Way back in 1986, my mother and I had to travel to the city from my small town every month to get my braces adjusted. At the time, there was a new song by Anne Murray that was played all the time on the radio. I can’t recall exactly but I think I shushed my mother to be quiet one time when it was playing. As you can imagine, she wasn’t impressed. Among the comments that came out of her mouth was “I want to meet her…” and thus is the origin of the title of my screenplay My Mother Wants to Meet Anne Murray.
I kept that title stored in my memory bank for many years. At first, it developed into a short story about the trips to the orthodontist my mother and I took every month. Then, many years later, once I discovered screenwriting, the title appeared again. This time however, instead of a story inspiring a title, the title inspired a story of a dysfunctional family from Ohio who embark on a road trip to Canada after the mother wins a contest to meet Anne Murray.
The screenplay has gone through many drafts until now, that I’m satisfied that what I have written I can be proud to show to anyone. It would mean a lot to me to not only have this script optioned, but to have it made into a film. I think it would be especially well received in Canada considering the subject matter. The only problem (well, besides me getting this script optioned in Canada) is that I need the consent of Anne Murray – and she’s retired.
Getting her to pop her head out of retirement is not the only hurdle – my script also includes several of her songs (which need to be licensed); her name is a registered trademark; and she makes a cameo appearance at the end of the film. These were all major roadblocks until she DID pop her head out of retirement with her appearance on Family Guy last night.
It was a major coup for the show to get her. Even though Seth McFarlane explained his history between him and her music, you don’t get a major music act to make a cameo appearance as a voiced character with several of her songs featured on the show unless Seth is truly an admirer of Anne Murray. He may even (like so many others) be a closet Anne Murray fan.
Regardless, it was nicely done and surprisingly respectful considering Family Guy has had many other guest stars and has dragged them through both the mud and a meat grinder. I think it was a nice touch that she was able to mention the song’s writer – Gene MacLellan. It was a neat little feather in Anne Murray’s cap – a pop culture moment on her resume and probably generated more interest in Canada than south of the border – the U.S., not Mexico – because Anne Murray is one of the symbols of Canada, much like maple syrup, hockey and Canadian bacon.
Now that I know that Anne Murray has not totally gone into permanent retirement hibernation, the chances for my screenplay to see the light of day – or even having her make a cameo in the film have just increased tenfold! It’s still a longshot, but at least it makes me happy that the chance is there and the door is not shut tight. At least Snowbird will get a lot more airplay out of this.
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