Here is my reply, sent on October 20, 2015, to the October 19 email from screenwriter Diana Amsterdam that you read in the previous blog post:

Hello Diana,

Thank you so much for your comments in the email below. They are right on the mark, honest, and very constructive — exactly what I had hoped for. I am in full agreement with all the points you made. I would very much like to work with you further on this and am absolutely willing to “crack the egg” as you noted. With your assistance I feel the odds of that are at least greater than any “pecking” I would do on my own. You’ll find me to be easy to work with, flexible in my thinking, and creative.

This project serves a dual purpose for me. Beyond developing something that would be marketable as a film (certainly the most challenging part but a lifelong goal of mine) I’m using this project to educate children about the goal setting process taught in my book — so persistence is key and giving up not an option. You might have noticed that one of the products I’m developing at Teach History is a unit and lesson plans on goal setting tied in with my eBook.

My goal can certainly evolve based on where the process takes me. That’s the exciting part. Every journey begins with a single step and my objective before contacting someone like yourself was to put my best foot forward realizing that I had just about zero knowledge of the field I was trying to break in to. I’m grateful for your willingness to assist me further. Can you let me know what you recommend for next steps and the associated cost? Look forward to your reply.

All the best,

Diana’s reply, sent on October 21, 2015, opened with the following:

Dear Ben,

Good for you, reacting in this way! Indeed, you are determined and decisive about your path. For my part, I’ve been absorbing your story, and percolating. This isn’t something I do on purpose; occasionally, it just happens–a very good sign! Great stories, in my opinion, are there in the world of truth, waiting to be seen and shaped by a writer. Your story may be one of those.

Let’s commence.

My best recommendation is to go forward immediately with the screenplay. I know that if you decide to do this, you will make a commitment to go the distance. This is very important.

The screenplay will be set in the present. We want to create something that has a chance in the marketplace. What’s more, I’ve just begun a production company, Brass Ring Pictures LLC, with a partner in Kentucky, and we will be well set up, by the time your screenplay is finished, to go out with it.

Ben’s note: Diana went on in her email to pass along information that I’ll need to keep confidential such as her excellent initial ideas for modifying my story into something marketable and her price for writing an original screenplay.

After Diana’s input, I revisited my goal: To turn a children’s book that teaches American history, the power of imagination, and the value of goal setting into a feature film or made-for-TV movie. I realized that my true goal was actually greater than that. What I’m really aiming for is creating a feature film or made-for TV movie that includes the story of Philip Edwards and utilizes that story, in some fashion, to positively impact the lives of children. I felt the initial ideas for the screenplay that Diana shared with me would move me closer to that objective.

So… would my journey have a Brooklyn connection?

I’m thrilled to announce that today, October 26, 2015, I signed a contract with screenwriter Diana Amsterdam hiring her to produce an original screenplay based, in part, on elements in my children’s book One April in Boston: The Gift of the Spyglass. I have great confidence that she will do a remarkable job. The screenplay will be completed in 32 weeks (early June 2016) and I’ll update readers on our progress in this blog. I’ll be serving as Producer on the project, which has lead me to my fifth action step — reading books to educate myself about the screenwriting process and the elements of a screenplay which include the Inciting Incident — what sets the hero of the story on his/her quest.

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