Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

DUDE, I GOT OPTIONED

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So the Gs passed me by. You know, the G-G and the Big G.

Ya, whatevs. I got optioned!

A Toronto production company, Markham Street Films, liked Sailor Girl enough that they want to make a film version. I have faith in Markham Street, because I like them, and I know they “get” SAILOR GIRL. And they have cred: A script they previously optioned, by writer-director David Bezmozgis, was invited to Sundance in January and will open in Toronto and Vancouver this June (followed by the rest of Canada).

A long-weekend North Toronto coming-of-age story, VICTORIA DAY is the first film by Bezmozgis, who made a splash a few years back with his excellent short story collection NATASHA AND OTHER STORIES. The screenwriter for SAILOR GIRL is Johanna Schneller, a long time film writer for The Globe and one of the smartest cookies I know.

Being optioned in Canada is not the same as being optioned in New York or L.A., of course. I’m keeping my day job till they give me a gold watch (actually, they don’t do that any more). Like everything else related to the arts in this country, being optioned isn’t about the money. It’s the glory, dude.

I know a couple of other people whose books have been optioned. The real issue is always whether it will get made into a feature film. If it gets made into a feature film, your book might get reprinted with a sticker reading: “Now a small Canadian movie!”

Apparently these things can take time. A lot of time. But I already waited 20 years to get my first novel done. And the film project has just passed an important hurdle -- Astral Media’s Harold Greenberg Fund and Corus’s Made With Pay have come on board.

As my friend Danny says, two things are required for happiness: gratitude and optimism. I’ve got both.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Sheree-Lee Olson

Sheree-Lee Olson is a Canadian novelist, poet and journalist. Her first novel, Sailor Girl, was published in 2008 by The Porcupine's Quill.

Go to Sheree-Lee Olson ’s Author Page