Take it or leave it.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


Joy, hope and fear
Suffer not near,
Drive grief away: Shackled and blind
And lost is the mind
Where these have sway.

This short poem is from Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy, in which Lady Philosophy, who is wisdom personified, gives advice to a man on his death bed. She says:
"If first you rid yourself of hope and fear you have disarmed the tyrant’s wrath. But whosoever quakes in fear or hope, drifting and losing mastery, binds the chain with which he will be bound.”

They say that a wish brings its own fulfillment. That desire and its object are like two sides of a coin, one bound to the other. A wish can take one of two forms. Either it is a hope, or it is fear. By hoping you draw something favorable to you by desire. Through fear, you draw its opposite to you in dread. Both hope and fear rely on the power of thought, the law of attraction. Watch your thoughts. Another way of saying be careful what you wish for.

Back when I was a screenwriter I once told my brother GT that if I could only sell one single script, see just one of my works made into a film, I'd die a happy man. We were watching Don Juan de Marco, a delightful movie, and perfectly written. Something like that, I said. This back in 1997.

I used to go see movies and afterwards sit outside listening to audience members as they came out of the theater. What did they have to say about the film? Did the comedy bits work? Was the horror really scary? I'd imagine they were discussing my story. It wouldn't have to be a blockbuster, my movie, not necessarily. Just do maybe 10 million in sales. That's about as many Twitter followers as the Dalai Lama has. I'd be in good company.

Eighteen years and ten screenplays later and nada zip zilch. Until the other day, this chap from Nigeria, one Mr. Livingstone, emails me. I found your screenplay online, he tells me. I had forgotten that I had posted it on this sharing site. It was so long ago I can't remember when. And may I have your permission to make it into a movie? I laughed to myself. Is this a hoax? A scam? No, and he was serious about making the film for "home viewing." I guess they make a lot of films in Nigeria, so many that it has earned the nickname "Nollywood." 

I thought about discussing a price, or involving agents to do it for us. But I have no agent and I'm sure this Mr. Livingstone has no money. He's small time. I saw a sample of his work and it is amateurish at best. I've seen home videos more expertly done. Also, the guy can hardly write a lick of English. His grammar is atrocious. Do they even speak English in Nigeria or is it Pidgin?

Maybe the film will have subtitles. The screenplay in question is so talky that if he chooses to do it in subtitles it will be like reading a digital book on the big screen. You can forget about appreciating the actors. It will be enough of a struggle just trying to understand what they are saying before the words get replaced by another block of my wordy dialogue.

So I said OK, do it. Thinking that for sure it will never be made. But maybe it will. The script is a thriller, but with low-budget filming and botched dialogue and worse acting (I'm just going by what I saw of his work) it will probably come off as an unintentional comedy. Unintentional humor. It so often happens in life. The guy promises to send me the DVD once it's done.

Dreams do come true, just not always how you'd imagine. So be careful what you wish for, and also what you fear. And next time you happen to be in Nigeria, look up my movie, Asphyxia. I'm sure it'll be worth a good laugh or two. That is if it ever gets made. I'm beginning to fear that it may.


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