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2:38pm on Wednesday, 8th February, 2006:

The Special Relationship


Back last century, Chip Hayes, a former player of MUD1 on CompuServe and erstwhile producer of Melrose Place, suggested to me that I try my hand at writing a screenplay. He sent me a book on the subject, and I had a go.

I wrote, rewrote, tuned and polished it, sent it to some production companies, and voila! I was offered an option.

For those of you who don't know, an option is where a production company pays you some money to own the script for a period while they seek funding to develop it. There are tens of thousands of screenwriters out there, but you can only really call yourself a serious one if you've been optioned. Whether your screenplay is actually produced is another matter, but optioning is the calling card. I was offered an option by one of the five UK prodcos I contacted. An agent was brought in, and hey presto!


The company that offered me the option reneged without paying me anything, so all I can say is that I was offered an option, rather that I was optioned. Oh well.

I wrote a second screenplay the next year, but didn't have any luck with it. It's incredibly difficult to get a screenplay read, let alone optioned, and I couldn't get past the guardians at the gate. With the first screenplay, I had the benefit of a covering letter from Derek "not his real name" Harris, who ran his own prodco and was willing to recommend newbies to his contacts if he thought they seemed reasonable people. For the second screenplay, he'd disappeared from the face of the planet (supposedly dead, but I'm cynical when people with false identities die suddenly). No contacts, no reading; no reading, no option; no option, no screenwriting career. A shame, as I really enjoyed writing for this form, but there you go.

Anyway, I've decided at long last to put the script on my web site for people to look at. It's a spec, rather than a shooting script, but that's what's prodcos want. As for genre, it's a romcom with screwball overtones. The title is The Special Relationship.

Needless to say, if anyone is interested in optioning it, get in touch!

Referenced by Summer Reading.

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Copyright © 2006 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).