Two years ago, I wrote Rome Sweet Rome. I thought I was killing a lunch hour- instead I changed my life.

I'm still pitching Hollywood, still at my day job, and Kickstarting a new novel, Acadia - link to Kickstarter here - an entirely new story, parts of which are posted online at /r/acadia and my website,



Would you like to know more?




EDIT EDIT EDIT, NEWSFLASH - Previously unseen section of Acadia is now live on Boing Boing.

ANOTHER EDIT it's super late and things are finally quiet on Reddit and at home, where a distressingly not-asleep toddler gave this AMA another couple of bonus hours. Thank all of you so very much. If I didn't get to your question, I'm sorry: the response was incredibly overwhelming. Please feel free to contact me again via DM or this AMA.

Oh, and the Kickstarter as I go to bed is past the 60% mark. Knock on wood.

FINAL EDIT So within 48 hours of the Kickstarter launch we hit our goal. Thank you so much!

Comments: 1925 • Responses: 83  • Date: 

Colt_Smith1591 karma

Will it get DiCaprio his Oscar?

Prufrock4511143 karma


only sort of funny if you've seen and remember that one movie

analfishlover1047 karma

how much karma... I mean money do you expect to make from this?

Prufrock451921 karma

I had no idea when Rome Sweet Rome started what would happen, and I have no idea now what will happen with Acadia. Seriously, zero idea. The people I'm working with also have no idea. We couldn't even put together projections, because no one's marketed a project quite like this in quite this way.

So, I just bit the bullet and put myself out there. AAAAGH.

cardevitoraphicticia609 karma

This comment has been overwritten by a script as I have abandoned my Reddit account and moved to

If you would like to do the same, install TamperMonkey for Chrome, or GreaseMonkey for Firefox, and install this script. If you are using Internet Explorer, you should probably stay here on Reddit where it is safe.

Then simply click on your username at the top right of Reddit, click on comments, and hit the new OVERWRITE button at the top of the page. You may need to scroll down to multiple comment pages if you have commented a lot.

Prufrock4512599 karma

Reddit's admin team let me know when this all started they would not make a grab for the material. They want people to create awesome stuff on Reddit without worrying if they still own it.

Wesside183 karma

So they only pay you once the movie makes money? If that's so you better be ready to never get paid, even if it "makes" millions.

Prufrock451481 karma

I was paid quite a bit, actually, thanks to the WGA (slightly late Labor Day union plug) - but I get a bonus should the movie go into production.

I_just_post_stuff853 karma


Prufrock451645 karma

Try raising two kids too! I did grow a beard, though, and it's awesome, so I think that takes me from 39 at least back to 37.5.

xZora83 karma

I wish I could grow a beard :(

I'm a 22 year old with a baby-face.

Prufrock451184 karma

I'm still baby-faced at 39. I just sat there for a month and waited and the beard came along.

gloon555 karma

What's your wife's thought on this?

daringtherobot1618 karma

Wife here. I'm not generally fan of sci-fi/action, and James is well-aware that if these projects weren't his, I would likely not have any interest. That said, I've read the RSR screenplay (his draft) and loved it.

I don't think it's possible for me to pretend I'm unbiased, but James is an amazing writer. I've seen him put so much of himself into these projects (RSR, Acadia), while also maintaining a full-time job, and being an equal partner in raising our two children (did I mention he's a wonderful dad?).

The success he's had thus far is due to his dedication to and passion for his writing. And I can tell you that it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

Prufrock4511289 karma

Thanks, sweetie!

I could not have done any of this without my wife, you guys. She's amazing. She's amazing.

SimplyQuid950 karma

Now kiss!

Edit: Damn you Mike Tyson, I don't want none of your pigeon kissing!

Prufrock4512166 karma

We already made two babies, I don't know what else you want

I_promise_you_gold1130 karma

Kiss dammit!

Prufrock4512666 karma

Rebarbative_Sycophan185 karma

Those eyes, lol. Good thing your eyes where closed, she may have been trying to steal your soul.

Prufrock451912 karma

She already stole my heart


TheStagesmith151 karma

The look on her face is priceless.

Prufrock451633 karma

Everything about her is.

danisaacs84 karma

How do you feel about the beard?

Prufrock451190 karma

I'm a fan! The first week I felt ridiculous but now I feel totally manly.

rdmusic16186 karma

I think that question was aimed at your wife, but I'm glad you like the beard.

