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A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Devane and I

Watching the premiere of 24: Live Another Day earlier in the week gets me to thinking where it is that I have heard the name of William Devane before...

Once Upon a Time, 24 years ago strangely enough, in September 1990, a client of mine named Barbara Paul called to say that there was a TV movie on NBC by the name of Murder COD being previewed in TV Guide that sounded a lot like her book Kill Fee.

The TV movie and a perfectly respectable cast.  Patrick Duffy, still on Dallas, starred as a police detective, and one William Devane was the bad guy.  Devane was on Knots Landing.

And if it sounded a lot like Barbara Paul's novel Kill Fee -- well, that's because it was.

The book had been under option for a while.  The option had, if memory serves, expired on September 10, which was now a few days in the past.  The producers of the TV movie had not quite forgotten to pay the purchase price for the TV movie, which they should have done months before when the started filming the movie.  And now, the check really was in the mail.

I don't know how it would have played out if they had sent their late check even a coupe of weeks or a month sooner, when the check would have been late but at least within the option period.  Had it come in before we knew the movie and actually been shot and delivered we almost certainly would have cashed it and then been a little perturbed to find put two weeks later that they had screwed us a bit.

But here, the option had expired, the producers had no rights to the movie, and they were planning to show it on NBC in a few days.  So of course the check was returned.

We ended up getting a few dollars more.  Not a lot, I wonder if we could have held out longer and gotten more, but as little as it was it represented a 60% increase in what they needed to have paid had they done so just that wee bit sooner.

So this is my William Devane story that had absolutely nothing to do with William Devane.

You can give a listen to the Audible audio edition of Barbara Paul's novel Kill Fee.

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