Wednesday, July 31, 2013

In Whedon We Trust

I've been meaning to compile a list of my favorite podcasts for screenwriters, but in the meantime, here are two great Joss Whedon interviews:

Joss Whedon: A Life In Pictures
Nerdist Podcast: Joss Whedon

Nothing earth shattering, but you get a some useful insights into his process and how he deals with something like writer’s block.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Zombie Week: Night of the Living Dead

Since Hollywood’s love affair with zombies still seems to be going strong, I thought it would be fun to recommend a film that deserves a tremendous amount of the credit.

Surprisingly, locating the script online turned out to be more of a challenge than I had anticipated. I finally stumbled across an interactive version here. According to one of the factoids, it was originally titled, “Night of the Flesh Eaters,” which kind of lacks a certain charm...enjoy!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Zombie Week: In The Flesh

Four years after the Rising, the government starts to rehabilitate the Undead back into the society including teenager Kieren Walker, who returns home to his small Lancashire village to face a hostile reception as well as his own demons. 

I came across an article over on Wired calling In The Flesh “the Thinking Man’s Walking Dead.” Intriguing argument but definitely an exaggeration. There are obviously going to be comparisons, but television is a big enough universe for fans of  two zombie shows to peacefully coexist without having to resort to name calling. Both series have completely different agendas. Walking Dead is a post-apocalyptic survival drama, In The Flesh is more of a post-apocalyptic dramedy. It also sports the clever trick of beginning where many zombie stories end, with humanity surviving. The focus of the series is a reanimated teen trying to find his way back into the world of the living -- which is a little like Warm Bodies, except with heaps of guilt and remorse. 

Just when you start to think all the possibilities have been exhausted, along comes someone like Dominic Mitchell with clever tweaks to the genre. For instance, the Rising brought back folks who had expired in the previous year. The reanimated have to deal with the unresolved issues created by dying the first time around. Kieran’s attempt to reconnect with his family, after we learn the circumstances of his death, is the stuff of good drama. And while the show lacks a villainous character with an eye-patch and a fish tank full of zombie heads, there is the leader of an anti-zombie militia in deep denial about a lot of things. All this and it manages to throw in some gore and a laugh or two along the way. I'll be shocked if there isn't an attempt to remake it for U.S. television. So much for zombie overload...

There was I time when I would have scoffed at the thought of watching a series with a three episode season and then waiting a year for more, but I’ve gotten used to it. Looking forward to series two.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Canceling The (Zombie) Apocalypse!

This isn’t a Pacific Rim post  -- I’ll save my grim box office predictions for later -- but rather a reference to an article from The Wrap last week. Due to the glut of zombie projects in development, Hollywood isn't clamoring for more material. Apparently, an A-Lister like Brad Pitt starring in the big budget ($190 million!?!) World War Z was the final nail in the coffin. I guess its like teens abandoning slang after Mom and Dad start using it...

Folks, you might as well delete that zombie spec needlessly taking up space on the hard drive. As a matter of fact, get rid of specs about superheroes, aliens, ghosts, found footage, heists, fast cars, horny teens, monsters, time travel, vampires, exorcisms, serial killers, assassins, spies, psychics, werewolves, fairy tales, westerns, robots, wizards, witches and you’ll be fine.

The article probably makes sense if you’re constantly trying to chase the hot trend of the moment, but I’m a firm believer in writing what I like. Crazy, I know. One producer suggested that we have to innovate, but isn't that always the case? So while mainstream Hollywood might be suffering from zombie overload, there’s always going to be a demand from horror fans. Besides, by the time I finish my zombie pilot spec, the genre might be hot again...

Anyway, this topic is a perfect opportunity to fill out the rest of the week with thoughts on a bevy of zombie tv/films that I’ve neglected to blog about. Expect some musings on Warm Bodies and In The Flesh shortly.


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