fly fishing film

A River Runs Through It: 20 years after

Olive’s friends over at the Fly Fishing Frenzy recently posted an article from The Bozeman Chronicle titled, Reflecting on the film “A River Runs Through It” and how it changed Montana. The article talks about the impact the movie had on Montana specifically, and also fly fishing in general. It got peoples’ attention, and depending upon one’s perspective the movie’s success was either a good thing or a bad thing. One thing is for certain: the move had an impact.

Twenty years have passed since then, and things have quieted down a bit in the fly fishing industry. In fact the silence is deafening. I believe the time is now for another blockbuster film to hit theaters and once again use fly fishing as a vehicle to tell a great story, to get peoples’ attention.

No, I’m not referring to Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.

The script treatment for Olive’s film is nearly done and I could not be happier with the results. As I prepare to contact producers I can’t help but jump way ahead of myself and envision the overwhelming audience response to the film. It will be unique, unlike any other animated film the industry or public has ever seen. It has all the elements of a great story with an extremely likable cast of characters as well as some villains you’ll absolutely love to hate. There’s also an underlying message that will create an environmental awareness that is much needed today (all cleverly disguised in good movie-going fun, of course).

To say that Olive the Woolly Bugger will be the next River Runs Through It would be absurd, but it will have an impact if I can just get producers to hear my pitch.

Olive the woolly bugger just wants to catch the biggest fish. But beneath the surface lie troubled waters, as well as the answers she's really looking for.

 

 

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.


If you would like to participate in a grassroots campaign to Help Send Olive to Hollywood, simply copy and paste the code (provided  in the right column) into a widget. You will have my gratitude!

 

 

 

 

Olive on the Big Screen

I’ve decided that Oprah is not going to be the person to help get the word out about Olive the woolly bugger. I tried to reach out to Oprah by tagging her on Twitter posts, emailing her via Oprah.com, applying to be a recipient of a Harpo Hookup, and even following her on Facebook. I posted several blog entries, hoping to capture the attention of her internet staff. In the end, I realized that getting the attention of Oprah was just another pipe dream…a bucket list item that will remain at the bottom of the bucket.

But I have not given up hope or stopped dreaming. In fact, my new goal is to bring Olive to the Big Screen. That’s right, the motion picture industry is next on Olive’s list of things to achieve.  The fly fishing industry needs a boost, which I wrote about on my other blog. However, the suggested solution of getting Clint Eastwood to make a Dirty Harry fly fishing film was clearly riddled with tongue and cheek humor (although it did speak to the real necessity to drive new participants to the sport of fly fishing).  The fly fishing industry needs another blockbuster hit like A River Runs Through It.  All this time I’ve been sitting on the solution and wasn’t even aware of it.

I figure that with the help of a talented team of script writers, the story of Olive the Little Woolly Bugger can be fashioned into a full length, animated feature.  There is an established cast of characters and the framework for a fun story that is unique and engaging, has already been established, and even contains valuable lessons in conservation and life. And I’ve got my eye on two studios:  Dreamworks and Pixar.

 

The animation branch of Dreamworks Studios seems like a logical fit for Olive. Heck, just look at their logo: the little boy on the moon is fishing…for what? A trout, or a bass? Perhaps the next great story for a film? Is he dangling a woolly bugger at the end of his line?  Seems encouraging to me. The studio has produced no shortage of great, engaging animated films including such notables as Shrek, Madagascar, Antz, Megamind and many others. I’d like to suggest to the executives at Dreamworks that you add Olive the Little Woolly Bugger to that list.

But I have no allegiance to any one particular studio. I’m shopping Olive around.

Disney’s Pixar Studios needs no introduction. Their list of movies reads like an all-star lineup: Cars, The Incredibles, A Bug’s Life, Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc., and of course there’s that other one–Toy Story, I think it’s called…? Pixar has proven that they can draw bugs and fish, so I see Olive the Little Woolly Bugger equally at home there.

What I learned from my dead-end attempt at getting Oprah’s attention was that I appeared too desperate in my quest for her help.  Nobody likes a needy beggar, so I’m taking a different approach this time: I’m going to sit back and wait for the call from Dreamworks or Pixar. I’m sure it won’t be long after the communications departments for either studio pick this blog post off the RSS feeds. Whomever calls me first gets the contract.  Any guesses on who it’s going to be?

Olive’s dream is alive, and I’m sitting by the phone.