So, back in late March of last year, I posted a rundown of the multiple projects I was juggling in various stages of development, seventeen in all, dubbed Projects A through Q. Recently, someone asked me to provide a little update – and some clarity – on those mysterious projects.
For those of you who need your memories jogged, this was the blog entry:
Look at them marbles fly!
Anyway, here are the updates on those original posts:
“Project A: Delivered a first draft of the pilot to the network along with a revised character breakdown for quick reference and perusal. This one an epic character-driven SF series. I dub thee…Comet!”
We delivered the final draft and series overview to the commissioning broadcaster back in August of last year. And haven’t heard anything since. I suggested we take it out elsewhere but the production company is a little slow-moving on this one. Apparently, they recently heard back from the commissioning broadcaster that the project was, in fact, not dead as they had not officially passed. Despite the fact they’ve been holding onto it for approximately 11 months.
Who am I to question how things work in this industry?
“Project B: Have been going back and forth on this one, an adaptation of an upcoming SF novel. I think we’ve finally got all the kinks worked out, are all on agreement on how we’re going to move forward creatively. Next step is a follow-up call to proceeded by…a pitch deck? I dub thee…Mocha Madness!”
I started working on this project back in early November of 2017 after a meeting in L.A. Everyone seemed very excited about my original take on the material, but just had a few notes. And, following some adjustments to my original take, a few more notes after that. And then more notes. I thought we were making great progress until a late May of 2018 email suggested they wanted to review the material one more time before deciding how best to proceed. And THAT was the last I heard from them.
“Project C: This adaptation of an SF pulp classic appears to be on life-support owing to a lingering rights issue. Considering pulling the plug myself, revising it by dropping all of the elements that originated with the source material, and generating an entirely new series based on my original ideas. Kind of a shame though. It would have made a killer show. I dub thee…Pollo Loco.”
This one was an adaptation of a classic sci-fi book series first published in 1960. I didn’t really get much farther than my initial take on how I would transform the source material into a television series – before I received an email (mid April of 2018) informing me the rights were bogged down. And that was the last I heard of that project. However, I’m waiting for the dust to settle and considering circling back and optioning the rights myself. We’ll see.
“Project D: That slow-moving horror novel to screen adaptation is picking up steam. Options are being finalized and the deal-making has begun! I dub thee…El Capitan!”
Little Heaven by Nick Cutter. Now that I’ve completed production on Utopia Falls, the author and I can resume work on the series overview.
“Project E: Well, damn. The proposed screen adaptation of this heavyweight SF author’s work is dead – at least so far as my involvement is concerned. Sadly, they were unable to reach a deal on the option. RIP H2-Blue.”
No updates on this one past this original post. All I can say is that it was a novel written by one of my favorite sci-fi authors – and would have been a very ambitious production on a television budget. But, then again, that’s what I do.
“Project F: Another book to screen adaptation, this one for an upcoming SF novel – also D.O.A. RIP Black Knight.”
Another terrific sci-fi author and I look forward to reading this book when it is finally released (as we were working off the author’s notes). Disappointed we didn’t get far with this one as the producers were distracted by other projects and quickly lost interest.
“Project G: Given the radio silence on this small screen to big screen adaptation of that horror/SF film, I’m calling it D.O.A. as well. RIP Olympia.”
The production company was looking to adapt their big screen movie to a television setting. I watched the movie and it was, to be honest, a mediocre execution of a terrific concept. I came up with what I believed would be a great execution of the original concept – but, alas, the creators didn’t bite.
“Project H (aka Masked): This one has gone quiet as well and, while I’m disappointed, I’m not surprised. It’s a combination of two elements broadcasters appear to be actively avoiding right now: superheroes and anthologies. I dub thee…Marbly McMarbleface.”
Masked was an anthology of superhero-themed short fiction, edited by Lou Anders, and featuring contributions from the likes of Marjorie M. Liu, Gail Simone, Mike Carey – and yours truly. Gizmodo headlined their review of the book thusly: “This book could teach Hollywood to do superheroes right”. So the rights were optioned but a prospective series found surprisingly little traction for two reasons, I was told. First – it was an anthology series and anthology series don’t do well. (Please ignore Black Mirror, I guess). Second – the superhero market was oversaturated. (Although that apparently isn’t stopping them from making many more superhero-themed shows). My guess it was really partly the former, and the fact that it was an original world rather than a big established IP.
“Project I: An original horror concept I pitched as a series that I’m reconsidering pitching as a movie instead. My prospective new writing partner patiently awaits. I dub thee…Wisp of Darkness.”
