AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 GIRLS – THE MOVIE?
Here’s an update from the world’s most irregular blogger. I had some trouble with a website plugin which prevented me from logging in so it’s really been a while.
I receive a lot of emails from people asking me what I’ve been up since I went home after my round the world trip. Well, after writing and publishing my book AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 GIRLS – THE EPIC THREE YEAR TRIP OF A BACKPACKING CASANOVA, I felt it was time to try to fulfill my lifelong dream of being in the movie biz. I decided to write a screenplay. All I needed was a great story. Well, that I have.
Around November last year I started reading books about screenwriting and in December I put my first words to the paper. I finished the first draft on the 21th of February 2013. The last day of writing I banged out fifteen pages in a coffee fueled writing frenzy while suppressing the urge to beat up my noisy upstairs neighbor. Although I finally figured out the screenplay formatting rules, it still wasn’t much to look at, and any experienced screenwriter would cringe reading it but at least the first draft was ready. To be honest, any English reader would probably cringe since English is not my native language. Now the dreaded re-writing began, and a month later I finished a better second draft. It was time to take the next step. I booked tickets to New York and Los Angeles/Hollywood. The next three months I kept rewriting and fine-tuning the screenplay.
In the last days before I left I sublet my ultra small studio in my hometown back in Holland, said goodbye to my family and friends, kissed a sweet girl goodbye and flew to New York. Only problem was that the script still wasn’t finished. It needed a hell of a lot more rewriting.
Before arriving in New York I had an eleven hour layover in Iceland. The airport was nearly abandoned and I used the sleepless night to write some more. I kept going in the hostel where I stayed in Brooklyn. Besides meeting up with a nice Latin girl who I met the last time I was in New York and picking up an old bad habit of mine, smoking, that was almost the only thing I did there. I wrote on the bus to Washington where I met up and went out on U Street with some friends.
I wrote on the bus to Philadelphia where I visited the Rocky statue and did the famous “Rocky runs up the stairs” routine. Sylvester Stallone was my child hood hero back in the days when kids kept a scrapbook with newspaper clippings. He still is actually. Would love to meet him one day. His own personal story is highly motivating and inspirational. The fact that he made his acting breakthrough with his own Rocky screenplay and the way how (which is a very inspiring story) made it almost a spiritual journey for me and I’m not embarrassed to say that a tear rolled down my cheek just for being at that place. Unlike what most people seem to think I’m quite an emotional person.
From there I flew on to Los Angeles through St Louis. The plane left too late from New York because of the weather and I was stuck in St Louis for another night in the airport. It was the second full night in an airport in ten days and I was pissed off about it. After a lot of verbal clashing with the employees of American Airlines (you suck AA) about getting a free hotel room for the night instead of paying 65 dollar, I used that build up anger for another re-writing frenzy and at the end of the night the fourth draft was done. At least I would arrive in Los Angeles with a finished screenplay. Or so I thought.
In Los Angeles I checked into the Banana Bungalow hostel at Hollywood Boulevard and took a few days off to party and to visit a couple of places around town. A few days turned into a full week. The free beer at the hostel wasn’t helping. It was time to get back to action and I hired three online professional screenplay readers to go over my script. Draining my small budget of 320 dollar. In short, they really liked the concept but the writing was under par and I needed to change the beginning of the story. No need to say I had to write a final fifth draft.
I was not happy with this of course since I had already lost so much time but did it anyway. I put in the hours and the result was actually a lot better. In the meanwhile I had changed hostels and was known as the guy who lay in his bed all day typing on his laptop. It was time to try to sell the damn thing. This is where hard part starts. Or at least so I thought.
It turned out to be a lot easier to break into Hollywood as a totally unknown writer then predicted by all the books and screenwriting websites I had read over the past nine months. With over two hundred thousand screenwriters present in Los Angeles and no connections whatsoever, it seemed like a mission impossible. The next part is probably going to piss off a lot of struggling screenwriters who email, call and pitch their asses off.
On the 1st of August I started emailing production companies and management agencies. After two days I got my first screenplay request from a well known A-list company from one of their big shot presidents herself. I jumped in the air of happiness. In the next days I got fourteen more requests and one reasonable offer. On day twelve I received an email that made my day. The second serious offer. Three days of (brutal) negotiating later, I signed a very lucrative option contract for the screenplay, the book rights and my life story rights.
For those not familiar with options contracts, it means that the production company has the single right to buy my screenplay, book rights and life story rights for a limited amount of time. Once the production company finds the investors (it’s a high budget movie) and the movie is greenlit, the production starts. I will not share any details on the financial part of the contract but what I can say is that IF the movie is produced i’m in it too.
This movie has the potential to become a truly iconic movie about backpacking and romance.
The announcement was made in Variety. Hollywood’s leading movie entertainment magazine.
No need to say that I’m very proud of myself. Just four years ago I was wasting my time in a dull office and since then I have traveled around the world for three years through 42 countries, grew incredibly as a person, picked up a lot of lovely ladies, had many good (and bad) adventures, published a well selling book and have an A-list company interested in making a movie about my life. Not bad for a guy with only a minor high school diploma. I tell you, I’m looking forward to the next five years.
Where am I right now? In the next few weeks I will do a short trip through California, Nevada and Colorado. I will visit Santa Barbara tomorrow, and then head out to San Francisco, Yosemite Park, Death Valley, Las Vegas and of course the majestic Grand Canyon before returning to Holland for a while.
Hey, wait a minute Skywalker. No girls in this post?
Well alright, I won’t go into the Holland part this time but despite spending 95% of my time in Los Angeles working on my screenplay mission, I managed to capture one new flag there: Lithuania.
Any more screenplays planned? – I have another idea loosely based on my time in Holland after I came back from my trip which I will explore once I’m back there.
Until next time….
©Around the world in 80 girls