My brother is a lawyer at a big firm in LA. He does intellectual property, which was actually very courteous of him, since bloglife has me needing advice on copyright issues much more often than criminal problems.
This morning, we had the following text conversation:
Me: I need you to be my lawyer.
Me: I want to sue ABC…
Me: They stole the Designated Survivor idea right out of my brain.
Me: I don’t know how they did it. They must have been following me for years. I came up with that idea when I was 17!
Marc: As your lawyer, I’ll have to advise you that you will have a very difficult time proving access.
Me: But, but…They’re even still following me! When I was watching last night, I said the lines before the characters even did! They stoled ma story!
Marc: Also, ideas can’t be copyrighted, and you never fixed anything in a tangible medium, so you don’t even own a copyright. So, as Edie McClurg said in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, “You’re f***ed.”
Me: I want a new lawyer…
So, yeah. Marc is great and all. Except when he’s totally not willing to be helpful because I “don’t have legal standing” or whatever.
I don’t care. Somehow, I’m telling you people, ABC got access to my brain files. They hacked into my head. It’s the only way to make sense of what’s happening here.
Here’s my story.
In January of 1995, while still just 17, I was a freshman at a small university in Southern California. We had a winter session where you take one class for four weeks in between the fall and spring semesters.
For this particular session, I took a political science class that was fascinating. I loved it.
During one of the lectures, the professor mentioned this concept of the Designated Survivor and showed us the line of succession in case something happens to the President, Vice President, etc.
I got an idea for a novel where a cabinet secretary becomes President of the United States when there is a bomb during the State of the Union address.
I started writing that novel, but, of course, it was 20 years ago and what did I know at 17 about writing a good political novel or getting it published or anything else?
But I’ve thought about that story a lot over the years, always thinking at some point I would go back to it.
And then I started seeing commercials for the new Kiefer Sutherland series Designated Survivor and I was like whoa.
I’ve now watched the first two episodes and I’m even more like whoa.
Particularly during last night’s episode, there were several moments where I said word-for-word what the characters said, before they even said it. What??
There are some differences, of course. I mean, they couldn’t COMPLETELY rip off my brain wave.
For instance, my protagonist was a woman. And also, in my version, there was actually a higher ranking person that survived the bombing, but wasn’t eligible to be President because he wasn’t a natural born citizen.
Otherwise, there are so many similarities it’s actually kind of creepy.
But it’s also kind of cool. Because the show is good. And it makes me realize that I am capable of coming up with really good ideas of things people would actually want to watch/read/etc. Because this isn’t the first time something like this has happened.
Maybe I do have a knack for this creative biz.
Marc ended our conversation this morning by saying: You need to start writing stuff down!
And I really do. Because, yeah…That Oscar isn’t gonna win itself. Or Emmy. Or Golden Globe….
Anyway, have you watched Designated Survivor yet? If so, what do you think? I’m digging it. Still kind of skeptical, but so far, so good.