This is the fourth 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.
Today, Olive interviews one of her closest friends, a very quiet and soft-spoken fly whom she first met at Camp Tightloops, Polly the Partridge and Orange.
Olive: Hey there, Polly! Thanks for coming on the show today.
Polly: Oh, thank you for inviting me, Olive.
Polly: Oh, I’m not very comfortable talking about myself. Must I, really?
Olive: Polly, you are so pretty and you’re such a good fishing fly. I’m sure everyone would love to know more about you. Lots of people probably don’t know what a Partridge and Orange is.
Polly: Well, thank you. I appreciate the nice words. OK, well, a Partridge and Orange is a soft hackle fly, and even though soft hackles may not be very well known to some people, they’ve been around for a long, long time.
Olive: You’re not a dry fly, right? I mean, you have hackles, but they’re not the same as dry fly hackles.
Polly: Right, my hackles are made from the soft feathers of a partridge, and instead of sticking out straight and causing me to float like a dry fly, my hackles are swept back. I’m actually a wet fly, designed to fish under the water, where my hackles move back and forth like the legs of an insect.
Olive: So, do you swing in the current like a streamer?
Polly: Yep, I can do that. Or I can also dead drift in the current.
Olive: Like Gilbert!
Polly: Right, just like Gilbert. He’s such a good guy.
Olive: He is. I’m so glad we’re all good friends. We have a lot of fun hanging out in The Fly Box. Are there any other ways that you can fly fish?
Polly: I can also be used in lakes and ponds where I’m usually fished just under the surface, like mayfly that’s just emerging from a nymph into an adult. I can also be used to imitate a caddis. I’m sorry, I feel as though I’m talking too much about myself.
Olive: That’s so cool! You sure can do a lot of different things. For someone with as much talent as you have, you’re so humble. I like that about you, Polly.
Polly: Thank you, Olive. That’s very kind of you to say. You’ve always been so encouraging. On that very first day that we fished The Big Stream, it was very frustrating. I’m so thankful to have had you there as a friend.
Olive: That was a very tough day for everyone. We were all so new to fishing and I think our expectations were that we’d all catch a whole bunch of fish. We sure learned that isn’t always the case!
Polly: Indeed. And if one isn’t going to catch fish, it’s certainly much more fun when you’re with good friends.
Olive: Absolutely! Spending time with friends is what fishing is all about! Hey Polly, I hope you don’t mind me asking, but you have a slight accent to your voice don’t you?
Polly: (shyly) Yes. The Partridge and Orange was originally an English creation, so that’s where my accent comes from.
Olive: That’s so interesting. See? You’ve got so much to offer! I’m sure everyone has enjoyed learning more about you and I’m really glad you agreed to do this interview today.
Polly: Well, anything for you Olive. We’ve been through a lot together.
Polly: It was absolutely terrifying! Luckily it didn’t hurt one bit, and I’m glad you went first. That made it much easier for me.
Olive: And it was all worthwhile because without barbs on our hooks it’s much easier to remove our hooks from a fish’s mouth without risking injury to the fish.
Polly: Right. We wouldn’t want to hurt the fish. It’s important to release them unharmed so that we can try to catch them again.
Olive: OK, Polly, I have one more question for you if you don’t mind. If you were in a movie and you could choose a famous actor to lend their voice talent to the role of Polly the Partridge and Orange, who would you choose?
Polly: Oh, I wouldn’t want to choose. There are so many talented actresses. I suppose someone with a British accent would be the perfect choice. May I suggest Jane Seymour? She’s lovely, and she’s also a fly angler.
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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