While writing about the non-existent Columbia thriller on my resume, I got to thinking about all the other scripts I’ve written that haven’t been produced. I thought it might be
alarming comforting for aspiring screenwriters to see how much work never makes it to the screen.
This list is only projects for which I’ve written entire 120-page drafts. Pitches, treatments, rewrites and aborted attempts would be a much longer list.
HERE AND NOW
Unsold. My first script, a romantic tragedy set in Colorado. Under-plotted and over-written, but it got me an agent.
HOW TO EAT FRIED WORMS
Universal/Imagine. My first paid screenwriting assignment, an adaptation of Thomas Rockwell’s book.
A WRINKLE IN TIME
Miramax/Dimension. An adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s book. Technically, it was made, as an ABC TV movie. But the draft they used pre-dated mine.
Unsold. Zombie western set in a Colorado mining town, circa 1859.
Fox 2000. Adaptation of David Small’s book about a man’s suit which comes to life.
Paramount. Two prep school girls have to save Manhattan from the Apocalypse.
Columbia. Big-budget tentpole adaptation of the ABC TV show.
THIEF OF ALWAYS
Universal. Adaptation of Clive Barker’s novel.
Columbia. Page-one rewrite of comedy about phobic brothers.
Fox 2000/Warner Bros. Based on the comic book character, not the movie.
Unsold. Violent action thriller.
This, dear readers, is what sucks about being a screenwriter. Added up, this list represents five or more years of my writing career, but I don’t have a frame of celluloid to show for it.
Not one of these projects is “the best thing I’ve ever written,” I’m happy to report. Still, many of these scripts are near and dear to my heart. Demonology, for example, is the unholy spawn of my two favorite movies, Clueless and Aliens. Others, like Fantasy Island, I’m happy enough to forget. Even though I spent months on various drafts, it never connected for me or the studio.
When asked what kind of movies I prefer to write, I’ll sometimes glibly anwer: “Ones that get made.” I don’t think that’s cynical as much as it is pragmatic. I never think about writing a script. The goal is always to make a movie.