Screenwriter, Frank Rogala, has made a last ditch YouTube.com video "pitch" to save his movie. After six years of research, writing and rewriting, in February 2008, Rogala will lose the rights to the story his screenplay is based on.
Complicating matters, the Writers Guild of America strike has shut down Hollywood's normal channels of communication. As a first time writer, Rogala is not a member of the guild and violates no agreements by trying to place the screenplay with a production company or studio.
The screenplay is based on the book Retards, Rebels and Slackers by Jaina Bell, a no holds barred story of a staff member working in group homes for the developmentally disabled. The author drew upon 9 years experience as a staff member in group homes to create a realistic picture of the developmentally disabled that intrigued Rogala, who found the book while he was finishing his first film, Won't Anybody Listen.
Won't Anybody Listen, a feature length documentary, was picked up for theatrical distribution by Seventh Art Releasing, and critically acclaimed by major publications (The New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety and The Los Angeles Times). Television broadcast rights were bought by the Sundance Channel and Netflix now holds DVD rights.
The screenplay has been retitled There's No Place Like "A Home". Described as Superbad meets One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, the film is a drama/comedy. "Bringing a story like this to the screen requires a deft touch," explains Rogala. "The story has roles for dozens of developmentally and intellectually disabled actors. Mental Retardation Specialists warned me that family members and friends of the developmentally disabled could be very emotional. There was a 'hate' email campaign started against the project when it was first announced," Rogala reveals. "After that, I made sure to explain the genesis of the whole project and my intentions on the web page for the film . When you feature the intellectually and developmentally disabled in a comedy you walk a fine line between humor and exploitation. I feel like I finally have it right. Professional readers that I hired to help me review the various drafts of the screenplay have commented that the screenplay has a number of meaty roles for actors and actresses and is precisely the type of story that critics and the academy love," Rogala explained.
"I am hoping that a bankable actor or actress will fall in love with the project and save it from oblivion," said Rogala. The video makes a plea to the public to use their "seven degrees of separation" network to help get word of the screenplay to just such an actor or actress.