Magazine writers who haven’t had your articles optioned, blame your editors: They’re trying too hard to come up with clever headlines.
Just ask Texas Monthly writer Skip Hollandsworth, who last week saw his article — about a group of women in a Texas prison in the 1930s who form a country band in a bid to win parole — sell to Dimension Films. Bob Weinstein, who bought the option, had some help seeing the cinematic potential in the piece from the not-so-original title of the piece: “O Sister Where Art Thou?”
While the title may have been a latenight, last-resort effort by a tired Texas Monthly editor, an allusion to a movie title seems to help stir Hollywood interest, pitching a concept in 10 words or less.
Take Sean Flynn‘s “The Perfect Fire,” which started life as an Esquire story shortly before pic “The Perfect Storm” unspooled, and now is being developed by Warners and Imagine.
Scott Rudin is developing “Driving Mr. Albert,” originally a Harper’s story by Michael Paterniti, which is a hardly subtle play on the Morgan Freeman–Jessica Tandy pic “Driving Miss Daisy.” Rudin also bought rights to “The Man With Two Heads,” a Granta story by Elena Lappin whose title was borrowed from the Steve Martin laffer.
And then there’s Vanessa Grigoriadis‘ story in New York magazine about publicists running amok. Original Content, based at Columbia, optioned the story in 1998. The headline? “Welcome to the Dollhouse.” Proving that tired cliches are a language that both mag editors and Hollywood execs can understand.