Like many sequels in film, “The Option – Part Two” could well prove to be a poor imitation of the original. To combat this problem I will be throwing in a few star names to hide any deficiencies in the story.
Now, where were we? Ah, yes. I had just received an email from the wonderful Ros, who had invited me down to London. A quick train ride later and I was in the big smoke, albeit about 3 hours too early. After wandering around London in the freezing cold for far too long I took a deep, icy breath and headed in to a very swanky building and up to the top floor for a chat and a drink with Ros. To say I was nervous is an understatement (You’ll note that I used that line in the original post) and spoke at about 120 mph for the whole conversation. Couple that with my northern(ish) accent and I could tell Ros was struggling to understand a single word I said. Hell, I was struggling to understand a single word I said. Don’t worry, I thought; a quick pint will improve things.
Now those of you who know me well know one thing about me regarding alcohol: I cannot, under any circumstances, take my ale. Or cider. Or spirits. Malibu and pineapple is my drink of choice because it’s only about 20% strength. That and the fact that it’s BLOODY DELICIOUS!
So about half way down my pint (It might have been my second but I was too drunk to remember) my words were slowing down nicely, but starting to slur. Time to pace yer sen, Hutch, I said to myself (thankfully not out loud). I carefully placed the pint glass on the very edge of the table in such a way that the second I let go the glass would topple. And that is exactly what it did, all down my jeans, in that particular place that makes it look like I was caught a little short.
At this point I would like to tell you that I was a very swanky dresser and the jeans in question were at least of the dark variety. I would like to tell you that, but it’s a down right lie. Light blue jeans, now with a very dark wet patch smack bang in the middle of ‘em.
Thankfully Ros saw the funny side and the rest of the meeting went well. We agreed that I would come back down to London and meet with both Ros and Noel Clarke to talk about the option and the script itself.
On the second journey down it was close to Christmas and after taking in some Christmas shopping I travelled to Soho in search of the meeting place. For the life of me I could not find it. I walked up and down the same damn street over and over again but to no avail. And then she appeared.
At first I didn’t think much of it. A blonde woman, wearing a gorgeous winter jacket was walking towards me on the other side of the road. As she got closer I got a pang of recognition. For a second I couldn’t place her and then…
Holy fucking shit! It’s only Sienna Miller!
It is no word of a lie to say that she was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. And just to makes things even better, she smiled at me, asked for my phone number and… No. Wait. That wasn’t how it happened – Ah, yeah, that’s right – She paid me zero attention (why would she?) as she strolled past. I watched her enter a very discreet doorway opposite me – The very bloody door I had been looking for all this time! I was in.
Let me say this right now – Noel Clarke is a top, top bloke. The meetings I had with him were always fantastic and the amount of help and advice he gave was excellent. He even bought me dinner once.
After signing the option (Remember? That’s the whole point of this post!), we spent a couple of face to face meetings going through the script with a fine tooth comb – I remember Noel giving me this simple bit of advice: “Elevate the scene” – And I still try to do that with every scene/chapter every time I write.
To add to the excitement, Noel managed to get me set up with an agent at one of Europe’s biggest talent agencies.
I was, without doubt, treated brilliantly. After coming back to London to sign with the agent I then spent an afternoon on the set of Noel’s latest movie (Storage 24) where I briefly met Jamie Thomas King (The Tudors) and almost got to meet Laura Haddock (who was in the movie, just wasn’t on set).
A meeting with a Hollywood director followed – And this guy had worked with people like Matt Smith, Ewan McGregor and Michael Keaton, to name but three. It was a good meeting and he also passed the very kind comment that he thought I was a professional writer who had been doing it for years.
I was on my way. No looking back.
And then… it all went quiet. The option (renewed once) finally lapsed. The agent stopped replying to my emails. No news from anyone involved with the script. It does make me wonder – Did I do or say something wrong?
I know in the film industry that this kind of stuff happens every day to far better writers than me, and it was almost certainly just “one of those things”, but looking back there was plenty more I should or could have done:
I could have asked Noel if he had any other work for me – To cast my eye over another script for example, or work with him on new ideas. Perhaps more importantly, I should have written a better follow up script to send to my agent, but “The Beacon” failed to excite. And more than anything, I should not have taken my foot off the gas just because I thought I had made it. Complacency set in, Damn it.
Maybe I just should have wanted it more.
The morale of the story? I dunno. Keep going? Keep working on stuff even if you think you’ve struck gold? Never ever stop, no matter what? Sienna Miller is gorgeous?
I know which lesson I’ll be taking from it.
A Meat Bag with a Pen would like to thank the following celebrity names for appearing in this blog: Noel Clarke, Sienna Miller, Jamie Thomas King, Laura Haddock, Matt Smith, Ewan McGregor and Michael Keaton.