worms script Ten years ago, I got my first paid screenwriting job, adapting Thomas Rockwell’s How to Eat Fried Worms into a script for Ron Howard and Universal. I went through four paid drafts over more than a year, and loved it.

Thomas Schlamme signed on to direct it. At the time, he was a mid-level TV director. Now, he’s a super-powered TV director. We went through a few drafts, but never really clicked.

Ultimately, Bob Dolman was brought in to rewrite my script. I was devastated, but fortunately had found other projects to keep my rent paid. I kept my eye on Worms over the years, as…

  • Schlamme fell off
  • Universal put it into turnaround
  • Nickelodeon picked it up
  • Nickelodeon let it go

I assumed it was finally, really gone when one day I was reading Mike Curtis’s blog, in which he noted that a movie called HOW TO EAT FRIED WORMS was shooting behind his house in Austin.

It turned out that Bob Dolman was directing from the script he (re-)wrote. Walden Media was financing it, which seemed smart, because they’d had great success adapting kid’s lit into movies. When filming was finished, I had the opportunity per WGA rules to seek screenwriting credit, but I passed. A quick look at the script showed that it didn’t much resemble what I had written. Which is no veiled slam at Dolman — he just did his own thing.

The movie came out last month, and fared poorly. I didn’t see it, but what little I read about it didn’t have me rushing to the theatre.

Now that it’s out and has done its thing, I feel better adding my original script to the Downloads section. This is the fourth of the four drafts I held onto. At 120 pages, it seems long to me, but that was probably a factor of its lengthy development. I originally wrote it in Microsoft Word; this version has been converted to Final Draft and then exported as a .pdf.

So, if you’re interested, you can find it here.