or, perhaps Olive the Woolly Blogger...

Month: August 2011

Another Olive film update

I really have no developments to report since my last update. That, however, doesn’t prevent me from having something to say.

Paul Edward Werner

I recently had cause to reflect on my family history and discovered that my great, great grandfather was prominent enough that 80 years after his death there is still plenty of mention of him out there in cyberspace.

Paul Edward Werner immigrated to the United States in 1867 at the age of 16. His father, Ernst Edward Werner, was mayor of a small farming community (Gruibingen) near Stuttgart, Germany. That status did not come with great wealth and “P.E.” left for the states to find his way in life. He settled in Akron, Ohio and through hard work and dedication eventually became one of the city’s great industrialists.

Here are a couple of websites that provide interesting facts about his career:



He amassed great personal wealth over the course of his career, the pinnacle of which included the nation’s largest book publishing company, Werner Printing and Lithograph Co. Founded in 1886, the company opened branches in 20 countries. However, he also lost everything due to massive legal fees that mounted thanks to lawsuits filed in every country in which he conducted business. The lawsuits, brought forth by Encyclopedia Britannica, alleged trademark violation. Although my great, great grandfather won virtually every suit, the legal fees proved too great and he was forced to file for bankruptcy. After the publishing empire crumbled, P.E. ventured into the rubber manufacturing industry in Kansas City but lost financial backing and the company folded. In 1927 he returned to his former home in Akron, nearly broke but not disgraced–he was given a hero’s welcome.

You’re probably asking, ‘What does this have to do with Olive’s quest for Hollywood?’

Well, my great, great grandfather was friends with the likes of President William McKinley, Buffalo Bill Cody, French painter James Tissot, German Count Ferdinand Zeppelin and Queen Victoria. He was connected.  He would have known or been able to establish contact with people who would see the value in an animated film featuring Olive the Woolly Bugger—people like Robert Redford or Ted Turner. While there is no knowledge of him having been a fly fisherman, he could have opened doors.

I may share my middle and last names with Paul Edward Werner, but I’m not having such luck.


Victorious in Victor

Team Olive just returned from a 1736 mile round trip adventure that took us to Victor, Idaho for the 2011 Casting 4 A Cure event. Despite a little road fatigue, the event energized me and I returned more determined than ever to make sure Olive finds her way to the big screen. If she can accomplish that feat, she’ll be able to do more to help kids with Rett Syndrome.

A year and a half ago I was contacted by Bill Farnum, Executive Director of Casting 4 A Cure. Bill invited me to join his organization for one or both of their annual fundraisers. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it to either event last year, but I pledged to make it to Victor in 2011. I can’t tell you how privileged I am to have been able to make the trip, and I want to also thank my fishing partner, Mark, for joining me (after all, he was the backbone of Team Olive).

Everyone in attendance was fishing for every child with Rett Syndrome, but Team Olive was specifically representing one little “Angel” whose name is Brooklyn. Brooklyn was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome on May 21st, 2007–just two weeks after her second birthday. We were given a card with Booklyn’s photo and a little bio about her. Here is an exerpt from the card that accompanied us on the water:

“Brooklyn is an amazing little girl; she has a smile that light up the room. Rett Syndrome has taken away many things from this little girl, like crawling, talking and feeding herself, but it has not taken away her loving spirit and infectious giggle. She is our little hero; teaching us about love, joy, patience and perseverance. Our lives are full of love because of her.”

The event brought together 22 teams of anglers to participate in a two day event on the waters of the South Fork of the Snake River. World Cast Anglers provided guides for the event and teams fished different sections of the river each day. Every team recorded their top 4 fish for each day, as well as their total trout landed:

  • Compiling the length of the 8 biggest fish per team, 2,686 inches of trout were caught
  • The average size of the biggest fish was 16.8″
  • The average total number of trout caught per team was 47.04

Team Olive caught 49 total fish and our average biggest size was 16.6″ so we were right around the overall average. We may not have won any trophies but like every other team we emerged victorious. Based on the 49 fish caught by Team Olive, Casting 4 A Cure donated $10 per fish in the name of Brooklyn to the International Rett Syndrome Foundation. Overall, $11,380 was raised in the name of the “Angels” that each team represented. There was more raised beyond just this amount but these dollar amounts accompany the names of all the little girls each team represented and make it very personal and special. For 2011, Casting 4 A Cure has raised over $105,000 for the International Rett Syndrome Foundation.

The cure for Rett Syndrome is close. As Casting 4 A Cure says, every casts gets us closer.

Thanks to Bill Farnum and Jim Copeland for putting on such a great event. Fishing is never without its rewards, but this was special.

