Re: JMS's Spotlight at SDCC

 Posted on 7/26/2006 by to

I am living in such strange times right now. So I figured I'd share

Prior to the announcement of "Changeling," my film agent tried to get
me to understand what would happen in the aftermath of that
announcement, even though he said "you really won't get it until you're
in it."

I had no idea.

See, there's a real class structure to this industry. A list directors
only buy scripts from A list writers. That's kind of the rule, with
very few exceptions. I've been working in the TV business for over
twenty years, but in features I'm kind of an unknown equation. Always
have been, mainly because I really haven't sought it out much; I figure
films are like going to Vegas, you can invest years in one shot at the
dice. So I stick to TV. I thus have not been in that class of A list
writer. Nowhere near.

When Imagine and Ron Howard bought that script, the effect was
electric. Suddenly everybody in town wanted to know who the hell was
this guy they'd never heard of who just sold a script to Howard and, in
essence, jumped the line from "who?" to A-list without much in-between.
Twenty years in TV, now suddenly an overnight success.

Within hours of the announcement, every studio in town was calling my
agent to get a copy of the script. As it got read, they started
calling to set up meetings. Not us calling them. Them calling us.

And then the offers started. Rewrite offers. Original film offers.
Adaptations. I've had no less than one and in many cases two or three
studio meetings every day for the last several weeks, and my calendar
is one big mass of black type for the next four weeks. A big-budget
feature that Sony wants me to rewrite because it has to go into
production fast, one that Universal wants developed, on and on and
on...all I have to do is say yes to whichever ones I want and they're
mine. Everything I've ever written is suddenly being pored over and

I have never seen anything like it. I've read about this sort of
thing, but to experience it personally is...strange, so strange. The
stuff I've had out there before, the novels and short stories and the
like, are all exactly what they were before this...the words didn't
change on the page, the stories didn't alter, but suddenly the
*context* in which they are being seen has changed radically.

I'm being very, very careful and very selective in what I say yes to,
because I want to make sure whatever I take on adds to rather than
subtracts from the momentum we've now achieved.

The really odd thing is that I'm not running around, jumping up and
down, celebrating or hooting or hollaring or any of that. It's moved
me in the other direction, I've gotten really, really quiet, and
careful. It's like all of my antennae are up. Everybody around me is
thrilled, and can't figure out why I'm being so reserved. I'm not
really sure myself, to be honest. Just a strange sort of wariness,
like when I'd move to a new neighborhood as a kid and I'd go quiet
while I sussed out the area.

Odd. Nothing bad, it's all to the good, lord knows. Just odd. Very