A MESSAGE FROM VALERIE O'CONOR
Long blip coming up. Set those patience meters on high.
I was trained in screenwriting years ago by Francis Coppola; I worked with him four years, starting with recording the horse sound efx on "Black Stallion," then learning the ropes on "Apocalypse Now," certainly one of the mega-projects of all time. Hell of an introduction to the business. Did script work for some years, then left my birthplace of L.A., which was a great idea. Spent years as a trainer/instructor in eventing, dressage and foxhunting, and taught Riding 101 to new polo players, plus club promotion as I turned out to be a lousy player. Have spent thousands of hours in barns in five countries. I’m ripe for the job of writing a polo feature.
The opening minutes of the film in Wellington seems like it's going to be all flashy high-goal stuff, but it quickly moves to Argentina and becomes much more about the big family dynasty who runs the polo-school estancia, featuring the formidable family patriarch. (The family’s close relationship with our hero comes from a friendship starting in 1902 in Argentina, between the grandfathers.) The family now has a wad of 10-goal grandsons/nephews (sound familiar?), but I can't leave out the petiseros and trainers/gauchos, plus the global guests at the 1880's estancia – amateur players, women players, beginners, disapproving wives/husbands, groupies… And of course, there’s a love interest -- a famed Argentine novelist and granddaughter of the family, who gradually shifts our bad boy away from his downhill playboy life to something more genuine. He doesn't become a goody-goody kind of guy, but he DOES crawl back through a hundred impossible obstacles to being a man of integrity, where his word is worth something again.
I'm in the perfect spot in Argentina to see behind the scenes. And that's what it's all about, not just a bunch of society people in white tents and mega-buck patrons -- though there IS one of those who hires our 9-goal American pro, a Texas billionaire in Argentina to see the Open and buy scads of horses to ship to U.S.; he also hires two Argentine players (one a 10-goaler from the family, one a gaucho player) to join our hero and the patron to play a season in Santa Barbara, well, it goes on from there, you get the gist. A subplot with good guys and bad guys and big money gives us plenty of jeopardy and the momentum to work through the "top story" into the deeper drama of the people. It turned epic by itself; I swear I started out with a simpler story. I'm no biggie, but the story IS; I just work for the story. It's commercial, it's fresh and timely, nobody has done it. A good mainstream movie about polo is likely to give the sport a big boost and create new members, sponsors, spectators, media... Now THAT'S promoting the sport. Bigtime.
So, that’s my story and I’m stickin' to it.
Please friends, don't pass this information outside the site without permission (yes, it's registered). In L.A., stories are serious secrets. But out here in La Pampa, in the middle of the research and writing, I choose to break some rules to keep it moving. If the nasty plagiarists in L.A. run off with it, no worries. I'll just hang myself up on the meat hook on the big old eucalyptus tree near here and bleed out. Hah.
IN THE MEANTIME...
May I wish you all to feel INSPIRED, MOVED, AND IMPASSIONED. It's a damn fine way to live.
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