I want to write and tell stories.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

An Opportunity has Raced Up - sort of.

My daughter has been playing regularly with this other girl from school, they have been over each others place several times, and the two mothers have gotten to know each other, and they get along well. My wife invited them over for a Barbie a couple of weeks ago, and I met the husband.

We did all the normal male meeting ritual things, including sacrificing a goat over open flames, etc. Well we are chatting and it turns out he works in the local horse racing industry at present( I wont say how for reasons which will become obvious, and no, I have not had any good tips as yet…damnit!) anyway, we started discussing an infamous ringin(swapping of horses) incident from the eighties here in Brisbane horse racing. Search
www.google.com.au for Fine Cotton Affair, and you will find out more about it if you want.

Anyway, he then mentions that during his course of work he came across a box of evidence from the court actions following the ringin. Tapes, records, etc etc. They were going to throw it out, luckily, it was ahem, saved from destruction by this bloke, and he mentioned to me how it would make a good film(which it could) and he would love to find someone to write a screenplay.

Cough cough, yes that was me choking on my beer.

You see, this guy is a worker like me, so he cannot afford to hire someone to write it.

I am, as you know aspiring, and would love a chance like this, as it is the type of story in Oz that could possibly get made, and if so, I might get a writing credit, etc. which may ( and yes, it is a big may) help me in my aspirations over the other side of that pond known as the Pacific Ocean.

As horse racing is not really my cup of tea, I thought I better check out the story more before suggesting he and I get together and try and make this happen, just in case I could not see any sort of story at all. So read up on it, as most of the story to me, is the court action afterwards, as you can use this without worrying about litigation(well it isn’t as dangerous as outside the courtroom).

Here is the scenario, some of the people are still alive……yes legal ground is dodgy.
One book written about it in the eighties was pulled from shelves, however there are copies around still. I have tracked one down today, and it is on order. There is a book by the trainer(who made the switch) as well. Also on order.

Do you guys have any advice? He and I are going to sit down soon, and start looking at the story, ie what it should be.

There is one great character, the sherrif is his actual nick name, he was a head steward and oversaw the AJC inquiry into it. He even tracked down a witness in the middle of the Tasmanian wildnerness. I am actually thinking that the story could be from his POV, as he is th one that stands out at present, and is, by all accounts a very honourable man, which is unusual in Australian racing from what I am reading! ;-)

When I told the guy who found the evidence, that I am working on screenplays, etc and trying to work my way into that line of work, his face lit up and he was very excited. He has good knowledge of racing industry, which will be invaluable. He has already started writing down timelines, etc at home for us to discuss.

So again, any advice for a based on story, apart from don’t do it, you will get sued? ;-)



At 1:34 pm, Blogger Steve Peterson said...

Sounds like a great opportunity. I'd imagine that if you're willing to risk the time investment then just go right ahead. If studios or producers like it they'll have lawyers work out what needs to be done, or what needs to be changed.

And, even if no one's willing to risk the legal ramifications hopefully you'll still have a good writing sample -- and it's not as if it's unknown for a spec script to mainly serve as a writign sample anyway.

At 12:57 pm, Blogger Grubber said...

Thanks Steve, good point about the producers! Had slipped my mind.

Some good news, received the first of the books this morning and just read a bit through lunch. It is a biography(authorised) about the guy who was mainly in the headlines about the whole thing. Only 21 pages into it, but shit this guy has lead a colourful life! He is a conman from way, back........the old brain is thinking that the focus may be shifting, but will have to wait and read the other book first before any final decision.

To give you an idea, in the first 21 pages, this guy has gone on a 3 day pub crawl in his native New Zealand, woken up in Sydney, been ripped off for everything he owns, slept with the mother of a girl he was trying to get it on with, ripped off a few people, and gotten out of jail once. Also explained about 10 different scams, and ways the guy above him uses people. Good laugh for sure!

He is definitely a character!

One thing that makes me interested about this book is that, like the titanic story, everyone knew, or thought they knew the story. This would give it a new and interesting twist.

At 10:09 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sounds like an awesome opportunity for sure, good luck on it. If it looks like some of the rights may be too expensive to get, you can always use all that research to write your own 'fictitious' horse scandal screenplay, just change a bit of the facts around

At 4:13 am, Blogger Bill Cunningham said...

Dave - I grew up in horse country (Aiken, SC) here in the states and many horses trained in our little town went on to win the Kentucky Derby or other races in the triple crown. I have never been a horse person myself, but have always been fascinated with this subculture. I think with films like SEABISCUIT out there, and all of the DICK FRANCIS novels and series made from them, there is a good solid audience for what you are proposing. Good luck and saddle up!

At 2:47 pm, Blogger Grubber said...

Good point about Seabiscuit!

It is looking good, this guy I am reading about is your typical likeable larrikan conman, you can't help wanting him to get away without.

I thought I was stuffed last night, as I thought one of his cons was going to end in someone being killed.....which would then kill the idea of a likeable larrikan conman.

I have managed to track down the author of the book as well.

Now, here is another question, do I approach the author or the publisher, for the rights to the screenplay. I am assuming the publisher would be the one to approach initially about that.


At 2:48 pm, Blogger Grubber said...

Good point MQ! In mine they might actually get away with it! LOL


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