Extracts from my diaries on Wednesday 10th and Thursday 11th April, 2013:
A busy day. Worked on all sorts: the games and novel pitches, the novel sample chapters, and tweaks to the script. All very productive.
I road-tested the novel sample with Emily (daughter, then 13), who really liked it. I then printed it out and proofread very carefully, then sent it to Jon and Piers. They both loved it. Jon made the point of calling me to say so. He got the weird sensation of seeing it through the characters’ eyes.
Just waiting to get the okay from Katie (Williams, my agent at the time at The Agency) and then I’ll send it to Gillian (Redfern, editor at Gollancz).
Last tweaks to ORO (Our Robot Overlords, as it was still titled at the time) before it goes out again to cast, production and finance. It’s looking good.
Also sent the novel pitch and samples to Gillian. Fingers crossed.
I was working my little buns off! You can almost smell the desperation.
I’m often asked about pitches for films and books, so I’ve dug mine out and you can read it here…
OUR ROBOT OVERLORDS
A FILM TIE-IN NOVEL PROPOSAL
The robot invasion was unexpected, swift and catastrophic.
The war lasted eleven days, humanity’s losses were devastating.
The survivors now live in controlled ghettos in servitude to…
OUR ROBOT OVERLORDS
A major independent feature film starring Gillian Anderson and Sir Ben Kingsley, coming summer 2014.
The film shares the gang camaraderie of THE GOONIES, the intensity of DISTRICT 9, and the same heroic mythology of stories like STAR WARS. It’s aimed at the 12a/PG-13 audience: intense action, cool characters, terrifying villains.
THE WORLD OF OUR ROBOT OVERLORDS
“Our intention is to study all sentient thought in the universe. We will scrutinise this knowledge to ensure that no life form will ever threaten us again.”
Earth has been invaded by a malevolent empire of robots from the far side of the galaxy. They claim to be studying sentient life, yet they confine the human survivors in their homes for the duration of the occupation – over seven years.
“Don’t be alarmed. We wish you no harm. However… Disobeying our laws will not be tolerated.”
All humans now have a robotic implant behind their ear. This enables the robots to track our every move. If you step outside, beyond the set boundaries, you get just one warning from a patrolling Sentry. Disobey and you’re nothing but ashes floating on the breeze.
“Dad always said being frightened of something was the best reason to do it.”
Our hero Sean is confined in his home with his mum (Gillian Anderson). He’s convinced that his dad, a missing-in-action RAF fighter pilot, is still alive. He and his gang of mates will figure out how to disable the robot implants.
Sean’s mate Nathan is cocky, full of himself, and the first to run headlong into the action.
Nath’s sister Alex starts as the gloomy Eyeore of the group, but Sean’s heroism will give her hope.
Their neighbour Connor is the runt of the litter, but his ingenuity will save the day on more than one occasion.
They’ll dare to break the robot curfew, follow the trail left by Sean’s father, and will ultimately challenge the entire robot empire.
THE TIE-IN NOVEL
BY MARK STAY
I was always a massive fan of film tie-in novels when I was younger. The revelations in Alan Dean Foster’s STAR WARS, Donald F Glut’s THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, and THE WRATH OF KHAN by Vonda McIntyre were all favourites of mine, revealing backstory not included in the film, deleted scenes and additional dialogue. These books were almost the only way to experience the film while waiting an eternity for either a theatrical re-release or VHS rental.
But the golden age of film tie-ins is long gone, and many are released as an afterthought, bringing in a jobbing writer to hurriedly cobble something together using the script, some storyboards and concept art.
However, as the co-writer of OUR ROBOT OVERLORDS I am uniquely placed to get a head start on the film’s production and release, and produce a novel that every fan of the film will want to read.
Aimed at the same YA/Family audience as the film, the tie-in novel of OUR ROBOT OVERLORDS will get inside the heads of the characters that director Jon Wright and I have created in a way that film cannot. It will be pacy, action-packed, commercial and will be designed to stand-alone as a gripping read.
We also want to make Gollancz full partners in the film. We can offer exclusive additional material: concept art, storyboards, filmmaker/actor Q&As, webchats and much more.
The novel will also be part of a bigger brand-building exercise that includes the film, its sequels, games, toys, collectibles and future books.
There is also a great opportunity for the film-makers and Gollancz to work together; cross-promoting our film to your fanbase of Gollancz Geeks, and your prestigious list of titles to the film’s fans.
Please find attached sample chapters from the proposed book, concept art and storyboards.
To see a sales trailer, using clips from other movies to give you an idea of the tone and style of the film, visit here (I’ve removed the link as it no longer exists).