Olive film update

I really have no big news to share as far as actual progress since the last installment, in which I brought my few, interested readers up to speed on the Olive the Woolly Bugger animated film project.

I haven’t heard back from Mr. Screenwriter yet. He was going to give me some creative feedback on my story premise and character arc. But he works for a living and the advice he’s shared with me is complimentary so I’m not expecting an immediate response. I appreciate his time and whatever he can help me with. It’s only been a week.

The Big Fish hasn’t responded either. It’s also been only a week, but the silence deafening. Actually, the lack of response is not being taken as a refusal, yet. I figure he’s probably enjoying his summer, away from email and the like. The pessimist in me says he saw the email and has no interest whatsoever and so I won’t be hearing back from him. The optimist tells me I haven’t given it enough time yet. I’m going to wait a couple more weeks before I determine that I need to sharpen my hook and cast to another big fish.

What I have been doing is working on developing some addition scenes that may be part of the film. The plot and storyline can take place within the existing framework of my books, but there’s a lot that needs to be added to give it length and sophistication. Animated movies, while playful in appearance, are really aimed at an adult audience so they must be very sophisticated. Adjusting the story accordingly is not difficult, but will require some creativity. For example, how might the movie begin?  Certainly there has to be a bit more to it than just starting out as things begin in Olive the Little Woolly Bugger.  I’ve actually been working on an alternative opening scene that sets the stage for the adventure. I’m pretty happy about the concept at this point, but can’t say anything about it (you’ll just have to watch the movie to see how it turns out).

The other thing I’ve been working on is a character bible. The characters from the books are already in place, but in order to grow the story I will need additional, rich characters. So far I’ve got 4 that I’m very enthused about. One of them is a terrifying and ultimately misunderstood villain that should provide lots of drama for the story. The other 3 are supplemental characters intended to offer sophistication and humor to the story. I think I’ve been pretty clever with their names, but even those audience members who’ve never heard of them will get a kick out of their personalities. Those familiar with fly fishing history will laugh out loud, I hope.

So there you have it.  Not a whole lot of excitement going on, but the dream is still alive and the story outline is being developed. My hope is that when I hear back from The Big Fish and he asks for more details, I’ll be able to provide him with material that will make the potential for the film very clear. I don’t want to leave anything to chance, so I’m trying to get all my ducks in a row.

You just never know when that email will pop into my inbox, or when that number (the one that I don’t recognize) shows up on my phone. I’ll be ready. And waiting.

But for now I am headed on a trip to do a little fly fishing in Montana (for fun) and Idaho (for fun and for a great cause). If you’re interested to hear about my trip, please check out my alter ego, the Unaccomplished Angler. Thanks for your continued enthusiastic support.


Olive Goes to IFTD

The International Fly Tackle Dealer (IFTD) tradeshow, put on by the American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA), is currently under way in New Orleans, Lousiana (NOLA). And Olive the Woolly Bugger (OtWB) is there. That’s a mouthful of acronyms for one sentence.

A lot of people I know, either personally or through online correspondence, are attending the show. I wish I was able to have made the trip but unfortunately it was not in the cards this year. I am pleased to know that Olive the woolly bugger is well represented, however.  Montana Fly Company (MFC), with whom Olive has recently partnered to produce a line of Olive branded kids fly fishing accessories, has an impressive booth at the show.

As part of the Montana Fly Company booth, there is apparently a table that displays the Olive books as well as the brand new Olive fly boxes and Olive nippers.  Three different friends were thoughtful enough to snap photos and either post on Facebook or send me via email.  Thanks to friends Jarrod Black (Echo/Rajeff Sports), Evan Burke (Allen Fly Fishing Company) and Matt Smythe (keeper of the Fishing Poet blog) for the photos. It’s the next best thing to being there.

5 star Review: Olive Goes for a Wild Ride

After two, 5 star reviews  by Jason Kirkfield on Amazon.com, I was not assuming that the third and remaining review would be a slam-dunk. Therefore, when the final review came in for the third book in the Olive series, I breathed a sigh of relief. Yes, I have confidence in my writing and story telling, but book reviews are still very much a subjective endeavor so you just never know. For me personally, the third book is my favorite (although that matters not to anyone else who reads the series). Mr. Kirkfield picked up on a subtlety that hasn’t been noted before, but is certainly worth mentioning.  It has to do with the maturation process for Olive the woolly bugger. Over the course of the first two books, Olive is the student. In the third, she becomes teacher. That’s how it is in fly fishing and in life. I’m pleased that the reviewer mentioned this. Characters must grow, and over the course of the stories, Olive does just that.

