Here I am: a nothing little Native sitting in small town Oklahoma. Yet somehow I’ve managed to land an amazing literary agent, Allie Levick of Writers House. Then shortly after we announce to the world that my debut novel, CALLING FOR A BLANKET DANCE, will be released on July 26, 2022, I receive an email from Allie saying there is a group out of Hollywood interested in representing my novel for TV and film. Not bad for a kid who grew up in the depths of poverty. I was aligned for prison or an early grave; at best, a life of hard labor.
I wanted to hear what they had to say. Who wouldn’t? I said, “Yes,” to Allie and we proceeded to talk a little about what to expect during such a meeting. Allie prepared me well and I’m always grateful for her leadership. The organization is called The Gotham Group.
I’ll say this upfront: Rich Green, Tara Timinsky, and Becca Rodriguez were super kind and very engaging. Not that I expected it to be a cutthroat Hollywood meeting, but I’m a Podunk writer from nowhere Oklahoma, so what do I really know? Besides, we writers have overactive imaginations. That’s why we write. It turned out to be a pleasant experience and I very much enjoyed speaking with them.
I did have a few questions. After I rambled a few times, knocking over a soapbox or two, I let them know I was concerned for the cultural integrity of an adaptation to TV or film. I gave an example of how much thought and editing went into the novel as I considered Kiowa and Cherokee cultural elements. It was important for me to get it right. I had seen other “Native” writers make a mess of culture for the sole purpose of making a buck. I’m not that dude. Not that I’m a perfectionist, but I am a perfectionist when it comes to getting the gritty real. Bottom line: I told them I’m interested in being involved to the capacity I’m allowed.
I’m new to this in every way. That’s one of the benefits of having someone like Allie around. I was straightforward with them and asked how the studio searching would play out. They dropped some names. I’ll not drop those names here, but they were major network studios. Then they gave us a timeline on when the searching would begin, and also gave us a clear picture on what the market looks like right now. Especially in the aftermath of the Covid lock down, which altered the landscape of TV and film in the short term. They were honest and direct. I like honest and direct. Rich, Tara, and Becca gave me the full picture of what may happen. All the variables. I was pleased.
After the meeting, Allie and I had our own meeting and discussed what we thought. I liked that The Gotham Group had worked with notable Native authors before. They had experience taking literature from Native writers to the studios. I honestly did not expect that. It was a pleasant surprise. Plus, the two Native names they mentioned were larger than life writers–bestsellers. I was impressed. I thought, Okay, these folks know how to work with Natives. Another strong point was that Allie had worked with Rich on other projects. This gave me confidence because Allie had prior working experience with Rich. She knew what to expect and said amazing things. The short side of this? We said, “Yes.” An enthusiastic, “Yes.” The Gotham Group was the right fit.
If you’d like to take a look at their credentials or would like to reach out to them regarding my debut novel, CALLING FOR A BLANKET DANCE, here is a link to their site: https://gotham-group.com/about/
I’m realistic. I know the journey to TV and film can be a long process. But what an important step for a new writer such as myself. Especially one who came from an impoverished background. I didn’t have educated parents and a stable home. As you read CALLING FOR A BLANKET DANCE, you’ll get an idea of the life I’ve lived. It’s fictional, but I’m the style of writer who pulls directly from his personal experiences. For someone like myself to land at the starting gate is a major feat in itself. Now imagine when I start running. No one has more speed and endurance than a wounded dog running off its adrenaline.