Friday, June 30, 2017

Two-Minute Pitch for Roger Seller's "Master of Alaska"

Hey, boss!

What? What? 
Can't you see I'm busy?

No, the snoring makes it impossible

for me to come into the office. 


Because you insist on sleeping in the nude. 

But my personal trainer 
insisted that it's good
 for my chi!
Chi, possibly. Business, definitely not. Anyway, that "gypsy" fortune telleris NOT a personal trainer.

OK, OK. Murgatroyd, 
I'm putting on my running suit
What's the Big Rush? 

It's Marylyn and you've got a client.

That's cool. 
Who is it? 
Barry Lancet again? 

No, it's a guy named Roger Seiler
Tell him, I loved the Pink Panther

Different guy. 
This one is alive. 
and named Roger. 

He says he's got something 
called "Master of.."
Is it a Fifty Shades ripoff? 

Don't think so, 
It's called "Master of Alaska"
OK, I'm dressed

but not decent
Quiet. Send him in. 

Nice to meet you, Peter.
How did you come up with the idea?

I grew up in King Salmon, Alaska as the son of a bush pilot. While I was studying film at UCLA, Dad read a biography of Aleksandr Baranov, the first Russian governor of Alaska, and told me, “Roger, when you get out of film school, you ought to make a movie about the Baranov adventure – it's a terrific story.” When I finally got around to this project, I wrote a screenplay but found that Baranov's story was so rich in material that it needed to be developed first as a historical novel. 

So, you ignored your father for years?
Excellent training for Hollywood.
What’s the Teaser Pitch?

This year is the Sesquicentennial of the 
U.S. purchase of Alaska from Russia,
Excuse me. 
the Sasquatch? 
It's like a Centennial but it's 150 years 
instead of 100 years. 

Too bad, I thought we had a 
monster best-seller on our hands. 
"monster, " get it? 
Ummm, yes. 
Anyway, this year is the Sesquicentennial of the U.S. purchase of Alaska from Russia, which never could have happened, was it not for Aleksandr Baranov preventing the British from snatching Alaska away from the Russians and tacking it onto Canada. 

He was sent to Alaska in 1790 to run the place for Tsarina Catherine the Great for 5 years, but everyone sent to replace him died on the way, so he was stuck there for 28 years. During that time, he was shipwrecked, forced to marry a Native chief's daughter to get food for his men, survived a huge earthquake and tsunami that wiped out the main Russian town that he then rebuilt, endured vicious storms and the massacre of his village at Sitka by Tlingit armed by the British, retook the area in the 5-day Battle of Sitka, then thanks to his Native wife Anna's coaching in empathy, made peace with the Tlingit to stabilize Russian colonization, and as a result of all this, become known then as the world's greatest problem solver.
I have a question. 
Didn't Catherine 
ummm... have relations 
with her horse or something? 
That's just a myth. 

Too bad. 
But she was a lusty woman.
Maybe we can expand her part.
OK, who is your hero and 
how does he change in the book?

Aleksandr Baranov, a charismatic Russian businessman in 1790, goes to Alaska as a tough guy ready to take on whatever challenges came his way and ready to use a whip on anyone who got in his way. He soon learned to admire how the Natives successfully dealt with the brutal wilderness, learned how to work with them, and after marrying a young Alaskan in a Native ceremony--a girl he called Anna, he learned from her the art and heart of empathy that enabled him to make peace with the hostile Tlingit.

What in hell is a Tingle-it? 
Never mind. I don't want to kno
Why did you pick this title?

Master of Alaska describes the story of a man who faced and conquered the challenges of Alaska. It's an easy title to remember, and it implies power and drama in a place that most people already associate with adventure.

What’s the logline?

Master of Alaska is the rip roaring saga of Alaska's first Russian Governor, Aleksandr Baranov -- back in the time of Washington and Jefferson -- who faced incredible challenges in a brutal wilderness against hostile Natives who massacred hundreds of his people, and yet, he won the Battle of Sitka, expanded the Russian empire in the North Pacific, and with the help of his Native wife and their daughter made peace with the powerful Tlingit Indians and became known then as the world's greatest problem solver. 

OK, let’s cut to the chase. 
Why should I, 
the Rich and Handsome
Movie Mogul, 
buy this book?

It's The Revenant with an engaging story and more depth of character. It's a fresh and unique tale about a fascinating part of history and the man who made it happen that most people know nothing about -- and it will captivate them. 

You wanna get “fame and fortune” with a picture that wins Oscars for Best Actor, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, and Best Picture? Here's your ticket. Everyone who has read this book says, "This should be a movie!" And you should make it.

I will! i Will!
Cut this man a check for a million dollars
You're broke, remember?
I don't care. Use my ex-wife's account. 
This is like the Klondike Bar Gold Rush!
We're going to be RICH!

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