My friends at Midriff Records are launching a blog which label founder/Beatings frontman/college buddy/all-around-good guy Eldridge Rodriguez describes as “only peripherally music oriented, because when it comes to bands we won’t pretend to be impartial about who we think should get the public’s attention. It’s more of a lifestyle or things we dig blog which usually centers around us getting drunk and making fun of people.”
Needless to say, I was thrilled when they asked me to contribute a piece. The only editorial direction I was given was to write “something about your book,” which came out five years ago this week. I decided I’d write about all the strange (and often scummy) people who come into your life when you write a book that has the potential to be made into a movie.
I’m going to let Midriff have all the glory of publishing this piece in its entirety for the first time, but I figured I’d start you with a taste over here and link you to their new blog as soon as it’s up and running:
The first one came even before the book was released: an ex-actor who said he wanted to get into directing and maybe star in the film version of the adaptation of my book. He didn’t give up when he figured out there was no six-figure book advance, that I had no money to invest in a film: the best I could do was spot him $84 for a room in a hooker-ridden hotel when he came to Boston to meet me.
When the publisher told him they wouldn’t sell the film rights to someone with no film making experience, he decided he was going to make a documentary about releasing a book. He rented an impressive looking camera for my book release party, but he didn’t rent lights, so most of the footage he shot was unusable. He spent most of that night, plus time at a similar event in Pittsburgh, hitting on my friends. I saw him one more time, when the gangster I had written about met him in New York City and he shot footage of Ron going to his old haunts: the Chelsea Hotel, Long Beach, the Diamond District.
I didn’t hear from him after that, and I didn’t really want to: I had managed to get my hands on a copy of one of the two indie films he had “starred” in (the other one had only been released in Greece and had never even managed to go straight to video). He played the villain in a low-budget kids flick and, frankly, had every scene he was in stolen by the kid hero.
The official line on my book, Blood & Volume: Inside New York’s Israeli Mafia is that it got great reviews but it didn’t sell well, partly because the publisher filed for bankruptcy shortly after it was released and partly because not enough people got killed in it. Yet a lot of the handful of the people who read it picked up on the fact that I wrote it in three acts. They picked up on the fact that I was begging for someone to make it into a film.
And that has meant a steady stream of people with promises coming into and out of my life over the past five years.