I was wandering through the Land of the Streamers a few nights back, as I am wont to do sometimes, looking for a new series or an old movie that might pique my interest. So many streamers, so many choices, you never know what you’re going to run across.
This time, I ran across one of my own shows: DOORWAYS, the busted pilot I created and filmed back in 1992 for Columbia Pictures and ABC, is being streamed on Amazon Prime. Came as a surprise to me. No one had told me this was happening.
DOORWAYS is the great “What If” of my life. It was an alternate world show, and had the pilot been picked up to series, well, that would have been my own alternate world.
It all started back in 1991. I had been working in television and film since 1986, writing for THE TWILIGHT ZONE, MAX HEADROOM, and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, then moving into development (“development hell,” as they call it out in LA, and with good reason) doing screenplays and pilot scripts for various and sundry movies and TV shows that never got made, but that summer I found myself between assignments, and began a new novel… a fantasy that would, ultimately, become A GAME OF THRONES. I was about a hundred pages into that come fall when my Hollywood agent called. It was “pitch season,” and she had set up meetings for me with ABC, NBC, and Fox, to pitch series concepts.
I had an idea I wanted to sell: an adaptation of “The Skin Trade,” the novella I had written about a hot female private eye and a hypochondriac werewolf collection agent, set in a fictional midwestern city that combined aspects of Chicago and Dubuque, Iowa, both places I had lived. The story had won the World Fantasy Award, and I thought it had the makings of a good television series. So I put the novel aside and hopped on a plane for LA.
I couldn’t just go in with one idea, however. Sometimes, when you do that, you are one sentence into your pitch when the execs say, “sorry, we’re doing something similar,” and the meeting is over five minutes after it began. My agent had urged me to have a second arrow in my quiver. I was pondering that on the plane when a line came back to me, the opening sentence of a much older story of mine, a short fantasy called “The Lonely Songs of Laren Dorr.” There is a girl who goes between the worlds, that one began. I did not think “Laren Dorr” itself would work as a TV series, but that line planted a seed, and by the time I landed at LAX I had the idea that became DOORWAYS.
It was a good thing I did. As it happens, neither NBC nor ABC nor Fox wanted a werewolf show, but I had that second arrow in the quiver… and all three of them responded to the idea we were then calling DOORS. ABC moved fastest, and made me a deal within hours of my leaving that meeting. I spent the rest of 1991 writing — and rewriting, of course — the pilot script, and we got the green light to film early in the new year. I brought in my friend Jim Crocker from my TWILIGHT ZONE days to share showrunning duties with me, and Columbia Pictures Television (where Jim had an overall) as the studio… and that summer we started shooting…
Find out what happened at: A Blast From My Past | DOORWAYS