Going Off Script

It’s the big dream for a writer—selling a screenplay to a major studio. That was my dream when I began writing so many, many years ago. Almost thirty to be exact. A few short years into the process I wrote a science fiction screenplay titled Field of Gods, and not long after that I captured what most writers feel is part of the big prize—a literary agent, one that actually had a name in the business. He’d been at William Morris in LA specializing in writers and producers, then started his own agency in Encino, CA. All very exciting for a young, aspiring screenwriter.

In the years that followed I had my scripts shopped around town, and optioned a couple of times. But the dream of that big sale—that big payout—never happened. Yet, I persisted because I simply loved telling stories.

It wasn’t until much later that, as I labored over another science fiction screenplay, The Scout, I grew utterly dissatisfied with the whole process. Half my mind was on the story, the other half wondered who in the heck would pay for this script and produce it. Additionally, the concept itself begged for more detail than I could effectively cram into a “marketable” script.

So, for a very short time, I gave up. The script sat on the shelf while one of my film industry friends told me I should do a rewrite. And, frankly, I did not want to do a rewrite. It was about a year later, in 2011, that the lightbulb went on, and I decided to write the story as a novel instead. Best decision I ever made.

In future blogs I’ll discuss the process more in depth. Not only was the experience deeply satisfying for me as a writer, it also got me some important things that screenwriting never did: a growing readership of my material, and paying work as a writer. To date I’ve been hired four times to write original material for various, published anthologies, and once to pen a novel in a multiverse series of books. My journey off script is still very young, and ahead lie paths I cannot see beyond the reach of the sunset. But that’s okay. Because the dream has changed and become something much better.

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About Eric Tozzi

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