Ten years ago, I wrote a movie script. I was freelancing for an ad agency and we had a pro bono client that was an orphanage. That’s understating it. Boys Ranch is an entire community in the Texas panhandle that solely exists to raise 400 at-risk kids that the world has tossed aside. It’s been doing this for more than 80 years.
We were there to see how we could help with fundraising efforts. The team I was a part of spent a day or two with the administrators, the kids, teachers, coaches, house parents. I came away with the sense that these people were truly doing the Lord’s work. Taking in kids who, through no fault of their own, found themselves with no family and no support. In some cases, both parents might be in jail, or a drug abuse program, or simply not able to care for a child. Boys Ranch takes them in.
I came away and thought – this would be a great movie, somebody should write it. Then I thought, why not me? I can write a 60-second commercial. How hard could another 119 minutes be?
Well, that answer is very hard, but that’s another story. Whoever coined the phrase ignorance is bliss, had my number.
So I wrote the screenplay. Through my commercial work, I knew a producer/director and she signed on to produce the film for a ridiculously low budget. We pitched to a financing group affiliated with Boys Ranch and got a greenlight. The rewrites started, and the producer and I turned out to have wildly different views about what the movie should be. I wrote a story about the kids. She said it had to be about the coach’s journey. We went back and forth until one day I was handed a check and fired off my own movie. The moral of that story is to get a producing credit so you can’t get fired.
I didn’t hear much about the film after that. I learned the name changed. I heard there were people attached, but nothing else. I figured it was just one of the zillions that never get produced.
Then recently, I saw a press release that the president of Boys Ranch had retired, and a new person was replacing him on an interim basis. I Googled to see what had happened, and low and behold, I got a hit on the gala premiere of the film that happened – two and a half years ago.
It got made. I have a produced credit on IMDB. For a full-length feature. Apparently, it’s never found distribution, but it lives. It’s got 5.5 stars out of a possible 10, so I might have been right on the script, but it’s out there. There’s a trailer, and a poster, and an IMDB page with my name on it as a screenwriter. But I can’t find it online.
Hopefully, one day I’ll get to see it.