So I've been taking 'Hollywood' meetings for my Calliope Reaper-Jones book series. People that might (but probably don't) want to turn my prose into a TV show. It's been a real learning experience...mostly I've learned that no one wants a book author involved in the process of turning said book series into a movie and/or TV show. They just want to take the books, give you a little cash (or the promise of a little cash) and then tell you to piss off.
For me, the whole point of this hope exsanguinating process is to get my foot in the door of the TV show making machine (as a neophyte TVwriter/producer/someday Showrunner) and to keep a little of the original tone of the books intact...but even that (the tone part) is negotiable. I really just want to make stuff and this seemed (at least in the beginning) like a good way to get myself in the game.
But the more I delve into this world, the odder I find it. There are soooooooooooo many people making decisions about development. Not just some big mucky-muck (like Orson Welles at the end of the original - and much better than The Muppets - Muppet Movie) sitting behind a giant desk, sucking on a cigar and pronouncing things like "I...like it!" and "Get this girl a standard contract!"
Instead, there are small fish Development Executives (that give you notes which ultimately conflict completely with the notes their boss will eventually give you), Mid-Level Development Executives, Vice-Presidents in Charge of Development, Presidents in Charge of Development...it just seems like there is an endless supply of people and hoops you have to jump through in order to get anything done.
Of course, everyone is very nice during the process. They offer you water, coffee, tea...Advil. They direct you down movie poster-covered hallways to waiting offices and smile benignly when you ask for the ladies room. It's a sterile and serene experience with no real interactions to speak of (except the one time I pitched the books to my friend, Stacey, which was a fun and much less stressful experience).
Everyone seems to like what you're saying - even if they really don't - and then you're done and dazedly heading to the parking lot with an hour long validation on your parking ticket.
Now I have to admit that the pitch process scares the crap out of me...I get nervous, start sweating profusely from every sweat gland on my body - I once sweat so badly I had to go to the bathroom and stuff scratchy, brown paper towels down into my armpits to soak up the salty sludge - and, finally, just before I go in and start talking, my stomach begins to cramp like a son-of-a-bitch.
So all of the above makes me predispositioned not to enjoy the whole thing anyway...but it's more than just the fight or flight body responses that make me dislike the pitch process.
What bugs me is the fact that everyone just wants a goddamned procedural...a body of the week to keep them satisfied and, frankly, they don't care how they get it.
My books...they're not procedurals...yes, there are some mystery aspects to the plotting, but no body of the week. My books, if they were to be a TV show, would be like Ugly Betty crossed with Bewitched. Silly, funny, New Girl-like, really. (And, yes, I am listening to She and Him as I write this, so bite me.)
Instead, everyone I meet in Hollyweird wants me to rehash Dead Like Me, a show that I loved and that Bryan Fuller already did - and did REALLY WELL. They want my Death's Daughter chasing dead people all around Manhattan, parceling out wisdom and solving body issues...dead body issues.
And they don't want me involved in doing any of it...well, I can watch the show when it's done...help out with the Nielsen numbers.