Having previously reviewed his first and second books, I knew that Kirk Werner had to do something special to maintain the same high level of awesomeness. He did.

Olive is, for anyone unfamiliar with the first two books, a woolly bugger. The author-illustrator’s skill at drawing fishing flies who can emote is impressive. (Whether or not they can molt is another question altogether!)

Olive Goes for a Wild Ride is the final entry in the Olive series*, at least for now. Even if Kirk’s dreams of seeing Olive on the big screen do not materialize, I hope we will see more of his hooked heroine in future books. Symbolically, he has ended this series by illustrating (both literally and figuratively) the circle of life.

Olive’s task here is aided by the hugely likable form of Clark, the small fry. Olive’s fly friends play a much smaller role in this book, perhaps emphasizing the maturing process as Olive gets older and begins to rely more on herself. Olive Goes for a Wild Ride is by far the scariest of all three books. Where the first addressed anxiety in a new school setting, and the second challenged the flies to catch real fish for the first time, this adventure has Olive lost at sea, or at least a river. Rest assured: all is well in the end. Still, I might suggest parents read through initially to best anticipate the story arc. You may also want to prepare your child for the inevitable questions that will follow. This book addresses some very real emotions and topics, even death. If your child is too young for such conversations, you could always enjoy the first two Olive books for now and save the third for when they are a little older.

“But don’t be sad–that’s just the way life is.” (Olive, final page)

* I also reviewed both previous titles in the series, Olive the Little Woolly Bugger and Olive and the Big Stream.


To read the review on Amazon and to see all other reviews by Jason Kirkfield, go HERE.

The first (of many?) big casts

A few people know that Olive is trying to find her way to Hollywood.  How many people?  Well, the scant few that have read previous posts. Maybe a few more. Actually, it could be a lot of people because one just never knows who is reading this blog.  Maybe the right person…Maybe you’re the right person. Well, whomever you are, I’m here with an update.

My First Hollywood Connection

The past week has been an exciting week for me as I prospect for ways to get Olive ready for the big screen. I can’t say that anything I’ve done has actually gotten Olive any closer to her goal, but I have been making progress on some level.  A week or so ago I talked to someone who works in the movie industry in LA. He’s done some acting and casting direction, and while he wasn’t able to give me any solid leads, he is the first person I’ve ever spoken to in my life who actually makes a living in “the business”. I’ll be talking to him again, I’m sure. Heck, we’re even Facebook friends now.

Mr. Screenwriter

The next person I reached out to is a someone who I would consider to be a highly accredited screenwriter. He has an impressive resume of work that he has done for animated television shows and films. Is he a household name? I don’t know–I’ve never payed much attention to the names of screenwriters until now, but his resume includes work that is of the household name variety.  When I sent the email off I didn’t know if I’d ever hear back from him, but ultimately I did, and he has been very helpful an forthcoming with information.  He likes Olive as a character, so I was pleased to hear that.  I did not ask him to write the screenplay for Olive because that would be getting WAY ahead of myself (not to mention that I couldn’t afford it out of my own pockets).  There are a couple of ways this might work out. One way is that first a Producer will want the project, then they’ll assign things to an animation studio, who will probably be the one to select a screenwriter. At least this is how I think hope it will play out. Right now Mr. Screenwriter is reviewing a detailed “premise” I sent him that includes a character “arc”.  These are new terms for me, but after I get the feedback from Mr. Screenwriter, I’ll have a slightly better understanding of where I need to go and what I need to do, hopefully, once a screenwriter is chosen. This is all uncharted territory for me.

The Big Fish

Most recently I set my sights on a very well known Hollywood “celebrity”. I’ve known who he is for years. You would know who he is. He’s an A-List actor that has been in some very big films, including one highly-acclaimed film that had something to do with fly fishing. He’s a fly fisherman and a passionate conservationist, having lent his narrative talents to a film that is well-known within the fly fishing world. He also serves on the board of directors for a non-profit group whose mission is to protect and restore America’s rivers. This person is also passionate about the art of film making, so when I tallied up each of these categories, I decided he was my ace in the hole: my Big Fish. If anyone could see a benefit to my proposed film featuring Olive the Woolly Bugger, it would be him. I hope.  So this week fired off what I call the single most important hope cast of my life: I polished up my Powerpoint presentation and sent off an email to The Big Fish. No, I didn’t have a personal email for the Big Fish in question, but I sent it in care of someone with whom he works–someone that I had previously corresponded with via email. This person told me that he would forward my email to The Big Fish, so I do know that it will at least be received. Beyond that I know not whether it will actually be read, my presentation viewed or whether I’ll receive a reply. In my email to him I said:

Understanding that you receive probably countless inquiries from people for film projects, all I ask is that you take 4 minutes to view my attached PowerPoint. I’m willing to bet that you’ve never been approached with an idea like this.