A good beard can do wonders. Age someone, or make them look younger - give them a distinguished presence, or create a roguish appearance. They are the Unicorns of body hair.

Prufrock451316 karma


And my wife was the one who urged me to grow it out!

HeyLookATaco528 karma

How did your idea go from Reddit post to successful pitch? Did you already have a connection? Did someone from WB seek you out?

Prufrock4511050 karma

I posted it, it hit the front page - and from there the world went mad. I had zero connections in Hollywood before my manager approached me. It just so happened that Gianni Nunnari's team at Hollywood Gang learned about RSR the day Screenrant posted an interview with me, and they contacted my manager. So when an exec from Warner Brothers called my manager, the production team they'd worked with on 300 was already on board.

It just fell together. Unbelievable luck.

Zerodeconduite2161 karma

I gave it to Hollywood Gang - You still owe me a beer.

*Edit - thanks for the gold!

Prufrock4511282 karma


astikoes194 karma

To be fair, who we really owe a beer to is u/The_Quiet_Earth for asking the question that led to your amazing story being written in the first place.

Prufrock451144 karma

Yes. I have given him props in a couple of replies already.

xChromaticx545 karma

This is the kind of luck i dont believe in. It has to be the work of our lizard overlords

Prufrock451597 karma


Ichthus585 karma

Where did you work at when you wrote the story?

Prufrock451140 karma

A financial services firm. I write software documentation!

Ichthus553 karma

Man, what you accomplished with RSR is what I dream of doing. Literally - I want to write an amazing story and have it go to Hollywood (or the video game realm would work, too). I'm just in college for English education right now, but give me your best wishes, and I'll find a way to see my name in lights, too!

Prufrock45140 karma

And obviously: my best wishes with anyone who has a dream and works to accomplish it. That means you!

BludEvil410 karma

Can't really think of any questions, just thought I'd let you know how awesome I think it is.

Prufrock451409 karma

I like you.

stryder66368 karma

when is the movie coming out?

Prufrock451602 karma

Great question, and one I don't know the answer to. What I do know is this: the studio assigned a new executive production team to the movie when the new studio exec came on board, and they then commissioned a second draft and a polish of that draft from another writer.

These are things studios do not do unless they intend to make a movie.

Best-case scenario at this point? Two or three years, but: impossible to say, because so much depends on the interest of a director and a star, and if/when their schedules are open at the same time.

icepigs351 karma

Can I portray myself in the movie?

Prufrock451708 karma

I have no idea who could portray you better.


Daniel Day Louis could do a better icepigs on a bad day better then icepigs could do himself on his best day.

Prufrock451569 karma

This is true. Icepigs, turn in your badge, you're off the force. Lewis has the case now.

zfolwick157 karma

morgan freeman could do better

danimal600060 karma

i agree. that guy's really good.

AdamBombTV67 karma

I see big things in his future.

Prufrock451338 karma

He's really interesting, I'd like him to do an AMA too

I_just_post_stuff139 karma


Prufrock451438 karma

I still have not seen the second draft! What I do know is what the public knows: they removed the Marine angle and replaced them with a Special Forces team.

I understand completely why this happened. It's easier to sell a project with one army and one small team, budget-wise, and it's easier to tell a story about a small group of people in two hours.

Does that mean this is still Rome Sweet Rome? I don't know. I let the dove fly and we'll see if it ever comes back to the coop.

Does that mean the purist's edition of Rome Sweet Rome is still out there in the platonic realm? Yes. I have notebooks and photos of whiteboards covered with insane scrawls that lay out what happened to the 35th MEU. But if that's ever going to see the light of day as "fanfiction" instead of "contract violation," the movie has to come out first.

verdatum139 karma

This question is the number one thing I've constantly been curious about. I consistently admire your attitude on the matter.

Do you think you'll be given a chance to see the second (or future) drafts at any point? Do you know much about how that sort of thing tends to work?

Prufrock451207 karma

I will get to see the second draft come the day it becomes the final draft. The studio and producers are keeping the writers siloed right now for the same reason they got a second writer in the first place - they're looking for a lot of fresh ideas they can pick and choose from. If I collaborate, or if we share drafts, that goes out the window.

Roboticide241 karma

Has Reddit (the company) given any input as far as legal concerns go? I remember when this first became news it was pointed out that as a comment, the concept might legally be Reddit's. Or something like that.

