Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border

Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border
photo by Gene Tunick of Eureka, Montana

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tip O'Day #455 - The Scary Part about Horror Films

Guest blogger Michael Laimo on how to land a movie deal.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been involved in getting two of my novels filmed as NBC/Chiller original films. The number one question I am being asked right now is, “How did you do it?”

In a nutshell, I pretty much tell everyone, “I got lucky.” There’s a lot of truth to that. To be honest, I also like to think that I told the right story, and hooked up with the right producer at the right time. Yes, there was a bit of luck, but there were many other factors involved in this success.

It all started with an email from Synthetic Cinema’s executive producer, Andrew Gernhard. It was a basic ‘hello’ letter asking me if my novel Deep in the Darkness was available for option. At the time, it had been optioned three times, and was in the middle of a one-year agreement with independent filmmaker Jeven Dovey. Some of you know that Mr. Dovey had filmed my short story 1-800-Suicide, and was looking to film a feature. He loved Deep in the Darkness, and gave it a stab. Since I could not give Mr. Gernhard the rights to that, I asked if he’d be interested in either The Demonologist, or Dead Souls. I’d also asked him how he came across my work, and he told me someone in his crew recommended me. (Thank you Jason!). Andrew optioned three of my books, and pitched them to Chiller, who at the time was just getting into original films.

Then I waited. And waited. Almost a year passed before I heard back. Chiller decided to go with Steve Niles’ Remains. I had been the runner up with Dead Souls. It was a great honor to have been in the running, but I was equally disappointed.

But…Chiller still liked the story in Dead Souls and the option was renewed. A year later, I discovered (months after Chiller gave Dead Souls the green light), that it would become a Chiller original film. As a matter of fact, mere weeks after being told the good news, I was on set filming my cameo. In the meantime, the option lapsed on Deep in the Darkness, and I went to Synthetic Cinema to see if there was still interest. Apparently there was, because while on the Dead Souls set, I was told that DITD was in the running. That was a GREAT week!

Fast forward to the night of the Dead Souls premiere — I had about 30 close friends and family at my home, all geared up to watch the movie. A text came in from Andrew Gernhard telling me that DITD had been green lit. Another spectacular night! So now, it’s a year after the filming of DITD, and I await all the post-production goodies, like the film’s poster, the trailer, etc. It will be a fun ride leading up to DITD’s premiere in May 2014, this time in theaters.

Many of you have asked…will there be more? The answer to that is MAYBE. There are some irons in the fire, but nothing set in stone yet. In the meantime, pick up a copy of Dead Souls on DVD, or read Deep in the Darkness while you wait for the film’s release.

As a reviewer of one of Michael Laimo's books put it, his writing is not the place to find rainbows and unicorns. Learn more about this horror author at www.laimo.com.

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