You can find a little background on Dish Dogs here: How I optioned and sold my first screenplay Dish Dogs
Shortly after Nathan Ives and I optioned Dish Dogs we took a couple of passes at the script making changes that the producers requested. We met with Sean Astin who was interested in directing the script. He seemed to like the script but had a lot of problems with it, too, and many of his friends and family seemed to be trying to steer him away from the project. After meeting with him he seemed to want lots and lots of changes which I didn’t think were needed – and in fact the producers were telling us that they didn’t think it needed any further changes either. I never heard exactly what happened but soon afterwards we got word that Sean was no longer the director on the project, which suited us just fine since he seemed to want too many changes.
In hindsight this was the biggest mistake we made in dealing with the producers. Nathan and I should have really fought for Sean as a director. Sean seemed hard working and eager to make a good movie. Our script had problems and Sean recognized that even though Nathan and I didn’t. If he had directed the film I think he would have made the effort to work with Nathan and I on the script and together we would have made a good film.
A few months later I called the producers and asked them how things were going. I could hear the producer I was talking to cover the phone and say, “hey, it’s one of the original writers on Dish Dogs.” I knew that wasn’t a good sign. Basically the funding was moving forward very slowly and the producers and director were just waiting around for filming to begin. With literally nothing to do they just started to re-write the script almost out of boredom. One of the producers had given the script to his hairdresser and gotten notes from him! I’m not kidding. Nathan and I read the new version of the script in sheer horror. It went from our script that the producers said needed “no changes” to something completely different – and in our opinion worse.
We had a few meetings with them and were willing to work with them to make changes but at that point the script wasn’t ours anymore and they didn’t really want to hear what we had to say.
Nearly six months into the option they got their funding and paid us for the script.
Nathan and I were on the set several times and they were always very gracious to us. In fact they were some of the coolest dudes you’d ever want to hang out with on a movie set. Unfortunately we had very different artistic sensibilities. It’s hard to say whether our original script was really better than what was produced, maybe, maybe not. Our script did have problems but I don’t think the producers were able to solve the problems and in trying they ripped the heart and soul out of the story (at least in my opinion).
I’ve posted the script online and you can still buy or rent the movie so you can weigh in on which version you think is better by leaving a comment below.
It’s available from Netflix on demand as of this writing or you can buy it from Amazon here: Buy Dish Dogs at Amazon.com.
If you want to read the original screenplay you can do so by going here: download the original screenplay for Dish Dogs.
The screenplay is formatted incorrectly so please do not use it as any sort of style guide for screenwriting. The original screenplay was written in Word Perfect 5.0 before I had any sort of screenwriting software so I used custom macros to format it. The macros didn’t work (of course) when I opened it years later in Wordpad so much of the formatting was lost when I created this online text version.