The स्ट्राइक...

Here's an email I got from Collingwood (the producer who bought my script, Cole):

"Things are trucking along but it's a little scary out there with the writers strike. I just came back from L.A. and we have some good leads with 'Cole'. I'm hoping someone will nab cause with the strike it's going to be hard to renew it for another year. The film/tv industry in Vancouver and L.A. has come to a slamming halt which means Kimani and I are now shuffling cause of course that's where we make our money."

Cole is up for renewal at the end of December. I guess the writers' strike even affects us in Seattle, eh? Hopefully, things will work out for the best.


Maia and Jonah go to Canada

Been awhile since I posted--working a 9-5 and trying to write in my spare time is wearing me down... but good news! Mike, very talented director of my short film "Sleepless," wants to work with me to get a Canadian grant for my feature script Maia and Jonah--a love story about a disappearing boy and an exploding girl.

This means a couple of things: 1. A rewrite is needed to clarify some confusing plot points and 2.) a rewrite is needed to change the settings all to Canada.

The two major settings are Michigan and Haiti--Michigan is easy, but Haiti? There aren't many tropical beaches in Canada, not to mention Haitians.

Mike and I are passing thoughts back and forth. The rewrite needs to be done by December to get the grant--everything will be all right... I hope.


Now a Professional Writer...

Holy moley, a lot of things have happened over the past couple of weeks. From my experience, the best way to handle this sort of situation is to create a bulleted list. So here goes:

1. "Sleepless," the ten minute short film I wrote got accepted into the Edmonton International Film Festival. Congratulations are due to director/prodigy Mike McLaughlin for making it happen.

2. My big sister got married! I spent a week in Michigan and was even an usher in the wedding. I did a little bit of ushering and a lot of wedding cake eating. This is big sister and husband:

3. I moved into a new place with my girlfriend. We can see the Space Needle from our window.

This is her:

Yes, I do live in a cartoon world.

4. I optioned Northbridge to Collingwood. Which means I am now considered a professional screenwriter (due to monetary funds agreed upon and furnished in contracts). So Title Card Pictures is taking Cole and Northbridge to the Toronto International Film Festival for script meetings.

Again, Neil Every helped me immensely with this script and he helped make it what it is. Unfortunately, we couldn't find a buyer on our own for it. I owe Neil for everything he's done to get the script to this point and hopefully Title Card will make it into the picture it deserves to be.

5. Time for bed.


Northbridge Update...

So Infinity finally read Northbridge thanks to Neil's efforts. Unfortunately, they passed. They liked the premise, they liked the characters, they liked the dialogue, they liked everything and had nothing bad to say at all... and they passed. So there you go, no one wants to say anything bad about anybody--even in Canada.

So right now I'm exploring other options for the script. I'm tired of waiting and there are people who want it. So I sent the most current draft to them today and should be getting an offer in by Monday--they want to take it to the Toronto IFF and find some backers there. "They"--of course--need to remain confidential until we have a contract signed.


Slow Going...

Beaumont, my college roommate, recently asked me why I hadn't posted a blog in a while. Quite simply, not much has happened in a while. Looks like Cole is going to be pushed back to next May when it stops snowing in Alberta. This means the producers will most likely pick up the option to renew in January (the original contract was for one year with an option to renew for another). I'm confident in the renewal, not only because they've already invested some thousands in the development of the script, but also because they are nice people and genuinely seem to want to get this movie made.

Infinity (the producers of Capote) promised to read Northbridge but Neil and I have yet to hear back from them. It's all about the waiting, really. Waiting, waiting, waiting...

But if you want some really interesting blog insights on the Chicago Bulls, definitely visit Beaumont's site at http://312chill.wordpress.com All of your questions about Thebo Sefolosha will be answered.


A New Screenplay and Robert Benton...

The polish for Cole went well. By well, I guess I mean I haven't heard any unkind words from the producers. Every time I turn in a new draft, I expect them to say, "What the hell, kid? You're sure you're a writer?" Nope, not sure at all.

I finished a new screenplay and have sent it out to my Canadian friends for a story edit--thanks Peter and Elaine!--it's 98 pages and that's about all I feel comfortable with mentioning at the moment.

