There is a different kind of heartbreak when you see your idea come to life with someone else’s name on it. It’s this crushing blow to your heart, your ego, and gut all at the same time. Everyone who knows your story is angry on your behalf and many push you to get a lawyer. It doesn’t change how devastating the blow is.
So this happened to me. A few years ago, as my capstone project for my Master of Arts in Creative Writing, I created a television show. The show is a family drama sort of like Dynasty except there wasn’t an oil company involved. It was a Hip-Hop record label. The father in my story was an ex-drug dealer who used his money to finance the label. He gets himself into some trouble and ends up having to go to jail. To keep his interests in his company, he puts it all in his protégé’s name and allows the protégé to run the company. Well the drug dealer’s wife is pretty salty about the decision, so for years she tries to find a way to get her hands on the company she believes rightfully belongs to her. She even enlists her daughter as a pawn. However, the daughter and the protégé fall in love with each other and all kinds of drama ensues.
One night a friend of mine sent me a text with a link to a new show that’ll is coming to Fox. This new show is not about a young girl who falls in love with her mother’s perceived nemesis. However, the show is a family drama where the family owns a Hip-Hop record label. The father isn’t an ex-drug dealer, but the mother is and she goes to jail for a long time. When she is released, she wants part of the business she feels rightfully belongs to her as her money funded the label.
Do you see why I feel so jilted? Sure the details aren’t all the same, but enough of them are. I mean dang, I could have at least been a writer on the show. I’m a team player. I would’ve gone for that. A number of folks have asked if I wanted to consult a lawyer. Honestly I don’t. I did spend a couple of years developing what I feel is television gold, but I wasn’t aggressive enough about sending it out. The few people I did send it out to, aren’t on the list of producers or writers for the show. It’d be hard to prove that someone involved came across my piece and used it.
My friend and my aunt tell me that all this means is that my mind is where it should be as a story-teller. People want the stories I have to tell. I’m thankful I’m not a one trick pony and I have other ideas that may be better than the one I have to put to rest. Maybe this is nothing but my introduction to Hollywood.

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