If you’ve followed along for the last year and a half, you know that I’ve been chasing a dream: a dream in which Olive the Woolly Bugger stars in her own animated feature film. With the Academy Awards just around the corner, it seems a good time to delve into this subject again.
I’ve written a bit about this endeavor before. Most of my musings were simply an outlet for my thoughts—nothing was set in stone. In fact, since I first started down this path nothing has been left unchanged. The reason you haven’t heard me talk much about it in the last year is because there hasn’t been anything to report. But that doesn’t mean nothing has been happening. Au contraire, there’s been something very important taking place over the course of the last 12-14 months: script writing.
I don’t know much—if anything—about making a film, but I do know that it starts with an idea. I had the idea. In fact, I wrote an outline that was a very broad concept of the film’s plot. But I had no idea how to put that into the proper format for a script. Fortunately I had previously established an association with a very talented fellow by the name of Simon Cornish. At my request and for a far-too-modest fee, Simon had previously rendered Olive and Clark in 3D. I wanted to see how my characters might make the leap to the big screen as Computer Generated Imagery and I very much liked what Simon produced.
But back to the writing thing…I knew I needed help with my outline. Again, enter the Renaissance man, Simon. He offered to help structure my concept into the proper act structure needed for a script. But then he went one better and took it on himself, crafting what is known as a script treatment. For the uninitiated, a treatment is essentially the first draft of a screenplay—a framework for a script, without in-depth scene descriptions and character dialog. When Simon sent me the completed treatment I was blown away. My basic story remained largely in tact, but Simon brought a whole new perspective to the project and the result was absolutely amazing—so much more than I could have ever imagined. Approximately 13 pages of creative goodness, the treatment made me realize that the film could very well be more than just a pipe dream of mine. Despite that Simon hails from the UK, I registered the treatment with the Writer’s Guild of America to protect the work.
Next up was to contact a film production company in Los Angeles where I thought the treatment might be met with favorable reception. My line of thinking was based on the fact that the production company is owned by a couple of highly visible people who happen to also be passionate fly anglers. It took many months before I was able to establish a meaningful dialog with the production company, but the result was that they loved Olive. However, they just could not take on the project at that time. I’ve been told this was a “Hollywood No”, but I refuse to take no for an answer until it hits me square upside the head. With this in mind, back to Simon I went with the news. He agreed that whether or not this was a “no”, the script needed to be written. If it were meant to be, we would find a home for the script.
And so Simon went about his craft, juggling this speculative project with his paid work and a very busy life. I left him alone and made a promise to myself not to obsess over the project. I’d be remiss if I said that I forgot about it, but I pushed it back into the dark recesses of my conscious thought and went about my day to day life as well. 14 months later I received word from Simon that the script was done, as in the first draft was written. Literally written. By hand. Simon’s words:
“You’ll be pleased to know the first draft is finally finished.
Now to crack on typing it all up, and tweaking as I go.”
A smile spread across my face as I imagined Simon hunched over an ancient writing desk, quill pen in hand, writing by the light of an oil lamp.
As you might imagine, I’m rather eager to read it. Stay tuned.