I also got a chance to see Robert Benton speak at the Seattle International Film Festival. The man's got a lot of depth to him. It was in a theater with about 50 other people and I got to sit 20 feet away from him and was pretty much transfixed the whole time (not in a creepy Kathy Bates in Misery way either). He showed us some clips from his upcoming movie Feast of Love and explained how combining Charles Baxter (the author and a character in the novel) and Saul, a Jewish professor, into Morgan Freeman's character was the best move he'd ever made Interesting stuff.


A polish...

After hoping to have a relaxing long weekend, I got an email this afternoon that I needed to have a "polish" on Cole done by Tuesday. I was planning on going to see Werner Herzog's new film at the Seattle International Film Festival, but I'm not complaining. This urgency means something good is about to happen, and maybe gives us a chance to start shooting by the end of the summer.

Here are my instructions for the polish:

1. We've reworked the dinner scene and need you to add some dialogue ending it with
the great VO about his family but now said out loud.
2. We want to amp the frogger/kenny scene after the **** a la good will hunting.
Frogger helps him start to realize he can leave.
3. We've done a lot of rearranging at the end and we've pulled all the voice over to
the bottom. Can you tighten everything up and alter the vo to fit the new order
and/or reinsert the stuff at the bottom. Basically a cleaning is needed.

And that's it. Back to work...


Miranda July...

I went to Miranda July's book reading/dance party at Neumo's in Seattle on Thursday. July wrote, directed, and starred in one of my favorite movies, Me and You and Everyone We Know. She seemed incrediably nervous the whole time. She read a hilarious story from her new book of short stories but her voice was shaky, almost unsure.

I bought a book and had her sign it. She had this overwhelmed look in her eyes, like she'd rather be anywhere but there... like maybe Idaho or Scotland. I couldn't figure out why and it seemed a little strange at the time.

After reading half of the book, I think I understand why she was so overwhelmed... she absolutely bares her entire being in these stories. It's like the stories are naked, and not only are they naked, but you can look at the nakedness with triple magnification. Now everyone that reads these stories can see her insides and maybe that's why she looked so uneasy at the reading--because she was anticipating the inevitable fact that everyone would soon know these things about her.

Anyway, the book is great. It's called No one belongs here more than you. Check it out sometime.



I just saw a rough cut of "Sleepless"--a short film I wrote while at VFS. It's a romantic comedy about a guy who believes that when he falls in love, he will finally be able to fall asleep. My buddy Mike liked the script, took with him to the frozen tundra of Edmonton and filmed it in February.

I'm pretty happy with the way things turned out. Mike definitely put a lot of time and effort into it, and it's his vision the whole way. The kid is a talented filmmaker--even though he doesn't know how to make fish tacos.

I'll post when a final cut gets uploaded to You Tube.


Sorry for the delay...

I'm still here! Been super busy in the past month with a new rewrite. With this new found prospective on things and after enjoying a beautiful 75 degree Seattle day, I have decided to abandon past journal posts and just focus on the here and now. Which leads us to... now.

I turned in my second official rewrite for Cole last Saturday. I even got paid! I ate some wild boar with the producers and played poker until 5am. I sat next to a lady who was a casting agent/model. The most brilliant thing I said all night was, "So... modeling... is it good?" And then I folded.

They're optimistic about getting this thing off the ground by the end of the summer. They're trying to attach Jeff Daniels to it now--the script is set in a small town in Michigan, Jeff Daniels is from a small town in Michigan... etc.

So yeah, the script has legs. Skinny legs, but legs all the same. The budget is small, but so are the settings, and it should look like a decent little indie flick when it's all said and done.

Questions? Concerns? Feel free to ask and I will reply to the best of my ability. Thank you all and have a pleasant tomorrow.


Signing the contract...

From December 19th, 2006:

The lawyer looked at the contract. Everything checked out, except for a couple of small details.

(At this point I detailed some points in the contract I wanted changed, Dylan countered with an offer, and I accepted. Can't include the exact e-mail exchange here because I don't want to get in a legal mess... that and I don't want people to know how much I was hosed. Just kidding... maybe).

I’m moving out to Seattle after New Year’s to be closer to Vancouver and get out of Michigan. Lamont found a place that has a swimming pool and a hot tub and a pool table. Yee-haw. I can’t seem to finish Northbridge. Stuck on the ending. I’m frustrated. It’ll come… It’ll come…

December 26th, 2006

Merry Christmas! I signed the new option contract and the check is in the mail.