Thanks very much for your time, which I do not intend to waste.

I’m not allowing myself to get my hopes up. I am not expecting a reply. Even so, as I sit here writing this I have to wonder if The Big Fish has already seen my presentation, and if so, what he thinks of it. Since I haven’t heard anything in two days, I have to assume that he’s on vacation, far from a computer and email. Certainly that’s why I haven’t heard back yet. Right?

As an encouraging friend said (thanks, Pat), “Can’t catch if you don’t cast.” If I don’t get a nibble or even a refusal, I’ll sharpen my hook and cast to another fish.

The right fish is out there. I just know it.

Olive partners with Montana Fly Company


Breaking Insider Information–Olive the Woolly Bugger and Montana Fly Company have partnered to offer first-of-a-kind, functional fly fishing products for kids!

Columbia Falls-based Montana Fly Company, and Olive the Woolly Bugger (who hails from Duvall, WA) have partnered to produce a series of kids fly boxes and nippers. Using Montana Fly Company’s super cool digital imprinting technology, these high quality plastic fly boxes and durable nippers feature artwork from the Olive the Woolly Bugger series of children’s books.

Kirk Werner, author and illustrator of the Olive series, says that partnering with Montana Fly Company on this venture brings the appeal of Olive to a new level. “Prior to now, the only way to get kids hooked on Olive was through the books,” says Werner. “Now kids can take Olive with them to the water and she can be there when they catch fish. It’s a very exciting opportunity.”

Adam Trina, President of Montana Fly Company, says this about the new partnership:  “Should be fun!”

Indeed. Let the fun begin! The Olive-branded products are included in the 2012 Montana Fly Company product catalog and will be available through retailers soon.


Because this unofficial “leak” comes ahead of the actual press release, any formal inquiries should directed toward Outside Media, which handles such matters for Montana Fly Company.


The future looks bright, despite everything

Watching the news lately, as in the last several years, is like self-inflicting painful punishment. With the ten year anniversary of 9-11 just a few weeks away, I realize that in so many ways, the last decade has not held much to be glad for when it comes to the state of the world and the economy. The war in the Middle East drones on, costing more money each day than I can comprehend. Aside from the expense of having our troops over there,  it seems as though there is little chance of ever resolving the conflict/issues. Closer to home, The Great Recession doesn’t seem to be getting any better as reports on jobs and housing continue to indicate a slump, while costs of goods seem to be doing just the opposite. The federal deficit is too big for me to even wrap my head around, and those who were elected to run the country seem to have no better idea at how to fix things than I do. Now Standard & Poor’s downgraded rating of the U.S. credit rating to a AA+ has caused the Down Jones to plummet.

And what’s up with Mother Nature?  The past year has seen severe weather, from deadly tornados that destroyed entire towns, to phenomenal flooding caused by unbelievable snowpack in the Western mountains, devastating heat waves, and of course there was the earthquake-induced tsunami that devastated Japan. We still don’t really know the extent of radiation contamination from the damaged reactors, do we?  Really?  Maybe the Mayans were right afterall…you just never know.

Despite the depressing paragraphs above, I remain optimistic about one thing: the prospects of making Olive the Woolly Bugger, an animated film. This blog has been filled recently with several entries describing what I want to accomplish, and while I am no closer to attaining my goal, I am making progress: I’ve thought out what my pitch will be when I do get the attention of a movie industry professional willing to hear my ideas. My pitch is nothing too fancy, but it’s honest, realistic and I hope, convincing. I just need to get it in front of the right person. And that is, I believe, going to be the biggest challenge.

While the internet is a tremendous resource for gathering information, it does not seem to provide what I really need:


(Admit it–you tried to click it, didn’t you?) Yes, I need a listing of movie industry types with personal contact information: emails and phone numbers, please. For obvious reasons, celebrities and highly-sought-after entertainment industry professionals want to protect their privacy as much as is possible given their highly-visible public status. There are millions of people out there who would love to talk to these people so a fortress has been erected to keep out the masses, of which I am one.

So, how does one attempt to contact these people? Well, a few have Twitter accounts, but one never really knows who is operating those accounts.  It’s not likely that the stars themselves sit down daily and post their tweets, although Henry Winkler’s Twitter account, @hwinkler4real, does seem as though it may be coming directly from Henry Winkler. I’ve tweeted him, but to no apparent avail. Yet. I remain hopeful. You just never know.