Things got so busy with all those other projects that I simply shelved this one – but with things now winding down on several other fronts, I’m thinking of putting together a pitch and shopping it this summer.
“Project J: Big(ger) budget co-pro SF series in the vein of BSG. Lots of excitement about this one a couple of months ago when the company execs and co-creators came into town, but things have been quiet since. Have been told it’s still in play – but who knows? I dub thee…Summer Sky.”
After the original attached showrunner (known in the industry for dialing in drunk to most of his production conference calls) bowed out, I was offered this ambitious sci-fi project. They had a script and bible and interest from several broadcasters and then…nothing.
“Project K: One of the projects I was most excited about earlier this year was this proposed adaptation of a foreign format. Ended up watching the entire first season of the original and then pitching my carefully crafted take. Decision on this one coming in April. Hopefully. I dub thee…Snake’s Tub.”
Man, this one was frustrating. I genuinely loved this foreign series and came up with a pitch for an adaptation that was unique yet paid respect to the original. I didn’t hear back for months and, after following up, was told that my take paid a little to much respect to the original for their liking. So I went back at them with another take that they seemed to like and wanted to discuss internally. That was almost five months ago.
“Project L: I pitched my take for the live action adaptation of this anime series early this year as well. I got the sense my vision for the prospective show would be considerably more action-driven, less topical, than what they’re gunning for, but we’ll see. I dub thee…Quicksilver.”
Much along the same lines, they felt my take was too similar to the source material – which I frankly think is kind of a crazy bump since the whole point of adapting something is to bring to life what made the original so special. And I’m sure its fans would agree. It’s the reason why so many North American live-action adaptations of anime have failed = not enough respect for the source material.
“Project M: Earlier this month, I pitched my take for the adaptation of THIS game I’d certainly heard of but never played. This one feels like a long shot given but, boy, it would be a helluva fun show. I dub thee…Tarantula.”
StarCraft. Immersed myself in the game and researched hours of recorded game play. Came up with a fun take for a prospective t.v. series – but, alas, it didn’t fly. Too bad. Would’ve been a blast.
“Project N: A potential adaptation of this clever comic book series is still in its early stages as I attempt to hammer out a take we can all agree on. I dub thee…Glassy.”
Crosswind. We have a series overview and now have to discuss next steps.
“Project O: Meanwhile, I’m preparing to pitch my take on this dark, and darkly humorous, horror series sometime next week. I practiced my pitch on Akemi who covered her face and informed me: “I can’t watch you show. Too scary!” If this one goes, it will go fast. I dub thee…Reflektor.”
This one still stings. I was told the show had a “blinking green light”. They were looking for a showrunner. I was asked to pitch the broadcaster – which I did. It was only later that I learned I was one of several showrunners in contention. They elected to go with someone else – which is fine, although it would have been nice to have been made aware of the scenario from the get-go. Still, given everything I’ve heard about the ensuing production, I may have dodged a bullet on that one.
“Project P: Another horror series, this one an original concept (not my own). No humor, but the horror narrative and the small town setting really makes this one an appealing prospect. I dub thee…Deep Ocean.”
To the best of my knowledge, this one is still in play. The prod co. created a sizzle reel to accompany our pitch, so now that I’m free…
“Project Q: Considering going the comic book route with two genre shows too big to be contained on the small screen. The first is character-driven, near-future, Earth-based SF while the second is a rip-roarin’ ship-based far-future adventure series in the vein of Dark Matter. Love the idea of writing an ongoing SF comic book series, unhindered by budget and the whims of programming executives. And I already have a potential artist in mind. I dub thee…the Flash.”
Pitched both to a publisher and they really responded to the second. Very much in the preliminary stages. As for the first idea, I’m thinking of just pitching it as a t.v. series. Will look to secure a Canadian broadcaster first, then take it wide.
To the aforementioned, let’s add –
Project R: TimEscape. Will be having a call about the second draft of the pilot on Tuesday.
Project S: A BIG comic book adaptation. Polishing up this latest revision with my partner on this one, then looking forward to pitching it sometime in August (?).
Project T: This one is different. For me. Partnered up with a Canadian icon on this humorous procedural. We’re finalizing the pitch and then taking it out. In August (?).
In this business, you have to have so many balls in the air with the hope that one – just one – lands…
19 thoughts on “July 8, 2019: Developments on those developments on development!”
