Sunday, March 2, 2014

A TV option for my book – the adventure so far.

About a year after my first book came out I met up with a friend from university.  We hadn’t seen each other in almost twenty years, but thanks to the miracle of Facebook we’d recently reconnected.  We spent a while catching up and marvelling at the synchronicities of our lives: we’d each had two kids, a girl and a boy, we were both divorced, we’d both moved to St-Lazare, Quebec from Ontario.  She had named her daughter Thea (pronounced Tay-a), and I’d named the main character in my novel Tea, pronounced the same way.  Both the real and fictional Teas were sixteen, slender and dark-haired, rode horses competitively, and – strangest of all – both their birthdays were on October 21. 

After we’d caught up my friend casually mentioned, “Hey, do you know Murray Shostak?”  When I said I’d never heard of him she shook her head and said, “Well, he says he’s going to make a TV show out of your book.”  I thought that was a bit presumptuous and wondered if he was perhaps a tad unbalanced, but otherwise forgot about it.

Two weeks later Mr. Shostak himself emailed me.  It turns out he really did want to make a TV series out of my books (other books were forthcoming), and he had experience – he was the producer involved in the creation of Heartland, a Canadian family drama in a horse setting.  I had to find an entertainment lawyer – something I hadn’t even known existed to that point – and after several weeks of negotiations the papers were signed.  My books are now “optioned for TV”, which basically means that the rights are on hold; I can’t sell them to anyone else while Mr. Shostak tries to get the series made.

I’m thrilled, of course, at the prospect of seeing my story on TV, but I’ve learned that things don’t move fast in TV-land.  It’s been two years since the rights were optioned, and nothing’s happened so far.  In theory the producer has another year and a half to get the pilot made, after which time the rights revert to me.  In practice, though, getting the rights back is more complicated; I’d have to reimburse him for all his “development expenses” in the interim, and it’s unlikely to be an amount I could afford.  Apparently a LOT of movies and TV shows never get made because they get caught in “development hell” this way.  He could conceivably keep the rights and never make the show.

Still, I have no regrets.  I support two kids on my own, I had a car making a scary noise that I couldn’t afford to get fixed, and thanks to the TV option I not only got it fixed, I also bought a dishwasher!  And I live with the knowledge that maybe, if I’m lucky, one day I’ll get to see my make-believe friends on TV J


Catherine Lee said...

I think that would be awesome to see your stories on TV.

mgarzon said...

Thanks! Yes, it would be a dream, wouldn't it? I only hope they don't change the story beyond recognition (which could happen).