henry winkler

Getting to know: Clark, the Steelhead Fry

Steelhead fry

This is the fifth in a series of interviews with characters from the Olive books. If you’re already familiar with the books, you’ll know these “folks” being interviewed. If you’ve not yet seen the books, these interviews will give you some insight into the colorful cast of characters who help to make Olive’s adventures so engaging and fun.

Read the first interview here, the second interview here, the third interview here, and the fourth interview here.

Today, Olive talks with a very good friend whom she met when she went for a wild adventure in book #3, Olive Goes for a Wild Ride. This friend isn’t a fly, but rather he’s a fish. Welcome, Clark the small fry.

Olive: Hey Clark! I hardly recognized you!

Clark: Hi Olive!  Yeah, I’ve been eating a lot and growing quite a bit since our wild adventure.  I gotta get bigger and stronger so I can swim out to sea!

Olive: I want to talk about that, but first let’s go back to when we met. Who knows what might have happened to me if you hadn’t gotten me untangled! I’ll never forget that day.

Clark: Me neither.  But I didn’t just help you…you helped me in so many ways. I didn’t know much about anything when I was small. Heck I didn’t even know what you were. I thought you were some sort of fish!

Olive: Well, you weren’t very big and hadn’t learned many things yet. But together we went on a great adventure and we both learned a lot.

Clark: You were an awesome teacher, Olive.

Olive: I don’t know about that, but I had an awesome teacher myself–Mr. Muddler Minnow!

Clark: Everyone has to have a great teacher–it’s the only way we can learn new things!

Olive: So, Clark, you’re a steelhead fry, right?

Clark: Actually, I’m a steelhead smolt, now. I used to be a fry.

Olive: What’s the difference, for those of us who don’t know?  And also, what is a steelhead?

Clark: Well, a steelhead is a rainbow trout. We hatch from eggs in rivers, but the difference is that rainbows remain in the rivers for their entire life, living the life of a trout.  Steelhead are anadromous.

Olive: Anadromous means that you swim out to sea, right?

Clark: Exactly. Remember Sockeyed Jack, the Pacific Salmon?  He taught us about that. After we swim out to see we spend a few years getting really big and and strong. Then we return to the river where we were born to spawn. So, that’s the difference between regular rainbow trout and steelhead, even though we’re really the same species of fish.

Olive: That is so amazing.  How do you know if you’re a rainbow trout or a steelhead? I mean since it’s the same species?

Clark: I really don’t know.  I just know!

Olive: So, you mentioned that you’re no longer a fry. Now you’re a smolt?

Clark: Yep. When we first met I was really little. Now I’m quite a bit bigger, and I’m almost ready to head out to sea. But I’m nowhere near being as big as I’m gonna get! Man, the ocean is gonna be like a smorgasboard of food!

Olive: Are you excited for that?

Clark: Totally!  I mean, living in the Big Stream is cool- it’s an awesome place, and there are lots of bugs to eat and stuff. But out in the ocean there’s a lot more food. I can’t wait. I’m always hungry!

Olive: Oh, I remember.  You were always munching on bugs.

Clark: You really should try a grasshopper sometime. They taste like chicken!

Olive: (laughs) You’re so funny, Clark. So will you promise to come back to The Big Stream someday?

Clark: You betcha!  We never did get to go fishing, so when I come back maybe we can do that!

Olive: You can count on it!

Clark: 1..2..3..4..

Olive: Um, Clark, what are you doing?

Clark: Counting on it!  (laughs)

Olive: I’ve sure missed your sense of humor.  I can’t wait until you come back from your adventure at sea. OK, I know you’re getting ready to go, so let me ask one more quick question before you head out to the ocean. If you were in a movie and you could choose a famous actor to lend their voice talent to the role of Clark the Steelhead Fry, who would you choose?

