Two of my books have sold film options and a third began as a solicited screenplay. THE HOUR OF THE WOLF was the first of my Counter terror series written as Robert Charles. It sold a film option to the British Film Producer Betty Box. In those days film producers bought up lots of options on books and on average one in four was eventually made into a film.
Betty decided to make a film on Ghandi instead but I later sent her another outline. This was for an idea I called SEABASE 2000. It was about the last US submarine to survive a nuclear war which could only find a home with the last British Seabase on the ocean floor. From there it launched missions to try and save the scattered groups of nuclear survivors. I got a letter back from her husband Peter Rogers. Peter was the producer of the smash hit CARRY ON series and he fancied a change from producing comedy. He bought another option on SEABASE which he saw as a big screen film. I wrote a story outline but in the end the guaranteed returns from continuing with the CARRY ON films was too big a counter-balance and he stayed with comedy.
I got another bite on SEABASE from Gerry Anderson who produced THUNDERBIRDS and SPACE 1999. SEABASE seemed like an ideal follow up for him and for a few months he too took the idea on board. He was busy but he wanted a meeting after Christmas to discuss it further. Christmas came and went and clearly Gerry went off the boil. My letters became unanswered, my telephone calls fielded by a stonewall secretary who insisted that he was always tied up in a meeting, and again the whole thing fizzled out.
SERPENTS IN EDEN was another film bite. The producer David Fairman had the ambition to film the life of Paul Gauguin on location in Tahiti. To make the project viable he had decided that while he had already paid the cost of flying out his film crew he only needed another set of actors to make a second film. He wanted a crime story and advertised for one in the Red Herrings, the magazine of the Crime Writers Association. I had written crime and thriller novels set in virtually every part of the globe except Polynesia, but I responded with three ideas and an offer to write an original screenplay. SERPENTS IN EDEN was the idea he liked. After a series of excited meetings in London it was all left hanging, dependant on David getting the necessary financial backing for the joint film venture. Obviously it never came, because again the communications dwindled to an eternal silence. However, I did eventually write the book. It is now published with Create Space and Kindle and can be purchased through Amazon.
FLOWERS OF EVIL was another book which my agent told me had received tickles of film interest, although no definite bite. Now, with computer technology making the most fantastic scenes possible, I think that FLOWERS OF EVIL would make a terrific film; think of all those monstrous tendrils flailing, crushing wolves and snatching seabirds out of the sky. SEASCREAM would make another blockbuster horror movie, after JURAISIC PARK an oil spill firewall and a colony of prehistoric plesiosaurus snapping up helicopters and crashing super tankers should be easy.
And when it comes to heroic fantasy THE LORD OF THE RINGS has shown the way. Now every scene in THE FIFTH PLANET, from the space battles to the gladiatorial war between Karakhor and Maghalla, including the destruction of the fifth planet, should all be possible on film.
If you are a TV producer looking for and original new mega-series take a look at EXTINCTION’S EDGE, my six book series spanning the story of Vietnam. With some notable exceptions like APOCALYPSE NOW and FULL METAL JACKET, Vietnam has been something of a no-go area for publishers and producers, and to the best of my knowledge nothing has been written or produced on the scale and scope of EXTINCTION’S EDGE. Iraq and Afghanistan seem to indicate that nothing was learned from Vietnam, but now with public opinion in both the US and UK deterring both governments from going to war again in Syria there is perhaps a new shift in understanding. Maybe now is the right time for a full all-sides view of the Vietnam tragedy to be appreciated.
For a TV series the storylines would need to run concurrently and perhaps a few more American characters would need to be highlighted. Steve Brannigan, the American adviser who appears in THE YEARS OF THE WARLORDS could be given a bigger role, and perhaps a Vietnamese wife to keep him in Vietnam. Richard Keller, the American doctor in THE FALL OF SAIGON could also be given a bigger role and perhaps a love affair with Mary Francis. Perhaps we could add a CIA agent, possibly a woman who could try to ensnare the Vietnamese politician Vu Phan Quang into a honey trap. Within the added scope of a mega-series adding and expanding more American characters and storylines could be done without detracting from the original essence of the books.
If there’s a film or TV producer out there who wants a good, polished, credible story with real characters to channel his cherished kaleidoscope of special effects, then here is my invitation to check out the rest of this website and give me a call.
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
THE HOUR OF THE WOLF under my old Robert Charles pen name was my first book to sell a film option. Later I hope to set up this and the other six of my Counter Terror novels as new reprints with new covers for Kindle and Create Space