In addition to Henry Winkler, I’d like to establish contact with Tom Skerritt, Jimmy Kimmel, Liam Neeson, Jane Seymour, Michael Keaton, Lawrence Fishburne, Tom Selleck, Harrison Ford, Kevin Costner, Woody Harrelson, Jane Fonda, Robin Williams, Robert Redford and several other Hollywood actor types who have a passion for fly fishing. Why? Because that passion for fly fishing may make them sit up and take notice about a movie called Olive the Woolly Bugger.

Maybe they’ll be interested in participating as voice actors. Maybe one of them would be interested in an Executive Producer role. Or maybe one or two or all of them will lend their support for such a film and their clout will open the doors of an animation studio. Maybe I can speak with the folks in Ted Turner’s camp and Ted, with his well-documented passions for fly fishing and conservation, will agree to chip in a few million dollars (chump change for him) to help get the movie made.

All lofty goals, but you never know.  You just never know. The passion that drives fly anglers, no matter who they are, is not to be underestimated. Especially when you factor in conservation, which really cannot be separated from fly fishing. Famous people lend their support to conservation issues because their notoriety can invoke change. Their status can get things done.

While I may sound like a dreamer, I firmly believe that one has to dream big or not dream at all. But I’m also a practical person– a realist. And the realistic voice in my head says to give up on trying to attract celebrities to champion Olive’s cause. After the movie is made they’ll go see it, and they’ll take their kids or their grandkids, and then they’ll sing their praises.

The practical me says that it might be easier to gain access to a screenwriter who will buy into my pitch, and their esteemed reputation will open doors at an animation studio. This level of dreaming seems entirely within the realms of possibility, and so while this is the angle I am currently working, I’ve not given up on the celebrity thing just yet.

Why, you ask, am I telling you this?  You’re just a regular person like me–not some Hollywood big shot, right?  Well, right there you’re possibly wrong. The internet has a nearly infinite reach. If everyone who reads this were to pass it along to another person, it could spread far and wide: it could go viral. Every blogger dreams of having an entry achieve viral status, and I came about as close to that as possible with a post on my other blog, The Unaccomplished Angler, titled Fly Fishing Needs Dirty Harry. I don’t know if Clint Eastwood ever saw it, but he might have (it generated thousands of page views). The point is, once you hit the publish button on a blog, the content is launched into cyberspace and you never know who might read it. It might just be you, but it could be someone else. You just never know.

5 Star review: Olive and The Big Stream

A while back, the first book in the Olive series, Olive the Little Woolly Bugger, was reviewed on Amazon.com by Jason Kirkfield. Mr. Kirkfield recently did the same for the second book, Olive and The Big Stream:


July 31, 2011

As with the first entry from this series*, author/illustrator Kirk Werner offers a uniquely enjoyable means of learning about flyfishing. Where the first book sees Olive the Little Woolly Bugger attending camp, here she gets her first chance to catch a real fish. Olive is in fact a fishing fly, and the anthropomorphized heroine is a perfect stand-in for a young child. Kirk’s illustrations are energetic and expressive, and his story is both empowering and educational.

Olive and the Big Stream is obviously a perfect choice for kids going fishing for the first time. In broader terms, the Olive books are just as wonderful for any new activities your child may be starting. Olive continues to set a good example with her positive attitude, using both physical as well as mental strength to catch a fish, thus earning a coveted top-row spot in The Fly Box.

This book continues to champion Catch and Release: “Olive was glad that the trout was set free because she wanted nothing more than to come back to The Big Stream and catch him again.” Indeed, the co-star of this second book (Mr. Trout) is immensely likable, even with no dialogue. Kirk Werner entertains the dream of seeing Olive turned into an animated film, and I would love to see that happen.

We recently took our kids fishing for the first time, and these first two books were the best preparation I could have hoped for. In addition to learning about the equipment and mechanics of fishing, Olive and her pals share the real joy of fishing: just being out there in nature is a worthwhile endeavor. We even used woolly buggers. (To no avail, sadly.) The best part? The kids can’t wait to go fishing again. That’s an unqualified success for Olive and for Kirk Werner, too.

The appendix of a dozen photographs of real flies (again, not real “live” flies, but real photographs of flies used in flyfishing) is the same as in the first book, and I frequently referred to it both during the story, and especially afterward during our preparation for the trip.

* I also reviewed the first title in the series, Olive the Little Woolly Bugger, and will be reviewing the third and (at the moment) final title, Olive Goes for a Wild Ride.

[The reviewer was provided with a complimentary copy of the book.]


To read the review on Amazon and to see all other reviews by Jason Kirkfield, go HERE.