Clark: I think my first choice would be Henry Winkler. He seems like a really nice guy, and I know he really likes fly fishing. In fact, he recently wrote a book titled, I’ve Never Met an Idiot on the Water and he’s also the author of children’s books. So yeah, definitely Henry Winkler. But if he’s too busy, then maybe Dana Carvey, ’cause I’ve heard he likes to fly fish, too.

Henry Winkler

Olive is fishing for Hollywood

 

Right now I am trying to wrap my head around the daunting prospect of getting Olive the Woolly Bugger made into an animated movie. It’s daunting because the odds are stacked WAY against me (and Olive)—not because it isn’t a great idea, but because finding the right person who sees the incredible value in the project is going to be like finding a needle in a haystack. Or maybe it won’t be so hard to find the person, but finding ways to actually contact them and convince them to hear my idea may be the real challenge. It’s always about finding that right person who believes. The old adage that “it’s not what you know, but who you know” has never seemed more painfully true.

The first step, if one listens to conventional wisdom, is to rule out many of the big animation studios. It seems that they cultivate their ideas in-house and are not interested in outside submissions, so one should look toward an independent animation studio. Next up is to find an agent who believes in the concept and will work to get the idea in front of a suitable studio for a pitch. Then, of course, one has to convince the studio that the idea is worthy of their time and money.  No-0-0 problem…

Daunting? Yes.  Doable?  Absolutely.  Like Olive, I shall forge ahead—to persevere. However, I’m wondering if perhaps Olive might bend the rules just a bit little bit and do things a little differently.  After all, nothing about Olive has been done the traditional way to date. If I had followed traditional guidelines and listened to a particular literary consultant early on, Olive would have spent the rest of eternity as another unfulfilled dream: a crumpled piece of paper in the round file, or an antiquated Word doc buried on my computer hard drive, eventually lost to subsequent computer upgrades. But that didn’t happen. Despite the odds, Olive did things her way and succeeded.

In a previous blog entry I talked about the actors whose voices would lend themselves well to the film project. Jane Seymour as Olive, Henry Winkler as Clark, and Wilford Brimley, Lawrence Fishburne or Tom Selleck as Mr. Muddler Minnow would make for a stellar lineup of talented people who also share a passion for fly fishing. Other well known actors, who are also fly fishing folks, will round out the ensemble of supporting characters. The key element is that each of the talents assembled to participate in the film share a love of fly fishing, because these are the people that will get it. They will bring their passions to their characters.

I joked about putting the cart before the horse by selecting these voice talents without having first gotten a contract with a studio. And you’re right: I can’t very well hand-pick character talent just yet—first, I have to get an Executive Producer on board the project: someone with some familiarity with fly fishing and a passion for the environment and film making; perhaps someone with previous experience as, say, director of A River Runs Through It.

Once Robert Redford signs on, animation studios will line up for the contract. Then the voice talents I’ve recommended will fall into place. When the film is released, millions of movie-goers worldwide will flock to theaters, curious about this unique film about a woolly bugger named Olive. Audience members young and young at heart will marvel at the entertaining storyline and engaging cast of characters. Those who have a familiarity with fly fishing will be amazed at how the sport they love has been made into an animated movie, and those who previously knew nothing about fly fishing will learn a thing or two. After seeing the movie, millions of kids will put down their game consoles and ask their parents to take them fishing (and exploring, and hiking and camping). Maybe a few hundred thousand folks will seek out their local fly shop and inquire about lessons. There will be a wave of new stewards of our natural resources who will gain an appreciation for our fisheries.

I realize there will be people who’ll say this lofty goal of mine is just a silly dream that will never be fulfilled. Well, if this is just a dream, I hope I never wake up.

If you happen to read this, and you like the idea of Olive the Woolly Bugger as an animated film, please consider posting a link back to this entry. Tweet it. Shout it on Facebook and Google+. Ask others to do the same. And if you happen to know Robert Redford, Jane Seymour or Henry Winkler (or at least their agents), please feel free to pass this along to them as well. Thanks.


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