thoughts from a mind
The Weird Turn Pro
  Tuesday   November 4, 1997




The Usual Suspects

Get me, I'm a player. Sometime in December production will start on a movie whose script bears the words "Written by Chuck Atkins." Yes, I just sold a script.

Hang on now, hold your applause. It's not that big a deal. Well, it is, sort of, but it's not. It's a big deal because I'm going to be magically transformed into a produced screenwriter, but it's not a big deal because it's such a small deal. We're not talking major motion picture here. We're not even talking minor motion picture. We're talking anemic motion picture. Video. Foreign distribution. Not a shoestring budget, but a shoestring hole budget. No budget, basically. So while I'm kind of excited about it, I'm also really blase at the same time.

You see, I'd always thought when I made my first sale it'd be a red letter day and that I'd be grinning from ear to ear and feeling vindicated after all the years of struggling. But then I also thought my first sale would be to 20th Century Fox or Paramount or one of the other bigs. Not. Instead, my first deal is with a company that specializes in quickie low budget shows that get shipped overseas for video distribution, and for a genre that, frankly, doesn't inspire a whole lot of respect in the film community. But it's a sale, right? Perhaps you understand my equanimity.

The script in question is called "Sexual Healing." It's your standard erotic thriller along the lines of the ones you see at the video store with a scantily clad babe or two on the cover, usually in a revealing pose. It's the first script I ever wrote, and in writing it I followed the old adage "write what you know." Now, while I might not know a whole lot about sex therapists being stalked by obsessive ex-lovers, I do know low budget erotic thrillers because I've worked on a lot of them. In fact, I did the bulk of the writing of "Sexual Healing" while killing time as Production Coordinator in the production offices and on location for "Pamela Principle 2: Seduce Me" and "Secret Games 3: The Seduction," two fine examples of the high art of low budget filmmaking. I've worked on dozens of these things, so many, in fact, that it's gotten to the point where if I never see another naked actress/model with a bad boob job again it'll be too soon. Point being that I know the genre well, and coming at it from a production perspective I was able to write a script that could be done cheaply. It's not the big budget Bruce Willis vehicle I might have wanted to start my career with, but it's pretty good for what it is. And now it's being produced, which gives me a leg up over everyone else with the Bruce Willis script they can't sell.

It also could end up giving me up a leg up with the people who are producing it. The executive producer apparently has a deal in place to do a medium budget movie with Shannon Tweed, former Playmate and queen of the erotic thrillers (and a prominent object of my adolescent emissions, if you know what I'm saying), and he doesn't have a script yet. He was raving about my script after he read it, so I'm going to try to parlay that into considering me for the Tweed project when I meet him for breakfast tomorrow. I'm also told these people are interested in working with writers who "want to wear many hats," so there's a real possibility I could end up directing or producing with them if the cards fall right. I'm actually more interested in producing than directing...but all that is speculation for another day. In the meantime I'm just going to cash my check, frame it with the title page, and try to catch some of Beth's excitement about this deal.

Get me, I'm a player. Woohoo.





Copyright 1997
Chuck Atkins