The official announcement from Publisher's Marketplace:
Jen Nadol's THE MARK, to Warner Bros. Television, with executive producers Marta Kauffman (Friends), Peter Horton (Grey's Anatomy) and Michael London (Sideways, House of Sand and Fog), by Jerry Kalajian at Intellectual Property Group and Jenoyne Adams at Bliss Literary.
My agent sent me a text about some book stuff back in May, adding:
On a different note: Marty Kauffman and Peter Horton (in conjunction with Michael London) would like to fly to NY to meet with u the week after next to talk about making The Mark a TV series. What is your availability?
Um. Come again?
This is where texting is so much better than the phone because instead of sounding like a bumbling idiot, I calmly gave her some dates and asked what exactly happens at a meeting like this.
Then I started Googling like crazy and, because I don't watch much TV and hadn't seen a movie since Borat, also consulted my friend Beth who reads US Magazine.
The only name that rang a bell for me at all was Peter Horton. Isn't he that guy who...? And, yup, my subconscious was right. He's this guy. I remembered him from Thirtysomething. Beth knew his work as a director and said he was "very talented".
Michael London has made some very well regarded films like Sideways and Milk. He did not make Borat so, of course, I didn't know him (I have no idea who made Borat either).
But I couldn't find a thing on Marty Kauffman. I figured he must be a lawyer or some random henchman and went on my merry way: took Sideways out of the library and watched the pilot of the last TV series Peter Horton directed (The Philanthropist) on Hulu, scheduled a conference call with my agents to talk about the meeting, fretted about what to wear, yadda, yadda.
Then, during said agent conference call, I learned there'd been a typo in the text. I wasn't meeting with Marty Kauffman, random henchman, but Marta Kauffman, writer and creator of Friends. You know, only the most successful TV show, like, EVER.
Um. Come again?
Drove to the city for the meeting. 88 degrees. Surprise! Car's A/C is broken! Sweating. I'm picking at my skirt which is stuck to me in all kinds of uncomfortable ways just as Marta comes up the stairs (tres cool), restaurant botches the reservation (which I made), puts us at an awful dark, cramped table in some back room...
But...a great table overlooking Central Park opens up, we have snacks, talk, Peter and Marta are very pleasant, interesting and, best of all, I like the things they like about the book (they've both given it to their kids to read, which I thought was really cool). They want to read the sequel. We say our goodbyes and a day or so later The Vision goes from agent to agent to agent to them.
I hear nothing for weeks. And weeks. This is not upsetting. I have honed the art of patience over the last two years in publishing. They are reading, they are thinking, they are talking. They have lives and other projects. When there's something to tell, I'll hear from my agents. I did not check my email five thousand times a day during this period. Honest.
And finally, in September the offer comes which, after some nail-biting days and blood, sweat and tears from my awesome film agent, Jerry, ends in a deal.
I. Am. Ecstatic. Thrilled. And very, very flattered that these talented, successful people chose my book for their next project with the backing of a powerhouse like Warner Bros.
The Big Question:
When will it be on TV? Maybe next year, maybe later, maybe never. A deal for the option does not mean a network will okay a script for a pilot or shoot that pilot or, even if they do all that, pick up the series. That's what happens at the next stage of the game...the folks who bought the option try to find a network who wants to make all that happen.
Still, whether The Mark makes it to series or not, this has been a very cool experience with some real pinch me moments. Peter Horton was in the first horror movie I ever saw, Children of the Corn, my first boy-girl outing back in middle school. And, of course, I watched Friends many weeks along with millions of other people. I was living in the city back then, not writing and working a decidedly un-literary job. I would never, in a million years, have guessed that - fast-forward fifteen years or so - I'd be at a restaurant with the two of them talking about how they wanted to make my novel (Um...) into a TV series (Come again?).
Truth is definitely stranger than fiction sometimes.