fly fishing movie

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:

www.PersonalcontactinformationforHollywoodFilmIndustryProfessionals.com

(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.

Casting Call

 

If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you know that I’ve been thinking about the day when Olive will be featured in her own animated movie. Naysayers may call this just a pipe dream, but luckily there have been no naysayers. And this is no pipe dream: it’s a plan. I haven’t made any critical headway on this, but I am laying the groundwork, sort of.

Putting the cart well ahead of the horse, I’ve begun to select celebrity voices to play the roles of characters from the books. Animation will be excellent, I’m sure—nothing short of other work done by Dreamworks, Pixar, etc. But it’s the voices that bring life to the characters on the big screen, so assigning voice talent is critical.

Rather than simply picking random people for the voices, I’ve decided that this very special project will require voices from people who are also passionate fly fishing folks. The movie, just like the books, are not just about fly fishing, but it is the obvious vehicle for telling the story and the messages of conservation and stewardship are important.. The good thing is that there are many qualified people to fill the roles of the characters.

Jane Seymour is emerging as a frontrunner to play the starring role of Olive. It doesn’t matter that she’s not a child—with her talents she could easily pull it off. And she strikes me as a nice person, which is absolutely necessary in order to play the main character. Ms. Seymour is a widely talented actress, from her starring role on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman to her appearance on Dancing with the Stars. Why not add a Woolly Bugger to her resume?

Olive the Woolly Bugger?

Some of the other characters are falling into place nicely as well. For example, Wilford Brimley, Lawrence Fishburne or Tom Selleck would be excellent as Mr. Muddler Minnow. This role calls for a distinguished, authoritative voice with a hint of gruffness. At the same time, the voice of Olive’s nurturing instructor must have the ability to be softened to reflect the kindness necessary in the role of the weathered old streamer. Either of these three distinguished voices would be excellent and the role of Mr. Muddler Minnow will go to whomever rises to the take first.

This Mr. Muddler Minnow?

Or this Mr. Muddler Minnow?

Or maybe this Mr. Muddler Minnow?

If the storyline follows as I intend, Clark (the steelhead fry from Olive Goes for a Wild Ride) will have a starring role in the film. Henry Winkler instantly emerged as my first choice to play the voice of Olive’s youthful companion. Mr. Winkler is clearly a passionate fly fisherman and his recently-released book, I’ve Never Met an Idiot on the River, points to his love of the sport. He also has a passion for kids books, so I’m confident he will see value in this project. Many people my age first knew Mr. Winkler from his Happy Days role as “The Fonz”, and assuming he’s not too busy with other projects, he will be perfect as the kind-hearted companion to Olive. Maybe Clark can even adopt the signature expression, “Aaaaeeeyyy!” Or maybe not. I’ll leave that up to Henry.

 

Clark the curious steelhead fry?

I’m still working on the voice assignments for the rest of the cast, but I’ve got an impressive pool of talents to choose from, including:

Nicholas Cage, Kevin Costner, Robert Duvall, Jane Fonda, Harrison Ford, Jake Gyllenhaal, Woody Harrelson, Michael Keaton, Jimmy Kimmel, Liam Neeson, Tom Skerritt, John Travolta, Robin Williams (can’t you just imagine him as Stan the Stimulator!?) and likely others who’ve not yet been determined.

Gilbert the Gold-Ribbed Hare’s Ear, Polly the Partridge and Orange, Stan the Stimulator, Andy the Adams, Randal the Royal Coachman, Sockeyed Jack…the list goes on.

If you know of some celebrities whose voices would lend themselves well to this project, please have them contact me.  The only stipulation is that they must be avid fly angling folks, because those are the people who will bring passion to the project, just as they bring passion to the sport.

And while I’m at it, I should probably be looking for an executive producer. Mr. Redford, are you there?