Recently Dr. Phil has reached an agreement with Jeffrey C. Silver and his Fourth Floor Productions regarding an option on my May 2009 Analog story "The Brother on the Shelf". Contracts have been signed and a pleasant check received. Jeff has a year to try to find some financing to come up with a movie or television production deal.
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Yes, I know that most options on stories don't go anywhere. That most production deals never make it to shooting. That lots of things which get into production or even get shot never see the light of day. Hollywood is a harsh business. But it is a business. And it needs a lot of projects churning to keep in business.
But Dr. Phil -- this is just a short story! True. But it's a lot harder to shoehorn a novel into a movie script, than turn a short story into one. I was at a panel once where this question came up and one writer said that a typical SF novel is at least 100,000 words, while a typical movie script is 125 pages -- triple-spaced and specially formatted. That's not a lot of room for those 100,000 words. That's why all those Philip K. Dick short stories have been made into movies.
So will we see a movie version of "The Brother on the Shelf"? I honestly don't know. Would such a movie be a True Version of Dr. Phil's 29th century universe? I honestly don't know. But I will say I included in the contract my unpublished novelette "Home Front", from which "The Brother on the Shelf" was pulled from, as additional source material so that at least my vision is on the table. And frankly, I have to say that even if it goes off in a different direction, that's not necessarily so bad. I find the movie version of Starship Troopers to be quite the guilty pleasure even if it's neither Heinlein's story or having any science literacy or military accuracy value. (grin)
So is this exciting? Absolutely. Anyone who has met me or read this LJ on a regular basis knows that I am a huge fan of the movies.
The bottom line is that Hollywood is going to do what Hollywood is going to do. But at least I get to peek in on the process. (huge grin) And for now I get to cash a pleasant check for my troubles. (win!) And should Jeff succeed in getting his project financed, I just might get to fly to L.A. and buy him a very expensive steak dinner. (mmm!)