and if he comes up with a script the producer likes… you are onto the next stage. You have a screenplay for a film which you can then use to try and raise the money to get a movie made. You see, easy. Now you probably realise why I’m not ordering my Rolex watch just yet.

So there’s a long way to go and many miles to travel before you see Finn McCool’s Football Club up on the silver screen. It may never happen and the odds are against it.

But at the same time – who knows? I’m so happy that someone somewhere liked my book enough to try and make it into a movie. He is committed to the project and is working hard to bring it to the big screen. There has been more progress in the last 10 weeks than there was in the previous 10 months, so, well, fingers crossed. Stranger things have happened.

I went out and bought a bottle of champagne and my wife and I toasted the option sale that night anyway (it was cheap champagne!). Not every day your book is optioned for a movie even if nothing ever comes of it.

So watch this space and I’ll let you know how things develop (pun intended). The football season is winding down and my daughter will be starting school soon, so I’ll have nothing else to write about anyway. I’m off to phone Brad Pitt and offer him the role of me.

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