Thought it was worth mentioning this for various reasons: way back in October, when I was scraping by in New Mexico after shooting our next road movie, Susan Hero, which features great native American talent, and great new actors all round, I was very very low on money.
**I say this is worth mentioning so that any emerging or established filmmakers can take note of this situation and try to learn from it**
(Thus started the cycle which I now am climbing from, the very challenging situation which is described in such detail in HURRICANE–the uncut version of this blog/diary, which started in Oct 03′ when I first set out to make the picture.)
Anyway, one day, out of the blue, and having been petitioning the universe for some deus ex machina to boost the finances and stop the slow downward financial spiral, I got a call from Kelly Devine of HD Cinema 10, the new HD channel headed by IFC, part of Rainbow media.
She said they wanted to aquire BOOKWARS for their channel!
After much discussion, and after sending a couple DVDs and many phone calls, she personally told me (as has happend with twelve other buyers re: TV sales for BOOKWARS), that they wanted to move forward as soon as possible:
“So it’s definite?”
“Yes. Definite. We’ll paper it soon…”
Which means the contract will soon follow, which must necessarily happen since the verbal agreement always comes first. See, it’s physically impossible for the written agreement to precede the verbal agreement Please note that many other TV sales which I’ve been involved with: ZDF/Arte, Metrochannels (the sister station of IFC), SVT, NHK, PBS, Bravo!, and many more…all these TV sales operated the same way, with the verbal discussion, the handshake, coming first as it walways does.
Cut back to the deal with HD Cinema 10. I had so taken the buyer, Kelly Devine, at her good word–as I have with many other previous buyers, thinking now that I had a very significant and desperately needed TV sale coming in for BOOKWARS. Based on this, I saw fit to take a trip that I’d been waiting to take for three years, to Athens, Greece, where I would stay on the cheap with my old friend and bang out the screenplay for my next feature PAT and LLOYD’s FINAL COUNTDOWN. (which is now complete and lined up to be the next project after Susan Hero.)
Anyway, while I’m over there, pecking away, after I’ve spent limited discretionary delvelopment money based on the presumably good word of the buyer from HD Cinema 10, after I’ve signed the W9 form and sent it back, after I’ve sent the MASTER as per their request…the deadline for deliverables comes and goes, and I hear not a peep from Kelly.
So I email back saying: Kelly, if I’m to head back to NYC and get the releases and other due diligence paperwork, I need to know what’s happening. I can’t book a trip back to NYC if things have been delayed, etc.
So I get an email back saying:
“Jason. It appears we’re both so hesitant about this deal…I’m going to have to withdraw the offer.”
“Hesistant?” And I thought, I’ve just sent you my master, the W9, have emailed you left and right, have spent scarce cash developing my next feature under the rock solid word that the TV sale is underway, and now you want to reneg and “withdraw” the offer?
Later, and more soberly, she emails to say that in actuality, the deal was not withdrawn because I was hesitant, but because the company ran out of financing. Suddenly it’s no longer “my fault”. They just can’t afford to aquire any more movies.[more later, including my letter to the CEO of Rainbow Media!]