What do Macaulay Culkin, mind former Daily Show writer Chris Regan, generic order and this web-site have in common?
They almost worked together on a television show for FOX.
I will repeat this news, just in case. At one point, FOX, the TV network, was interested in making a television show based off of my material.
A little background. When the web-site went up for the first time, it was mainly due to the efforts of a friend of mine, Diana. I didn’t think anyone would be interested in the things I couldn’t do. She insisted that it needed a website. So, with my permission, she made one. She also pestered me several times to update it, and pretty much without her, nothing would have happened.
At some point a Producer in LA found my list, and thought “I bet this could make for a decent movie.” So he had an underling try to locate me. They tracked down my friend Diana, who was the original web-mistress. Diana got in touch with me, ironically enough while I was driving through Los Angles while I was moving back to Texas. She just told me “Some lady wants to make a Skippy’s List movie.”
Now a year or so before that, some college students and gotten a hold of me, pretty much wanting permission to make a short film featuring a few of their favorite items. I figured this was more of the same.
Nope. This was a bona fide Hollywood production company. And they wanted to know if I would be willing to sell the rights to make a movie. Well, of course I jumped at the chance. My family was overjoyed as finally someone with a Jewish last name could become associated with the entertainment industry.
We talked a few times, and I waited for something to happen…and I waited…and waited. And finally forgot about it, and just concentrated on my school work.
About a year later Mr. Hollywood Producer got back in touch. They wanted to make it a TV show now. They explained it to me as a cross between ‘Scrubs’ and ‘MASH’. Every episode would start with an item from the list, and then be a flashback explaining the circumstances of the order. Chris Regan from the Daily Show was going to write it, and Macaulay Culkin was set to star in it.
After a few weeks of that, they told me that FOX wanted it, and that it was time to sign an ‘Option’.
For those that have never gone through this process, it is quite interesting. It basically goes like this.
(Note details have been changed slightly to protect the innocent, and because it sounds funnier this way)
Producer: Okay we make your material into a show, we’ll give you a small amount of money sometime if we feel like it, we own all your stuff forever, and we’ll set rape your pets every Thursday.
Me: I’m not sure I’m comfortable with this…..
Producer: Okay, how about we only rape your pets every other Thursday.
We finally came to an agreement, in which I get some money up front, credit for creating the list, and the ability to make quite a bit if a TV series took off.
And I waited to get my check, and find out if I was gonna be on TV.
And I waited. And Waited. Eventually I was able to get a hold of the producer again. FOX didn’t want it for this season. But maybe they would want it later. I casually mentioned that I had not, in fact, gotten any money yet. He sounded shocked, and assured me that he would get right on that.
Nearly one year later, still no luck on the show, and still no check. So I felt it was time to flex my muscles with this guy. I was going to make sure he knew that he couldn’t just get away with “forgetting” to pay people for their intellectual property.
I sent him a very cross email. I gave him a week to fix things. After a week passed, I sent him a certified letter, telling him I now considered our contract to be void, due to non-payment.
That afternoon, and I am not making this up, I received the check.
And he apologized, acknowledged that the contract had been voided, and told me to keep the check anyway.
There’s nothing more annoying than being righteously pissed off at someone who goes and starts apologizing and acting reasonable.
So I got a neat story out of this, and I made a little money. And if anyone out there ever thinks “This would make a good TV show” remember, send those letters to FOX.