Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Turning Pro

I've officially given up my amateur status when it comes to screenwriting.

Checking the usually meager TVGuy bank account (it's not really called that), the balance this morning had increased quite a bit thanks to the wire transfer from the producer I optioned my script to. And, according to the contract I negotiated, I've still got a few more transfers coming my way.

So, this is a bit thrilling for me, because this is the first time in five years or so of writing screenplays that I've actually made money on something I've written (not counting the plane ticket from the good folks at Disney a few years ago). It's not a tremendous amount - I won't be quitting my day job anytime soon, which means you loyal dozens are still stuck with me on this blog for a while longer - but it will pay some bills.

Dammit, I just realized I've now got to pay taxes on this. That sucks.

Anyway, because I made less (much less) than $5,000 on my option, I still retain eligibility for most of the major screenwriting contests, so I'm both an amateur and a pro at the same time (I'm the Schrodinger's Cat of the screenwriting world).

An option, I should probably explain, is sort of the equivalent of a down-payment for a script. The producer is now looking to see if he can raise the funds and attract a cast and crew for my script. The option assures him of exclusive rights to the script for a specific length of time. Once the option period ends, he will either buy the script outright (please, God) or walk away.

Anyway, this really has nothing to do with anything TV wise, but I thought it was worth posting because my cubicle neighbor, education reporter Julie Hubbard, said it was the first time she'd actually seen me happy and excited, so I just thought I'd share.

TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: From my movie dreams to someone else's - "On The Lot" (Fox, 8 p.m.) cuts two more would-be Spielbergs. Of last week's action films, Andrew definitely rose to the top with his short about the car salesman in the car chase. The two who deserve to go are Kenny and Mateen. Mateen has never really lived up to the promise he showed in his first film, and his scripts come across as heavy-handed. Kenny's never been a favorite, as his music-video style of directing tends to annoy me. If those two are eliminated, then the remaining six directors really are the cream of the crop and all deserving to win, though my pick is still Zach.

As pointed out in yesterday's blog, Glenn Close returns to TV with "Damages" (FX, 10 p.m.) It's Glenn Close and it's FX, so it's worth your hour of investment.

The quirky "Bronx Is Burning" (ESPN, 10 p.m.) continues as well. It's a decent little miniseries, better than the average ESPN dramatic fare.

Speaking of quirky, the offbeat "Eureka" (Sci-Fi, 9 p.m.) is back with a brand-new episode.


zodin2008 said...

Phillip, congratulations. I am very happy & relieved to hear about the check coming for your screenplay and I know you are too. I am also happy to hear you're in a good mood. You definitely should be!

I will be checking out "Damages" and I watched an episode of "The Bronx is Burning" but I think I may have missed one (is this the 3rd or 4th one?) so I maybe screwed.

Also, is there anywhere I can catch the pilot of "Mad Men"? I missed it last week.

hotspur said...


Congratulations !!! How about a loan ?

Glad you are in a good mood !!

Phillip Ramati said...

Thanks for the note.

This is the third episode of Bronx. ESPN tends to run them all the time, so you should be able to catch up. Not to spoil anything, but Billy Martin and George Steinbrenner tend not to get along.

Ep. 1 of Mad Men is re-airing a few times on Thursday, so you should be able to DVR it (if you own such a device) or check local listings. It's also worth an hour of your time.

The good thing about cable TV is that many channels often re-air their original programming, so it's possible to catch up if you miss an episode.

Phillip Ramati said...

Maybe down the line, hotspur.

Jonathan said...

Congrats, Phil. I wish you the best of luck, and being someone who has also had a screenplay optioned in the past, I understand your hesitation to be fully stoked. Still, you've come a lot farther than a huge percentage of screenplay writers out there.

I'm really looking forward to "Damages," and the early reviews are stellar for it which usually means I'm a little dissapointed. But it won't take too much for it to be better than "The Riches" or "Dirt," so that's a plus. And if you get a chance, Zodin, definately check out "Mad Men." It will be well worth your time; you might want to check out the website too; it's on itunes, so I wouldn't be suprised if AMC has it on somewhere on the Web.

Phillip Ramati said...

Thanks, Jonathan. Any time I make extra money, I'm usually a bit stoked :-)

Good thought about iTunes, might be worth a check.

I have higher hopes for Damages than I did for FX's recent entries. I feel like Damages will be closer to The Shield end of the spectrum.

It does remind me of something I forgot to mention in my Emmy rant last week, that Minnie Driver did get an Emmy nom for The Riches while Eddie Izzard didn't. Izzard was the only part of the show I actually liked.

zodin2008 said...

I agree with you both..."Damages" should be more on the level of "The Shield" or "Rescue Me". I would like to forget "Dirt" and "The Riches".

But "The Riches" really now has my ire up.

For some bizarre, unexplainable reason, the Emmy voters took the single worst character, Minnie Driver, and nominated her for an Emmy.

I must be missing something. The #1 reason my wife & I quit watching "The Riches" was BECAUSE of Minnie Driver's horrible and shrieking performance.

Then again, these are the same Emmy voters who think "Boston legal" is a top 5 drama. It's not only not a Drama, it's not in the top 20 of any critic's list.

Then again, I have become numb to the Emmys being completely out of touch. Why aren't the TV critics handling these awards?