Thanks for the updates, Joe! I’m encouraged that Timescape seems to be moving along okay. It sounds like it will be a blast.
So I am not crazy to think that writing more than one thing at a time and have them at various stages is the norm for film and television? I don’t feel so badly now about all the partially written scripts 😎
Keep up the good work Joseph! I’ve always been a huge fan of anything Sci-Fi that you are involved in.
Thank you so much for the update Joe. My confusion is gone and I am looking forward to seeing all the projects that you have in mind.
Hey Joe with production nearly over on utopia falls when should we expect an official announcement with a synopsis and where it’s airing.
Sooner than you think!
Way back in the dim dark past, when the Earth was still flat, I considered getting into the entertainment industry. After reading your post, I’m glad I didn’t. I know I would have bowed out in short order from the frustration. Kudos to you for persevering.
On a side note, this came in my Bookbub recommendations today, and I immediately thought of you:
Looks like some good stuff is coming our way! I am disappointed about Masked, I really enjoyed the short stories.
“PROJECT T: This one is different. For me. Partnered up with a Canadian icon on this humorous procedural.”
Not hailing from or residing in Canada, there are only two television entertainment icons I can think of off the top of my head at the moment. Martin Gero and Ed The Sock. Unfortunately I dont think Ed The Sock can do much in the way of writing without any fingers to hold a pen or type on a keyboard, which means you’d get stuck handling ALL the physical writing labor. Also, the pitch may not go over so well if he cannot resist the urge to repeatedly insult and bruise an industry execs ego during the meeting. So if it is the latter … ya might? just maybe? perhaps? wanna consider asking the former to serve as his stand in for the physical writing part and sales pitches to broadcasters.
Albeit, might be fun do a promo reel for this new procedural with Ed munching on one of Tim Hortons special After Midnight Donuts – “made exclusively, and swept off the floor from behind the oven, to satisfy that dirty sock craving in all of us!”. 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀
Why not both?
Are you sure you don’t want to just open up a restaurant? 🙂
Sounds like you have been burning the candles at both ends there 🙂 Good luck with all of them.
Love these updates.
Look forward to seeing what we (eventually) see.
Thanks for keeping us updated.
I got all excited thinking about the series published in 1960 until a quick google search turned up that Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders series wasn’t published until 1968. GoT proved that the technology exists to do realistic dragons and riding, although I’m guessing the cost is pretty high and the whole series is based on riding said dragons. However, it’s a fantastic series that introduced me to the genre back in middle school. Added marvelousness is the fact that this series made McCaffrey the first woman to win a Hugo and Nebula Award. It’s a perfect opportunity to feature a strong female lead and endless possibilities for plot. The rights are probably a mess but I’d be the first to tune in for it. Melissa O’Neil would be a fantastic Lessa. Just sayin’.
I remember hearing that the series was in development somewhere.
I’m not sure how you keep juggling but I’m grateful! Can’t wait to see which ball lands.
Hot as Hades here. 106F (41C ish) heat index…
Time really flies! It seems to speed up every year. I bet the white coats have a tongue twister Latin name for that!
I think you should totally re-write Pollo Loco with your own content. Absolutely. As far as going with your own original ideas; and I’d imagine you plan on merging that with the essence of the original project, keep it close to the original theme but with that Mallozzi twist. A formula that can’t possibly go south!
Additionally, I’m excited to see your rendition of Horror. I am a long time fan of Horror shows so the prospect of one of my favourite writers working on another favourite genre of mine has got me ecstatic. As much as I love some humour thrown in, I do love a more serious show. Deep Ocean is sounding rather good.
A shame about all those dead shows though. Then again you’d have to grow a few extra sets of appendages to write so many shows at once had they all been approved.
The big deal is certainly Timescape though. I’m really interested to see how this show goes. It’s a subject akin to marmite. You love time travel stories or you hate them. My father being one of those haters. However I like them. Time travel is one of those things which continues to be oversaturate in my opinion so a good original idea is a must. I have very high hopes!
I’m also interested in Summer Sky. Bigger budget doesn’t always mean a good show (Looking at you Discovery) however with you on the team it’s bound to be fantastic. Snake’s Tub also peaks my interest.
Those are my thoughts concluded I guess.
Enjoy the rest of your week anyway.
Man, that Project M! I would love that, Starcraft have such a great setting. I know I wrote that in this blog a few years ago when you asked about different suggestions. Would really have loved to se that!
Holy hell, I love StarCraft. A StarCraft series run by you would have been perfect. I’m so sorry that didn’t work out!