Prufrock451531 karma

That was based on a slapdash reading of boilerplate. One of the first things I asked, and the first question my manager asked, and the first question my lawyer asked, and the first question the studio asked, was this - "Do you own it?"

I talked with Erik Martin and he reassured me in no uncertain terms that Reddit will not take content from the community because that kills the community.

hueypriest1114 karma

This is true. We have always done everything we could to support creative projects that originated on reddit. We have also tried to make it as easy as possible for the creators to get whatever assurances from us they need for projects that are derived from their content on reddit.

The_Alaskan84 karma

What other creative projects has this policy affected? Nothing comes to mind.

pieguyfly547 karma

The Cumbox Musical, starring Hugh Jackman.

emmett22111 karma

In the final act he cleans himself with ice soap

Prufrock451146 karma

and relaxes with 2 am chili

ester4brook127 karma

have you ever heard from /u/The_Quiet_Earth - the OP of the question that lead you to respond and write RSR? Does he/she claim any ownership to the original idea? (Not saying they would win in court just wondering if he/she thinks they are entitled to something.) Edit: fixed link

Prufrock451159 karma

He was extremely gracious when everything started taking off. Haven't talked to him in ages.

robosocialist222 karma

Big fan of the original reddit posts. Do you prefer writing short stories or longer works?

Prufrock451261 karma

Short stories are easier, naturally. But I find - and anyone who's seen my stuff on Reddit will probably agree - short punchy chapters are only fun when you're setting up something BIG. Half the fun of Rome Sweet Rome was imagining the next chapter, as much as it was reading what was already there.

Longer works like my screenplay, or Acadia, let me set up a lot of fun stuff, explore the worlds I've created, and think deeply about the people I'm imagining.

Love_me_some_Brie183 karma

Can you do a TL;DR of Acadia?

Prufrock451386 karma

TL;DR: Science fiction is becoming reality. Some people can't handle it. Other people have been planning for this for decades. And some people are caught in the middle, learning just what the truth is, with the future of humanity hinging on their decisions.

FullScrim186 karma

This AmA is the first I've heard of the work you've been doing, and I stuck around because I liked the real, honest answers about an industry that seems totally alien and nebulous to someone from the outside.

And then you go and hook me with the most interesting TL;DR I've had the pleasure of reading.

Prufrock45191 karma


KngNothing148 karma

Is there any chance you'll get to be an extra in the movie?

Chariot driver #1 or General's Tent Guard 2 or something?

Prufrock451369 karma

The producer, Gianni Nunnari, said at the end of our first meeting, "You should play one of the Marines."

I certainly don't take that as a verbal contract, because we'd all just had a lot of scotch and passed around Leonidas' sword from 300, but that doesn't mean I can't take the occasional highly visible opportunity to remind everyone of that.

maejsh214 karma

"We'd all just had a lot of scotch and passed around Leonidas' sword from 300" That. is such a kickass line to be able to say! Not a tiny bit jealous..

Prufrock451136 karma


It was a great moment.

UmberGryphon140 karma

Are you ever going to continue your alternate-history Mars story?

buckybone193 karma

Literally his last Reddit post before starting the AMA was a new chapter.

Prufrock451163 karma

heh heh, caught me.

WrenJenn34 karma

You're awesome! Please keep up the good work!

Prufrock45139 karma

I like you too!

Prufrock451111 karma

Yes. And the faster we get Acadia Kickstartered and out the door the faster I can write that one. :)

naroush130 karma

Rome Sweet Rome had me hanging to your every word. It was painfully brutal when it just STOPPED. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?!
I actually do hope you're allowed to eventually release it as "fan fiction" as you said in another comment. In the meantime, waiting for your Acadia project to come to fruition (and for me to get my book!). I'm glad you're going the kickstarter way. Keep it up!

Prufrock45198 karma

Thanks! And yes - I will complete RSR someday.

Bill_Mountain101 karma

Were any book publishers willing to let you have total control of Acadia?

Prufrock451151 karma

Since I've been posting Acadia online, I've been contacted by editors from two of the Big Five houses (and I actually started work on this novel when I was cold-called by an editor from another big publisher).

This is an incredibly rare thing, and I'm extremely fortunate. However: I was still in preliminary discussions when I decided to go the Kickstarter route. I don't know how much control they would have been willing to give me.

