Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Imaginary Conversations with Agent: John Scalzi and His Agent Discuss OLD MAN'S WAR Film Deal

Way back on December 11, science fiction author extraordinaire John Scalzi jokingly wrote -- in his AMC column -- that he "actually instructed my film agent to demand I get an extra $2 million if [Paul W.S. Anderson] attached to direct a movie based on one of my books." I found the statement amusing and commented yesterday that if the Haitian from Heroes actually existed, and could remove certain films from Paul W.S. Anderson's mind, I thought he would actually be a good director for Old Man's War and it's sequels.

As an aside, I personally find it awesome that Scalzi is essentially AMC's modern SF Joe Bob Briggs. That's pretty prestigious company to be in compadre.

In the past, I've written a couple of imaginary conversations like this Elektra review or this imaginary exchange at the Los Angeles Farmer's Market. I think that they are fun, and would like to do them more often. In fact, I'm going to try -- on a semi-regular basis -- to write imaginary conversation between entertainment figures and their agents. We'll see if you find them as fun as I do.

Combining the pleasure I get from writing imaginary conversations with the sinister thoughts that entered my mind after reading Scalzi's comments about Anderson, I submit to you the following.

AN IMAGINARY CONVERSATION BETWEEN JOHN SCALZI AND HIS FILM AGENT TOM STEIN



It's a wintery day in the countryside outside Dayton, OH. JOHN SCALZI sits in the window of his writing room looking out at the snow covered landscape. A deer meanders through the landscape. JOHN SCALZI smiles and looks down at YELLOW DOG who is sleeping at his feet.

The phone rings.

JOHN SCALZI
Hello.

TOM STEIN

John! I have great news! We've optioned OLD MAN'S WAR and it has been fast tracked into production by New Line Cinema.

JOHN SCALZI

Really?! That's amazing news. What does the contract look like?

TOM STEIN

They're offering $2.175 million up front with 2% of net profit.

JOHN SCALZI

Net?! That means I'll earn 2% of nothing. Even YELLOW DOG knows that.

TOM STEIN

YELLOW DOG doesn't even know what town he's in, but that's why I counter offered with 2% of gross, script oversight, and rewrite authority. They caved...but...

JOHN SCALZI

But...what?

TOM STEIN

Well...the reason they offered the $2.175 million is that I have had to activate your Paul W.S. Anderson clause.

JOHN SCALZI

The Haitian really exists?

TOM STEIN

No, but that's why there is a $2 million in front of the $175 thousand.

JOHN SCALZI

Excellent.

TOM STEIN

Excellent?

JOHN SCALZI

Yes. Now I can fulfill every genre writer's dream?

TOM STEIN

Dream?

JOHN SCALZI

There are certain genre giants, I call them "THE GREATS," who have all shared one thing in common...

TOM STEIN

Yawn...I think I hear my other line ringing.

JOHN SCALZI

They have all owned vast tracks of land with inspiring names like Goldeneye, Tarzana Ranch, Skywalker Ranch. At last! Mwah ha ha! Heinlandia shall be built!

TOM STEIN

Heinlandia sounds too much like Scandia. I could never sell any of your IP, if you lived in Heinlandia. How about Steinland?


Or Hayden Place?

TOM STEIN AND JOHN SCALZI

Huh?! What are you doing on this call?

PATRICK NIELSEN HAYDEN

I am always patched into the lines of writers I edit. Helps me make sure they are hard at work and not watching deer meander through pastures when they should be writing. I could never edit a writer who lived in Heinlandia, it just sounds silly. How about naming your tract after your hard working and dedicated editor?

JOHN SCALZI

Bah! Dammit! Fine. I'll name it Valentine Ranch. If you can't figure out why, you aren't worthy to be an SF editor or my agent.
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