Movie News: DECKED (My Original Screenplay) Has Been Optioned for Development as an Animated Film

My original screenplay, Decked, has been optioned by the Chinese animation companies Dream Factory and Popoko Studios, for development as a movie for the Chinese and international markets. I couldn’t be happier!

Here’s the logline:

1Decked (Family/Animation): In the four kingdoms of Spades, Hearts, Clubs, and Diamonds, where people are ranked by numbers, a group of lowly “twos” tries desperately to stop the Queen of Spades from overthrowing the other kingdoms.

Basically, Decked is the “real” story behind a deck of playing cards. I confess it was my open attempt to go “four quadrant” — to write something openly commercial and mainstream. Which isn’t to say that I sold out; I actually think it’s one of the best things I’ve ever written. It’s a family movie for sure, but also says something about prejudice and, yes, even income disparity.

Anyway, I’m thrilled my attempt to go “mainstream” seems to have worked.

When my reps and I received an offer from these Chinese companies back in December, my first thought was, “Maybe we should hold out for Dreamworks or Pixar.” But my rep immediately said to me, “An American studio will develop it for ten years, and they’ll end up not making it anyway. These days, the Chinese market is where it’s at. The financial terms here are right in line with an American company. But you go with these guys, and you could have a finished movie in a year or two. Also, there is a huge demand for more material in China right now, so they’ll be very, very interested in more of your work. And if something does well in China, an American version is always a possibility.”

This is one of the most interesting things about being a writer in 2016: the opportunities are endless (and usually not at all what you expect).

Anyway, for those keeping score at home, that makes four screenplays I currently have under option with various film producers. Here are the other three:

Project Sweet Life (Family/Caper): When three teen friends are forced by their parents to get summer jobs, they decide to invent fake jobs, then embark on a series of get-rich-quick schemes to make the money they should be earning. But the “sweet life” proves much more difficult than anticipated.

The Starfish Scream (Teen Drama): Unable to accept that his best friend has committed suicide, a teenage boy searches his memories of their past together for an explanation that makes it make sense.

Dead Enders (Romantic Comedy/Black Comedy): Two near-death survivors join together to kill themselves in order to return to heaven — but suicide turns out to be more difficult than they thought, especially when they fall in love.

Will all these projects actually become movies? Probably not. But I can say that at least two of them are very close to production, and there is top-notch talent involved. I can’t wait to share more details!

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