I bought a used car, a 94 Escort Wagon. I call her the “White Shadow.” She should be able to get me out to Seattle. I’m staying with friends in Chicago and Minneapolis on my way out. Don’t know anyone in Montana or Wyoming so I might have to drive that one straight through.

Time to finish Northbridge. I’m inspired. More later.


On the Greyhound from Cincinnati to Detroit...

Before I head out for the night, here's an entry from a bus:

December 9th, 2006

Got the option contract from Collingwood. It looks okay except for this whole “GRANT OF RIGHTS” section. It basically gives them complete and ultimate control of every single character, medium, and brain imagination somewhat related to This is What We Call Home. This stipulation includes radio plays, commercials, sequels, and toothpaste endorsements. I’m having a lawyer look at the contract and plan on telling Collingwood to cut out the “GRANT OF RIGHTS” section.

I turn 24 tomorrow. The big two dozen. Not sure how I feel about that. I’m not bald or grey. I’m in relatively good shape. I’m close to becoming a professional writer. I’m going to take a nap and think about where the next month is going to take me.

Neil met Peter Krause in Whistler and he’s interested in reading Northbridge. I’ll have to check out some episodes of Six Feet Under. I think Northbridge is going to be pretty kick ass once I get done with this next draft. I would love to get Jeff Daniels in on it. I think I’ll send his agent a query letter and see if he’ll read it.

Everyone should listen to Jackson Browne and Tribalistas. At the same time.


A trailer...

Here's a trailer for "Sleepless," a short film I wrote. It's directed by Mike McLaughlin. He's from Edmonton, found funding and filmed it all there. The full short should be available in a couple of weeks. I'll post it when it comes out.

Here's a journal entry from December:

December 3rd, 2006

Collingwood says the contract is being sent tomorrow. At least I’ll get something in the bank and I can move back out west. I need a piece of shit car and a place to live. I’ll probably end up working for a non-profit in Seattle—Greenpeace or Washington Citizen Action—more hippies! Maybe I can get work doing script coverage for somebody in Vancouver. It’s tough being an American working in the Canadian film industry.

I’ve been procrastinating on “The Untitled Project About a Brother and Sister.” I’ve written a treatment for the first act and can’t get myself together to move on. I’ve been watching episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and dodging cats instead.


My awesome negotiating skills...

Here's a great example of my fantastic negotiating skills. I found out later how pointless it was to ask for Wirter's Guild of Canada Scale on future rewrites. You'll see why in future posts. So yeah, like the previous two posts, this takes place back in November. I'll continue to post past journal entries until we get caught up to the present.


Here’s the latest e-mail exchange with Collingwood beginning with yesterday morning and ending today:

Hey Adam,

Had a meeting tonight about "This is What We Call Home" and we're still interested in moving forward. Unfortunately we have to stick with our initial offer. It's definitely a good deal for a first time script option. In good faith I can assure you we would like to have a long term relationship with you that spans over several features.

If we are going to do this I'd love to move forward with it immediately. There's a lot of prep we can get done on it before the New Year. Ideally we would start shooting as soon as June.

Let me know your thoughts.



UP.SO.: If thing with "Northbridge" don't work out please let me know as we love that one too!!


Hi Dylan,

Today is Thanksgiving so I'm a little busy with turkey, relatives and mashed potatoes. I'll get back to you tomorrow for sure.




No worries.
Happy Thanksgiving!!



Okay, Dylan. Let's get this done. I just have two requests for the option contract:

1. That you give me the opportunity to do a dvd commentary.

2. That for any additional rewrites and scene rewrites beyond the one rewrite agreed to in the contract, I get paid WGC scale.

That's it. I look forward to hearing back from you. My phone is in working order now so feel free to give me a call. E-mails work too.



Excellent!!! We're very excited to be on board.

Your two requests are not a problem. Give me a few days to have my lawyer draw something up and we'll chat next week.

Have a great weekend and let's make a movie!!!


So that’s how it works, eh? So now I’m sitting back and relaxing. watching the Pistons game. In other news, Neil sent me 23 pages of notes on Northbridge. Good Jesus. I’m actually looking forward to the rewrite on that one though.

I’ve been re-reading Bukowski recently. Just finished Ham on Rye and want to finish Post Office before I leave for the Nati. I think it will help me with Northbridge. Northbridge is all about hiding, covering up who you really are. Bukowski never hides from who he is, and that’s what I have to have the characters become in the climax. Tracy has to become Chinaski…


On the name...

