We’ve all had our hearts warmed by the YouTube clip of 80 year old Alzheimer’s sufferer,Ted Mc Dermott , singing “Quando” in his son’s car and now being given a record deal. I was particularly moved by this story, as my own father, who died from Alzheimers two years ago, had been quite the chanteur in his time and ” Raindrops Are Falling on my Head” had with him a similar affect. That and Oklahoma!
Back to the record deal, and the single chosen for Ted was Sinatra’s “You make me Feel so Young”. My heart sank. I don’t mind telling you the reason : all this was part of my current ( as yet unfinished) screenplay. The elderly Dementia patient, being driven back to the care home, sings along to that very song. All this was conceived at least a year ago.
I’m not the first to feel like this,nor will I be the last. How must David Chase have felt when, having worked on the Sopranos for years, the De Niro/Crystal vehicle Analyse This hits the screens? “No problem “, as Tony would say.The Sopranos went on to win 106 awards from 257 nominations ( with many for original writing).
This must happen to loads of us (not the awards/noms bit) but the sudden emergence of a play/TV series/film that is so like yours it isn’t funny. A friend, on finishing an early draft of a northern snooker play, ends up in Sheffield watching Richard Bean’s The Nap, a northern snooker play.
Another friend pens what he thinks will be a great hit – a play about the affair between Scott Thorson and Liberace – and up pops Michael Douglas from Behind the Candleabra.
I can only attribute it to the Z word – zeitgeist. It’s almost like there are ideas floating around in the ether and they find their way to writers all over the place, a bit like Santa being able to give a bike to a boy in Oz, while at the same time delivering a doll to some girl in Sweden. Ideas and inspiration are like Christmas gifts and we shouldn’t moan when others have the great good fortune to receive, just make sure when we get ours we are grateful, use it wisely and don’t let the batteries run dry.