So, I had a couple of routes open to me - full indie, Kickstarter, or traditional. I've done the traditional thing - not just with Rome Sweet Rome, but with my past books as well. I wanted to do this my way, and just concentrate on writing what I wanted to write.

So why Kickstarter? Because Alexis Ohanian and the team at Breadpig are taking care of the details and letting me just write a book. Plus, with Kickstarter, I can do other awesome stuff like include a NASA-style mission patch, and pay illustrators, and we'll see how many stretch goals we hit to see just how awesome we can make this thing.

Bill_Mountain31 karma

Thanks for the great answer. I have followed your story on and off for the past couple years. I have a ton of great story ideas but no ability to write so I'm part jealous and part excited for you to be doing this. Good luck! Breadpig sort of acting like a Kickstarter consultant?

Prufrock45149 karma

Yes! The best phrase is "project management" - they're advising me, helping to line up collaborators, and handling fulfillment and other annoying stuff down the road.

chrysaora136 karma

Christina from Breadpig here! We love James' description of us as Kickstarter midwives in his campaign description. He's making the creative baby, we just hold his hand and tell him to push at regular intervals. And clean up the mess afterwards. Oh god this metaphor is out of control.

Prufrock451112 karma

something something placenta

Dude, have you ever seen a placenta? It's like a giant alien brain pancake and it keeps babies alive. They're totally amazing. Never ate one, though.

theinternetaddict72 karma

What actors would you love to be in the movie?

Prufrock451128 karma

Some of them would just be telling.

I can say that every studio has talent - directors, producers, actors - that they are closer to, people who have proven themselves as professionals and collaborators. And those are the people who the studio will turn to.

So, this is the only hint like this I will ever give - ever. Pay close attention.

Before WB got involved, a director with a couple of huge action-movie franchises (with other studios) under his belt expressed interest in the project. After WB got involved, they expressed interest in getting the help of writer/producers who have worked on WB tentpole franchises in the recent past, who passed on RSR in order to work on other tentpole franchises for WB.

No confirmations, denials, or other responses to follow.

robfrap65 karma

Hey James. No question, just wanted to congratulate you again on the success. I'm very proud to have been one of the first media people to pick up on your story. You're an inspiration to all aspiring writers!

Edit: Thanks for the gold!

Prufrock45131 karma

Thank you, Rob. :)

mccdizzie61 karma

Did WB specify the type of unit they're replacing the Marines with? I personally thought a MEU would be more interesting because you can have actual pitched battle with their numbers; with a small SF ODA it sounds like an elaborate twelve man game of hide and seek. That said, do you know if they're bringing in unit advisors for whatever organization they want to represent (SF, SEALs, Ranger Regt, etc)? it would be terrible to have this great scenario and then screw it with easily avoided inaccuracies and Hollywood cliches.

I mean, if you put the Bn Recon Marines from Generation Kill in Rome, that's about as good as it would get from a realism standpoint.

Prufrock45144 karma

It will be a SF team. And WB will bring in advisors.

Jwalla8360 karma

  • Was there a connection between you posting the story to reddit and the purchase by WB? (I mean did they see it online and approach you, or did you just happen to sell it through a pitch soon after you posted to reddit?)

  • Is it too personal to ask how much you sold it for/how much you'll make from the film?

  • How involved are you-- if at all-- in the creation of the film?

Prufrock45186 karma

  • The story came up in response to a question from /u/The_Quiet_Earth, and it was totally improvised. Warner Brothers and my manager and the producer all happened to see the original thread and got interested at the same time - the stars lined up just right.

  • I would say but I can't say.

  • At this point, only as a vague and distant benevolent presence. Work on the movie continues without my input.

T1mac14 karma

I would say but I can't say.

Would you answer indirectly?

Is it a life changing amount, or just a nice chunk of change?

Prufrock45152 karma

I will say this. If I was a barista I would have thrown my apron on the counter and bugged out for Cali the next day, but I write software documentation for a major company in the financial industry, so I took a couple of months off.

Ihjop51 karma

What was your reaction when people made musical scores after reading Rome sweet Rome?

Prufrock45164 karma

I loved it. I loved all of it. I was humbled by the fan art, and I have reached out to a lot of the folks who contributed it for my new novel, Acadia.

For example - the cover art was created by Jamie Gilyead of, who created this back in the day.

