I entered 2018 with the intentions of writing a feature script that I hoped to produce in the next 2 years. As a few topics came to my mind, I decided to pick up some books from my local library to do some research. One book in particular hooked me more than any others. It was a true, gripping story and it was the story I wanted to tell.
I finished it in a few hours and immediately emailed the author telling her about myself and asking if she would be willing to allow me— inexperienced, passionate, starving artist— to turn her book into a film. I prayed that night, asking God to pave the way if this was His will and to shut the door if it wasn’t. The next morning the author emailed me back and we talked on the phone later that night. She said she was moved by my email and was open to me adapting her book. She wrote it almost a decade ago and said she wanted it to be turned into a film from when she first wrote it, but the story was rejected by other networks/studios. Could this have been any more perfect? I asked myself. We didn’t discuss legal issues or copyright (and she’s a lawyer so she is well informed on both of those topics). We decided that once I had something to show her– if she liked it– we could go forward from there.
I was overwhelmed with excitement and hope. I continued to pray for the project almost every night. I reread the book, combed over it, broke it down, outlined, completed a draft of the script and was onto revising and rewriting it. I updated the author this week about my progress and plans to send her a finished script in early June and this is the email I received in return:
“Hi Amber,I was about to touch base when I opened my e-mail and had this from you.I am very sorry to tell you that I am not able to authorize the use of the contents of ****** for your screenplay. You would also need to have ****’s consent to go forward (in addition to rights to the book), which he isn’t willing to grant. I know you will be disappointed, and I am sorry to give you this news. But it recently unfolded. For all these reasons, you should not send me anything to read.I do wish you the best of luck with your other projects. “
I was speechless as the weight of disappointment crashed down on me. I was sad, angry and mostly in disbelief that I spent the past 3 months working on this project and I would have to let it go. Anyone who knows me well enough knows that giving up on something I’m passionate about is next to impossible for me. I pretty much didn’t sleep that night and I didn’t have the energy to work on much else the next day. I felt like I’d been fired from a job I really loved.
I wish I could write about a happy ending right now; that I could say things miraculously changed and I’ll still get to write this script, but that’s not the case. This disappointment is going to sit with me for a while. Eventually it’ll fade and I’ll get started on a new script, but eventually isn’t now and I wanted to share this now because we rarely share our disappointments and failures until we’ve found the silver lining. There’s no visible silver lining for me right now, but eventually there will be because I do believe in the goodness of my God even when things don’t go my way.