Art by Tadd Galusha
We had finally turned the corner on the millennium, I was back in Portland and had not heard so much as a peep from anyone in the film industry. I had exhausted most of my contacts, managing to piss off the few good leads left in the entire City of Angels. The year was 2003 and I felt my only course of career action was to start from scratch, this time revisiting some of the older material in my portfolio in hopes of reworking into a commercially viable candidate. The screenplay I chose, “The Touristers.”
A bit of historical perspective is in order. “The Touristers” was the second of my stories to generate a small bit of, eh, Hollywood heat. The logline for this masterpiece is as follows:
Leading a caravan of RVs, filled with a riotous assortment of tourists, through Baja is not the relaxing vacation, middle-aged gym teacher Marion C. Carlson hankers for. His rebellious, high-spirited teen daughter, Carolyn, and his mutinous "Touristers" are the least of his worries. South of the border, Carlson incurs the wrath of a bloodthirsty tribe of outlaw bikers and circling the wagons may be a classic western case of too little, too late.
Back in the day,“The Touristers” was represented by an East Coast agency, Manhattan Artists, and optioned for $1000.00 by none other than John Ratzenberger (Cliff, the mailman on the hit NBC show “Cheers”). I know, right? It was the early eighties and I was naive enough to think my stellar career as a Hollywood screenwriter was only just beginning. Reality hit when I drove the 1000 miles to LA to meet my television star benefactor, only to be literally turned away at the door. Anxious calls to my agent in New York were not returned, and it seemed that a life-long dream had stalled before it had even started.
Flash forward, twenty-some years later and I had reworked the script and spruced it up for a promising new decade. I thought the rewrite went well, taking the needed time necessary to flesh out some of the father/daughter relationship, tighten up some of the gags and come up with a “Magnificent 7” style opening to the story. Finally, after weeks of work, I was ready. But who would I send it to? There were only a couple of names remaining on my contact list and I was pretty sure that they had either forgotten who I was or wanted nothing to do with me. I was desperate, with only place to turn.
Still in its adolescence , the World Wide Web had once been a Gold Rush for screenwriters, featuring hundreds of sites where you could publish your logline, pray that it wasn’t stolen and unrealistically expect email offers and options from creatively starved and morally bankrupt producers to come pouring in. Much like the Yukon over a century ago, it did not take long for this so-called rush to exhaust itself and, over the years, most of sites dried up. I know as I spent hours desperately searching the survivors out in the Ethernet. I was about to give up entirely when I finally came upon it. One site had survived like an angry weed or persevering cockroach. The site was administered by a man named Wiley Bowman and it was called, “All Things Entertainment.”
A quick note about the “All Things Entertainment” website. There were plenty of simple, easy to use customizable website templates available for any wannabe webmaster. Apparently these were ignored as this website had the virtual look of Spawn Ranch shortly before Charlie Manson moved in. Never-the-less, despite the warning of inferior web design, I submitted my logline. Why not? It wasn’t like anyone else was asking for my material. I knew it for what it was, a Hail Mary. I also felt that I had all my protective and legal bases covered. The material was copyrighted and registered with the Writers Guild of America West (Several times in fact). It wasn’t like someone on the internet would ever think of ripping me off. Right?
(To be Continued)
In 1981, J.P. Linde co-wrote and appeared in a one-man comedy show titled “Casually Insane.” Shortly after, he joined the ranks of stand-up comedy and performed in clubs and colleges throughout the United States and Canada. In 1989, he made his national television debut on “Showtime’s Comedy Club Network.” He wrote the libretto for the musical comedy “Wild Space A Go Go” and co-wrote and co-produced the feature motion picture, “Axe to Grind.” “Son of Ravage” is his second novel.