Chris Conlon, who created portraits of Augustus and Col. Nelson for RSR, I hired to create some of the (hopefully) many illustrations - you can see his work in the Kickstarter video!

uberlad45 karma

So, given your unique (and really crazy) experiences so far, what would you say your very best life advice is? Could be about anything.

Prufrock45199 karma

Work hard.

I was very lucky, but I punched that story out in the time I had because I had years of practice as a writer. I had years of professional discipline to draw on when I had to learn how to write a screenplay and then to sit down and write it.

I could have cashed in very easily at the beginning. I got an offer within a week from a European producer - five digits for what I'd already written, to be given to another screenwriter. I could have walked away, but I had confidence in my abilities (to work, not necessarily just to write) and I got a better deal in short order.

But to kill the point dead - Nothing I accomplished would have been possible without years of practice.

enhki27 karma

just wondering, in the end, did you give up full ownership of the story/script or do you still retain some sort of ownership that would allow you to sell the story say 10years from now or 20years from now or something...?

Prufrock45144 karma

Theirs in perpetuity.

If they sit on it forever and another studio falls in love, maybe maybe they'd sell it. It's happened before.

eaterpkh30 karma

How content are you with how the final product will turn out?

Prufrock45174 karma

Impossible to say, because I haven't seen the new draft and I don't know how many more will be written, and I don't know who will produce or direct or star.

I do know this: I am content with my draft. I busted my ass on it, I thought hard about it, and I had my wife (who falls asleep during any battle scene longer than 10 seconds) gasping at some of the plot twists. I worked hard. I gave that my all. I could not have done better with the time I have and the brain I have.

How much of that will anyone see? I have no idea. But I did my job, and I did it well.

Mrgoldenzombie27 karma

How much money will you make from the movie?

Prufrock451140 karma

More than is reasonable and less than is desirable

KellyCommaRoy26 karma

I find that authors and writers have powerfully different readings on not just the possibilities of the future, but on the nature of "the future" as a concept. James Cameron and the Wachowskis give us a dark vision where the future itself is almost an evil character as it sees our technology turning against us. On the other hand Cory Doctorow is largely positive about the future in Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, arguing that beneficent technology is coming, although life won't become a struggle-free joyride.

Through the assumptions in Acadia, what are you telling us about the nature of "the future"?

Prufrock45137 karma

Super question!

The world in Acadia is very pleasant for a lot of people but there are a lot of losers in this world and some very horrifying things have happened, are about to happen, or could happen.

No technology is better or worse than its wielder.

seamslegit24 karma

Do you retain the right to do a sequel or to keep writing a continuation story?

Prufrock45145 karma

RSR is now totally a WB thing. I can do fanfiction, like anyone else can, some day. But not until the movie is wrapped up.

whoadave24 karma

Any idea what Rome Sweet Rome will end up being titled as? How much of the original script is left?

Prufrock45130 karma

I only know it won't be Rome Sweet Rome. And I can tell you there are two separate drafts out there - the new draft shares some DNA with mine, but it's a different plot with different characters. Someday, the studio will take the two drafts (or three, or four, or 20) and dissect them for parts, and pick me (or the other guy, or 20 other guys) to Frankenstein something hopefully awesome together.

DonSlice17 karma

I absolutely loved reading it when you wrote it. Thanks for doing this!

What has been the hardest part of the process thus far? The most rewarding?

Prufrock45134 karma

The hardest part - harder than writing, harder than missing sleep, harder than learning new skills and disciplines, harder than waiting months for news on everything of importance - has been taking focus away from my family. I have a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old and a gorgeous, incredible wife, and they are the reason this Kickstarter campaign is happening two years later instead of two weeks later.

themorningmoon17 karma

Who did the illustrations for this project? Can't wait to see more! :)

Prufrock45118 karma

Thanks! I talked up my illustrators Jamie Gilyead and Chris Conlon here.

Other illustrators are also lined up and will be revealed shortly.

YouArentReasonable15 karma

Wow, similar thing happened to me with a choose your own adventure story about a penguin war... though it was not good enough (or original enough) to illicit hollywood's interest I did make some Reddit Gold off of it from kind strangers.

So thank you for paving the way for others.

Prufrock4519 karma

I am very happy if I've raised the bar for Reddit, and very happy as well that I've changed (in a very slight way) the way people think about the community.

hipstergropaga13 karma

Have you had Acadia in mind for a long time?

