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Old 04-15-2014, 09:32 PM   #1
Bob Smargiassi
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Default My concept sold today

I worked on it for a year. The story of a dumb yet earnest border guard who is deported to Mexico and has to try and sneak back into the US. I finished the script last week and sent it to my manager for a read. My plan was to target Gary Sanchez. I could see everything unfolding. The day we went out with it. The back and forth phone calls. The resulting bidding war. Dollar bills falling from the sky...

And then this happened: http://www.deadline.com/2014/04/will...border-guards/

Same concept. Exactly.

I'm sick to my stomach. I can't move. One year. Gone.

I don't know why I'm writing this. Maybe someone out there has had a similar heartbreak and can make me feel better. I keep asking myself "why didn't you finish it sooner? why did it take you a whole f--king year?"

Anyone out there have this happen? Or am I to wallow in self-pity alone.
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Old 04-15-2014, 10:01 PM   #2
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Default Re: My concept sold today

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Originally Posted by Strangerthanfiction View Post
I sympathize, I truly do... I wrote a story some years back, in the form of a novel. I sent it out to quite a few publishers, but it didn't get picked up, so I concentrated on an acting career, but kept writing in the background. 18 months ago, I decided to resurrect said story, and adapt it into a screenplay. Put my heart and soul into it, finished it, then found out that something of a very similar nature was already in development (now in production), similar down to the bone, including almost identical characters ect. I wrote one of the roles when adapting for a specific actress, and sent her agent the script, no idea if the agent ever passed it on or not (her assistant said they would)... Anyway, noticed some stark similarities in the other story, and did some digging, one of the writers just happens to be best friends with said actress... Anyway, it sucks it truly does, and I feel your pain. I spent several days lying in bed in the depths of depression, feeling so sick to my stomach that I couldn't eat, or sleep... At the end of the day you have to find a way to let go, cos all you can do is pick yourself up and move onto the next screenplay.

Thanks for sharing Stranger. Misery loves company and tonight we're buds.
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Old 04-15-2014, 10:12 PM   #3
madworld
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Default Re: My concept sold today

Bob here's my thoughts. Change the lead to a woman - starring anyone of the talented women from Bridesmaids - make her something other than a border guard but keep the urgency of getting back home and change the location to any other country than Mexico. Only when she finally gets the opportunity to come home, she decides to stay because she falls in love with someone there. Something like that.

My wife one time was doing a job in Thailand and got deported to Namibia! And she was stuck there for two weeks. True story.

Good luck buddy. I feel your pain. Keep pressing.
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Old 04-15-2014, 10:19 PM   #4
Bob Smargiassi
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Default Re: My concept sold today

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Originally Posted by madworld View Post
Bob here's my thoughts. Change the lead to a woman - starring anyone of the talented women from Bridesmaids - make her something other than a border guard but keep the urgency of getting back home and change the location to any other country than Mexico. Only when she finally gets the opportunity to come home, she decides to stay because she falls in love with someone there. Something like that.

My wife one time was doing a job in Thailand and got deported to Namibia! And she was stuck there for two weeks. True story.

Good luck buddy. I feel your pain. Keep pressing.
Thanks for the pep talk Mad.

Changing the protag or setting is always an option. Unfortunately, the arc is very male-centric and every set-piece and gag relies on the Mexico/US relationship (drug cartels, etc). It wouldn't be a plug and play. It would be a page 1 rewrite. And honestly, i just don't know how passionate I would be working outside the themes that come with the US/Mexico dynamic.
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Old 04-15-2014, 10:22 PM   #5
Bob Smargiassi
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Default Re: My concept sold today

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Originally Posted by Strangerthanfiction View Post
Also just to add that I did a massive re-write of said screenplay, and made some drastic alterations to the story, which has made it significantly different, and also significantly better, so that's an option also... Anyway big hug, you will feel better soon. I'm bashing out my next screenplay, and so should you.
I'm working on scenes for a new script now. It's the only thing that makes me feel better. Upward and onward, as they say.
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Old 04-15-2014, 11:13 PM   #6
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Default Re: My concept sold today

This has happened to me a number of times. And I'm talking EXACT same concept. It even got to the point where I thought I had a special power -- whatever script I finished, the same concept would be sold and fastracked to production by another writer within weeks. So I started a thread asking people what they wanted to see up on the big or small screen and I would start working on the script.

It's surprisingly common and I feel for you, my friend. All you can do is move on...
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Old 04-15-2014, 11:25 PM   #7
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Default Re: My concept sold today

Same here. I once saw the trailer of a film I knew nothing about which not only had pretty much the same story as the one I had just finished writing, but one of the scenes was word for word the same!

I felt like I'd written a Hollywood movie, only without being paid.
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Old 04-16-2014, 12:32 AM   #8
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Default Re: My concept sold today

While it may not help right now, take heart that your instincts for what would make a good movie appear to be spot-on!

Keep writing that next one.
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Old 04-16-2014, 08:53 AM   #9
EJ Pennypacker
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Default Re: My concept sold today

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Smargiassi View Post
I worked on it for a year. The story of a dumb yet earnest border guard who is deported to Mexico and has to try and sneak back into the US. I finished the script last week and sent it to my manager for a read. My plan was to target Gary Sanchez. I could see everything unfolding. The day we went out with it. The back and forth phone calls. The resulting bidding war. Dollar bills falling from the sky...

And then this happened: http://www.deadline.com/2014/04/will...border-guards/

Same concept. Exactly.

I'm sick to my stomach. I can't move. One year. Gone.

I don't know why I'm writing this. Maybe someone out there has had a similar heartbreak and can make me feel better. I keep asking myself "why didn't you finish it sooner? why did it take you a whole f--king year?"

Anyone out there have this happen? Or am I to wallow in self-pity alone.
I would proceed as normal/like it didn't happen. Let your reps worry about whether it's worth worrying about.

EJ
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Old 04-16-2014, 10:18 AM   #10
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Default Re: My concept sold today

It's happened to me twice. I tried to take comfort from the idea that at least I had commercially viable concepts but... The time spent is a bitch.
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