The reason why I chose "Adventures in Screenwriting" for this blog is simple: I think my dad rented Adventures in Babysitting about 27 times from the local video store when I was kid. He still gets a kick out of the Babysittin' Blues scene. Needless to say, this was the movie I was raised on.

Back to the past:


Today is Thanksgiving. My stomach is full of tryptophan, cheap wine and pumpkin pie.

I talked with Collingwood last Friday on my drive down to Chicago. He mentioned a couple of directors he had in mind. A Brit and a Canadian. I can’t remember their names, but he’s picturing an art house flick. As far as lead actors to play Kenny, a couple of Canadians were mentioned and so was Chad Michael Murray. Yowza. It’s hard for me to picture anyone playing Kenny now. I think I would like it to be an unknown actor surrounded by strong supporting actors. I would love Brian Cox to play Walter, but I’m not sure how realistic that would be. At any rate, Collingwood said the film could be made for anywhere between two million and eight million depending on the actors and the financial backers. I said I’d appreciate it if my purchase fee could slide with the budget—the higher the budget, the higher the purchase price. He finally e-mailed me back today saying that he’d have to stick with the initial option offer. I’m going to send him an e-mail tomorrow asking for some extras—dvd commentary, fair wages on any scene rewrites beyond the one rewrite in the option offer, maybe some Snapple and Krispy Kremes. Hey, throw everything against the wall and see what sticks right?

I go to Cincinnati on Sunday for three weeks for work. I hear they have good chili.


Like a pair of new socks...

I’m starting this blog from my rented room in Seattle, WA, overlooking Ravenna Park in Seattle’s U-District. Who am I and why am I writing this blog? I am Adam Zang (no, I’m not Asian, although that question does come up once or twice a week) and I am a screenwriter. Actually, a freshman screenwriter whose decided to chronicle the ups and downs of optioning his first script to a Canadian production company.

After graduating Carleton College in the June of 2005, I enrolled in the Vancouver Film School’s Writing for TV & Film program. After spending a year in Vancouver, in August 2006 I went back home to Michigan burnt out and broke. I had written about a thousand script pages while at VFS, and while I had grown as a writer, I felt frustrated with my situation, namely because I was living jobless in my dad’s house and in student loan debt hell.

And then came an e-mail from Dylan Thomas Collingwood of Collingwood Management.

Dylan had read a script I wrote at film school called Northbridge, a murder mystery set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Dylan repped Neil Every, one of my instructors at VFS, and Neil had given him the script because Neil was looking for a film to direct and he liked my script (notice the past tense “repped”—Neil and Dylan have since parted ways).

In his e-mail, Dylan said he was impressed by my writing and requested more writing samples. I sent him off This is What We Call Home, a low-budget coming of age drama, the first feature script I wrote at film school. Three days later, Dylan asked me if I would option him both scripts. He wanted Northbridge more than This is What We Call HomeNorthbridge is easily the stronger of the two—but I couldn’t give up the rights to Northbridge because I had told Neil I wanted to work with him on it. Neil had helped me immensely in the early drafts and I felt (and still feel) that I owed him the chance to direct. Dylan didn’t think he could find funding if Neil was attached as a first-time director. And so we began negotiations on This is What We Call Home.

I started a pseudo-journal after I agreed to Dylan’s offer. I will post these entries until we’re caught up to present day. At the time of the first entry, I was working a non-profit job in Ann Arbor, living in a spare room at my dad’s house, and battling through my first full winter in Michigan in five years.

I will keep this blog as closely related to the screenwriting business side of things as I can. Occasionally, personal issues will surface—it is only human that they do—but I pledge not include anything that I would not like to read if I were not writing a blog. I hope that makes sense. I cannot include specific dollar amounts (due to contractual agreements) and will include updates on the state of the Detroit Tigers baseball club—the future 2007 World Series Champions.

On to November 13th, 2006:

I decided that I’m going to option This is What We Call Home to Collingwood. His offer is low. I’m hoping to negotiate a slightly better deal, but I really have no idea what the fuck I’m doing. I have no agent and no experience. I’ll probably end up blowing it and getting less than what he originally offered. I at least want to get on the dvd commentary and explain all the deep symbolism and metaphor in the script. Riight. I would love to get this movie made and be paid to write for a living. That’s the ice cream dream, man.