Is writing a story set in the future more difficult than writing a story set in the past? What are the major differences?

Is it hard balancing writing a novel (Acadia) and helping out with the screenplay for RSR? Do you feel that Acadia has a better chance of success after RSR?

Prufrock45124 karma

It's very hard writing a story set in the future. If I screw up while writing about the past, it's sloppy research, but people will forgive me. If I screw up while writing about the future, it's a failure of imagination and I'll get ass-pokered.

Acadia has a chance of success because of RSR. Period. I have gotten approached by editors from the major publishing houses, and that's because they've read the sections of Acadia I've posted online - but they would not have bothered in the first place if they hadn't heard about RSR.

curds_and_wai7 karma

What are some casting choices you have in mind for the Rome Sweet Rome movie?

If Arcadia becomes a success, would you want it to be made into a movie as well?

Prufrock45112 karma

I talked a bit about casting elsewhere, but suffice it to say most answers to that would jinx it.

As for Acadia - I don't want to imagine it as a movie right now. It makes perfect sense as a novel and I don't want to lose that focus just yet thinking about how we can replace a subplot in the novel with an explosion in the movie.

Thesloths6 karma

Are you working on making it into a full length book?

Prufrock4518 karma

Well, I've gotten this far without envisioning RSR as a novel. If I ever get the opportunity to complete RSR, it'd be a short story along the lines of what I've already written.

Unless, of course, I get OKed to do the movie novelization.

babyface_grayballs4 karma

Congratulations! As someone who has done it, I can say with utter confidence that even writing an awful screenplay is hard work (much less quality, such as yours). I was really impressed with RSR in the original thread, and am sort of experiencing your sale of it vicariously; I have daydreams about scenarios like that.

Anyway, my question: Will you be credited on-screen somehow? "Based on a story by..." or something of that nature? I seem to remember that credits are very specific when they bring in new writers, collaborators, etc.

Congrats again!

edit - clarifying that my scripts were crap.

Prufrock4514 karma

Better a dozen crappy finished screenplays than Act 1 of a masterpiece.

And yes, I will get some credit on the final film. What percentage of that credit is now the question.

ripcurly3 karma

When did you start writing?

What is your favorite novel?

What's your favorite subreddit?

Prufrock4517 karma

I started writing when I was a child. I have loved reading as long as I can remember. I have lived in books as much as in this world. It is impossible for me to name one perfect novel, but I will tell you the best thing I've read recently - The Last Battle a ridiculous but 100-percent true story about the end of WW2, when burned-out GIs teamed up with German defectors and a band of imprisoned French politicians to fight off a unit of Nazi diehards. It's impossible but it all happened.

My favorite subreddit lately is /r/mildlyinteresting. There are moments of absolute sublimity.

TheAngryBlueberry3 karma

I remember where I was when I first read the story. Bravo, my friend, as it is one of my all time favorites.

Prufrock4513 karma

Thanks! I like it too!

TheAngryBlueberry1 karma

Also, what advice would you give a 16 year old with a knack for writing?

Do you think I could pursue a career in engineering and yet still maintain my passion?

Prufrock4514 karma

Hell yes. Hell, hell yes.

First thing I would say is this: If you want to write, write. Get ideas down on paper. Get stories out of you.

10 percent of this is so you will learn how to be a better writer. 90 percent of this is so you will learn the discipline to sit down and crank out words.

The definition of writer: one who writes. Not one who discusses writing at a party.

Read everything you can. Get brutal, honest feedback on your writing. Talk to people. Learn about people. Great plots don't matter if you're asking readers to watch boring people move through them.

Don't miss a chance to have an adventure. Don't be afraid of mistakes. Live.

Go get em.

TheAngryBlueberry1 karma

You're a good man. I respect you.

Prufrock4511 karma

I try. Very best of luck! And the world need stories, but it needs bridges that don't fall over just a shade more, so I respect you.

Boozdeuvash2 karma

Did you sign to get a share of the revenue, or a share of the profit. Just curious, because if you signed #2, you're screwed.

Prufrock4514 karma

There are maybe a dozen screenwriters in Hollywood who can ask for a share of the revenue as opposed to profit. That's just the game.

leontes2 karma

When you have the spark of inspiration, and you start writing, what does it feel like in your body? When else, not related to writing, do you have that same somatic sense?

