Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Darkchylde


Moviegoers aren't exactly crying out for another comic book adaptation, but John Carpenter at the helm will definitely generate interest. Not too familiar with the source material — except that it's about a teen who can transform into the monsters from her nightmares.

Here's a bit of test footage that's been floating around for a while:



The Action/Horror genre continues to be a safe haven for female driven action films. Given the success of the Underworld and Resident Evil franchises, it's surprising that Hollywood hasn't tried harder to cash in on this niche.

Sounds like the Buffy reboot is really going to happen, without Joss Whedon. Really bad idea. A few other comic book properties with female protags have been in development for a while: Witchblade, Hack/Slash and Magdalena. I think Magdalena is the furthest along. It has a star (Jenna Dewan), script and a director (Ryuhei Kitamura) already in place. How long can this comic book movie bubble last? I think we're going to find out in 2011.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Red Riding Hood



Maybe it's just me, but I think the trailer gave away too much. I'm getting a Village vibe, minus the big Shyamalan twist. Does Catherine Hardwicke have enough Twilight mojo to lure in Twi-Hards looking for another paranormal romance fix until Breaking Dawn? Your guess is as good as mine. Ultimately, I suspect folks might be disappointed with the eventual payoff — haven't read the script yet, just going off my theory based on the trailer.

This is just the first of several fairy tale adaptations Hollywood has in the works. Snow White and The Huntsman is supposed to be the next big thing. If RRH tanks, those projects in development may suddenly come to a screeching halt. Honestly, I don't see ninety minutes of story here. While there is a love triangle and a werewolf (supposedly) in the mix, there's something off... too mature for its intended tween target audience?

There's a great interview with Hardwicke about the film over on latimes.com. Originally, she was hoping for an $80M budget (!!), but had to settle for $42M. The most fascinating portion of the article deals with the effort it took to get the film greenlit: cutting a trailer, using her paintings/drawings to sell the visuals and tone. Something to consider...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Amazon Studios

Now here's something worth investigating. Apparently, Amazon.com is going into the movie business with Amazon Studios. They're looking for the best scripts and films to put up on the big screen. You can read the FAQ here.

Keep in mind, Zoetrope and Triggerstreet have been doing this sort of thing for years — minus the monthly cash prizes. I have yet to hear about the writer who was plucked from digital obscurity and dropped into screenwriting superstardom. Why am I suddenly getting Project Greenlight flashbacks? Toxic message boards. Torpedoed reviews. Sludging through god-awful screenplays written by total newbies. Ahh, good times... not.

The process allows anyone to submit revisions of the scripts online!?! Never fear, the original script isn't actually replaced. Everything is grouped together, original with alternate drafts. The waters seem a bit muddy when it comes divvying up the prize money between the original writer and "guest" collaborator(s).

This is one of those ideas that sounds really great on paper, but eventually turns into one big clusterf***. Who's going to read/watch all these scripts and movies!? The judging process is vague at best. And with no entry fee, but the promise of $140,000 a month in prizes, can you say zero quality control? Additionally, some folks are bristling at the 18 month exclusivity that Amazon gets with your script.

While I wouldn't upload one of my more recent screenplays, I might take a shot with an oldie just taking up space on the hard drive. It's highly doubtful this contest will amount to anything, but you never know... and it is free.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Battle: Los Angeles



You've probably seen the trailer by now, but did you know there was an actual Battle of Los Angeles in 1942? Not quite a battle, but still an interesting little piece of UFO history. Those Ancient Alien specials on The History Channel are full of sci-fi story starters like this. From what I can tell, Battle: Los Angeles doesn't reference the alleged event — excised from an early draft of the script? Maybe someone thought it was too similar to Independence Day referencing Roswell.

Hollywood loves material based on true stories. They even like stories "inspired" by actual events. It's a great hook to mention in a query letter.


Asylum, the folks behind cinematic classics such as Transmorphers, Titantic II (you heard me) and Snakes on a Train, also have the upcoming "Battle of Los Angeles." Their low budget version appears to be more tied to the event. Although it's lacking in star power and special effects, I'm kind of intrigued.

Big budget films like Cowboys and Aliens, I am Number Four, Green Lantern, etc. will be at a theater near you in 2011. I sense the start of a trend...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Insanity


What's the definition of insanity again? Doing the same thing over and over then expecting a different result. Sounds an awful lot like querying. I just finished my latest campaign. Now the wait begins. Still focusing on production companies, but the next wave will likely include managers. I need a little more time to finish my current thriller.

Earlier in the week, I retweeted an interesting article about querying actors in the hopes of generating some buzz for a script. Seems like a tricky prospect. A-listers are probably unattainable and a B-list name won't do squat for a big tent pole script. However, a lower budget script with recognizable names (an up and comer, former A-lister, TV star, someone from overseas, etc.) might get you somewhere. It really comes down to finding that ideal match between star power and budget. The odds aren't in our favor, but it's worth a shot.

Monday, November 08, 2010

The Blood List (2010)

The list of the best unproduced horror scripts for 2010 is out!

Scriptshadow has a link to a .pdf of the full list with title, author and reps.
Tracking-board.com also has a copy, along with some loglines.

Here's the top 10:

1. DARK CONTINENT by David Portlock
2. THE LAST WITCH HUNTER by Cory Goodman
3. SKIN by Adam Alleca
4. HELL'S ACRE by Damian Nieman & Shane Clark
5. KIYO by Alex Daltas
6. SPRAWL by Jordan Goldberg & Alex Paraskevas
7. NOCTURNE by Andre Fabrizio & Jeremy Passmore
8. EIGHT BALL by Keith Kjornes
9. CURE by Beau Thorne
10. CHRONICLE by Max Landis

Slasher. Supernatural. Slivers of Sci-Fi. Pretty diverse subject matter. Based on the loglines, DARK CONTINENT seems the most promising. I also like the sound of NOCTURNE and CHRONICLE. It's all subjective, but congrats to the writers. I got a whole lotta reading to do. The immediate value of the Blood List to folks like us lies in the names of reps. Start working on those query letters. Maybe we'll make the cut next year!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

What Are You Looking At?


Even though The Event has been picked up for the rest of the season, it still seems to be on the same trajectory as ABC's short-lived FlashForward. I have an upcoming post on how I'd try to turn things around...


Dear J.J. Abrams,

Viewers have much shorter attention spans since the days of Hart to Hart, and networks are far less nurturing. Cutesy just doesn't cut it anymore. I've seen more conflict on episodes of She Spies — anyone remember that one? Undercovers was a flawed concept from day one. It's almost as if the show expected to ride a post-racial wave of buzz generated by its color-blind casting and totally forgot about a little thing called storytelling. So long sexpionage...


Sunday's premiere was a solid effort. However, I did have some minor quibbles: the scene in the car between Grimes and Shane was interminable. Broke a cardinal rule of screenwriting by telling and not showing. The intention was to establish the two characters with dialogue, but you can better define them through their actions. And honestly, the eventual payoff wasn't even worth it. Also, the opening in the hospital was a little too reminiscent of 28 Days Later. While I understand the sequence comes directly from the comic, that didn't make it any less stale. With all that said, I'm still looking forward to see how things play out. Only five episodes left though. The ratings were huge for cable, 5.3 million viewers — that might be more than Wednesday's episode of Undercovers. But how many will be back for seconds?


BTW, new Fringe tonight!

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