After the success of former PayPal COO David Sacks's Thank You for Smoking, Hollywood has renewed its efforts to tap the swollen bank accounts of Silicon Valley's newly wealthy entrepreneurs. But the come-on I've just received is more unusual than most such attempts. The movie in question? A film adaptation of James B. Stewart's DisneyWar, a savage portrait of former Disney CEO Michael Eisner. Eisner drew many enemies in the Valley during his reign at the media company, so there might plausibly be some willing to fund a cinematic poke at him.
And then there's the person advancing the project: Mark Welte, a San Francisco-based copywriter whose achievements, if you can call them that, include naming Nokia's ill-fated N-Gage handheld videogame player. Welte offered me a finder's fee, which I'm afraid I must decline: I'll take my payment in publishing this post and learning what becomes of this odd quest. Welte's email:
Dear Mr. Thomas,
As you're at the epicenter of what makes life in Silicon Valley somuch fun—i.e. the people—I wonder if I might enlist a smidge of truly insightful help from you.
I'm an adopted San Franciscan, working in advertising, making a transition into the film business. My partners in LA and I have a slate of films, offers to finance, two options and three original properties, and a true team of talent, and we're ready to start making movies. We have a unique investment plan for a prospective cash-flowing-partner, one in which our deep-pocketed partner's funds are well protected by government-backed tax breaks and similar vehicles, and we're looking for $4.5MM to get the ball rolling (about a tenth of the money is for development, and the remainder is for a portion of the production, thereby earning us leverage for the back end participation.)
Surely someone in your position knows of some mad money character or two in the Valley who has an interest in Hollywood, and would love to see their name on the big screen as an Executive Producer. If you can be of any assistance in our search, it would be greatly appreciated, and we would reward you with a finder's fee if such a cash flowing partner could be signed.
We're interested in individuals or a small group of investors, only. I have a business plan to share with interested parties. The first film is an adaptation of Pulitzer Prize-winning author James B. Stewart's book, Disney War: it's about Michael Eisner.
Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.