Prufrock4513 karma

I get this thing sometimes when I write something that's a little risky but I just know it's good, that it's going to get a reaction. I get this tingling in the pit of my stomach. I got that writing RSR. I got it a couple of times writing Acadia. I hope that's a good sign.

KCACTOR2 karma

Did they just out right buy your movie or are you going to get residuals/royalties in the future?

Prufrock4512 karma

They bought it. I get a share of residuals. We'll see what that comes to.

nycsportster2 karma

Do you have to split any profit with Reddit or wired?

Prufrock4512 karma

Nope. They got eyeballs, and eyeballs is their business.

SuperNour2 karma

How far are you in the process of the movie? Can you tell us anything about what has happened and changed with it?

Prufrock4514 karma

I wrote my draft and turned it in way yonder back in early 2012. The studio exec I was working with left WB, and a new exec came on just as I was turning the script in. The new exec brought in new executive producers, and they all had fresh ideas - so they brought in a second writer. The second draft, a complete rewrite, has been polished with comments from the studio, and is being digested at the moment.

izzyduzit321 karma

How did you get them to look at your project and want it?

Prufrock4511 karma

All serendipity - my manager saw the thread and signed me up. The next week, the producer of 300 saw an interview where my manager's name was mentioned. An exec at Warner Brothers saw the same interview.

So a studio and producer that trusted each other both got interested, and my manager put them together, and bam. So, so lucky.

caspianx671 karma

The opportunity you got for the screenplay was a fantastic outcome of the story you started writing. As the old adage goes, "You make your own luck", and that's by hard work so that when the right opportunity comes along, you're actually qualified to go for it. Can you give us a synopsis of your writing career leading up to RSR? Who are your biggest influences that inspire your own writing style?

Prufrock4511 karma

Well, here's a partial list - not counting my work for local magazines and papers, my contributions to Wired, McSweeney's, or my old theater pieces. Been at it a long time.

Stylistically, I most love the old noir authors. Vivid, brutal, no-bullshit. Screw you to word count and screw you to anything that doesn't move the story forward. LOVE IT.

Pr0clivity1 karma

So what's the latest on selling Rome Sweet Rome to Hollywood? Is the ball still moving forward?

Prufrock4511 karma

Yes! The studio is still working on the second draft. The production team does have a couple of movies ahead in the pipeline (the new Tom Cruise scifi movie, the Twilight Zone reboot).

YesButTellMeWhy1 karma

Just a word of warning, it is very possible (and almost inevitable) the movie executives will change a TON of the precious story you have worked so long on.
I have been dealing with and picking the brains of a few successful screenwriters in the past few months, and this seems to be the case, unless you plan on majorly funding and directing the film yourself, or making an independent film. Studios and producers tend to do this in order to widen the appeal of the movie.
It sucks, I know. But it's become the the norm for screenwriter to give in their work to significant outside editing in order for it to get made, and if you refuse, they've already bought the rights, so they just bring in another writer. It's just what happens. :(

Prufrock4511 karma

And hence a Kickstarter.

JustAnAvgJoe1 karma

I've been following you for quite some time, and know there were many changes made to the script.. What are your thoughts on the changes made (I remember hearing something about a cliche love story?)

Prufrock4511 karma

I wrote a love story in. It's not a cliche.

As for my thoughts on the other changes: I agree with (or at least understand) many of them and don't know what most of them are.

JustAnAvgJoe1 karma


Why does every goddamn good story or movie need to have some idiotic love story thrown in?

Prufrock4511 karma

Idiotic is in the eye of the beholder. I hope someday I can give you the opportunity to judge for yourself.

JustAnAvgJoe1 karma

It's going to be a tough call, an MEU grunt finding love while in aincent Rome.

It'll be just as fascinating as Pearl Harbor

Prufrock4512 karma

swoon I can only hope!

GastroPilgrim1 karma

I ordered what I thought was the book off of amazon and it ended up being about some catholics journey to spiritualism. That book got trashed, not even donated.

Prufrock4511 karma

Damn, I would have loved a copy. I also never got to travel to the Rome Sweet Rome Bakery in Massachusetts before it closed.

GrassWaterDirtHorse1 karma

Do you make stories on regular ocassions out of very little?

Prufrock4511 karma

I've done it a few times on Reddit. I did this Mars story just last week.