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View Full Version : How do I leverage the Coen Bros. "True Grit"?


LauriD
02-17-2010, 03:24 AM
So the Coen Bros. are doing a remake of one of my favorite Westerns, True Grit, and it's scheduled for a Christmas Day 2010 release. It's going to be told from the POV of the teenage female lead as in the original novel.

http://screencrave.com/2010-01-20/coen-brothers-true-grit-to-debut-on-christmas/

Given their history, it's likely to cause at least a modest renewed interest in Westerns, and it's already being talked of as award-bait.

So how do I leverage this into reads for my own award-winning female-lead Western? Do I need to wait until it comes out and try to hit the 15-minute window?

Lauri

The Road Warrior
02-17-2010, 05:07 AM
I think any answer to this is at best a reasoned guess, but perhaps as early as possible because if your script is bought and made, that will take, what .... 1-3 years, pre/post production time.
If the script is known about town, they can at least go back to it, time for it to grow/repute. And wont all the other scripts hoping to catch the same trend follow the Coen's release date? A glut of derivative westerns !
:)

NikeeGoddess
02-17-2010, 05:40 AM
what road warrior said. don't wait. if it's market-ready then put it out there. no one makes a decision on the spot. if they read it tomorrow and see true grit in december, they may give you a surprise call in february 2011.

also - if i were you i'd try to market to an actor to play your lead role. she may be an a-list with some pull or may have her own production company. look what drew barrymore did for her career? a lot of young female actors want to follow in her footsteps.

sc111
02-17-2010, 10:06 AM
Wow. Another writer with a female lead western spec? I don't feel alone anymore. :) The thing is -- mine's not finished. I set it aside because I thought it was such a long shot. But if your script is ready -- why not query.

roscoegino
02-17-2010, 11:26 AM
Hey, Laura. I love to see proactive female characters of all types, so I wish you the best of luck. Hopefully people have forgotten BAD GIRLS and that flick with Sharon Stone.

By the way, has anyone whipped up an unproduced script on this female outlaw (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laura_Bullion)?

grant
02-17-2010, 11:27 AM
I hate to be a downer, still wish you the best of luck, etc, etc, but have the Coen Bros. ever started a trend? Sure they get critical acclaim. Make some fine movies. Some not so fine. But isn't part of their charm that they're entirely removed from Hollywood trends and off in their own little universe?

Not that I'd mind some more westerns out there...

Geoff Alexander
02-17-2010, 01:21 PM
I hate to be a downer, still wish you the best of luck, etc, etc, but have the Coen Bros. ever started a trend? Sure they get critical acclaim. Make some fine movies. Some not so fine. But isn't part of their charm that they're entirely removed from Hollywood trends and off in their own little universe?

Not that I'd mind some more westerns out there...

Yeah, their project and the OP's project pretty much exist in different dimensions.

Laura Reyna
02-17-2010, 01:45 PM
There are westerns with female leads that come out from time to time... THE MISSING with C Blancett a few yrs ago... and that M Stowe script has gotten a lot of attention...

But seems these types of projects originate from people already in the industry. The Coens' project is another example of this. It's a pre-branded property & they are already established filmmakers.

A female centric western is not a good bet for a spec script. Too many strikes against it. I think the best you can hope for is that someone loves the writing and it opens doors that way.

Good luck.

:)

joe9alt
02-17-2010, 05:07 PM
I hate to be a downer, still wish you the best of luck, etc, etc, but have the Coen Bros. ever started a trend? Sure they get critical acclaim. Make some fine movies. Some not so fine. But isn't part of their charm that they're entirely removed from Hollywood trends and off in their own little universe?

Not that I'd mind some more westerns out there...

Really?

You don't think the success of NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN didn't positively impact the eventual sale of a project like THE LOW DWELLER and later on THE GUNSLINGER? People pitch stuff as "the next No Country" all the time.

That said, I think the OP will get further pitching the project with a great, standalone logline and should steer clear of pitching the project as the next "next" TRUE GRIT. :cool:

grant
02-17-2010, 06:58 PM
Really?

You don't think the success of NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN didn't positively impact the eventual sale of a project like THE LOW DWELLER and later on THE GUNSLINGER? People pitch stuff as "the next No Country" all the time.


There's a big difference between positively impacting an few eventual sales, and starting a genuine trend. Obviously if you can compare your story to a successful, profitable, critically acclaimed movie it can't hurt. But I don't think the Coen Brothers have ever started a trend like Torture Porn or Raunchy Comedy or J-Horror or Superhero Movies.

So... even if True Grit does well, either financially or critically... I think that will be largely attributed to that Coen Brother magic. Is there anything those boys can't do? Not to the fact that it was a western with a girl. I don't think it'll set off a revival in Westerns any more than 3:10 to Yuma did.


That said, I think the OP will get further pitching the project with a great, standalone logline and should steer clear of pitching the project as the next "next" TRUE GRIT. :cool:

I concur.

Biohazard
02-17-2010, 07:40 PM
A female centric western is not a good bet for a spec script. Too many strikes against it. I think the best you can hope for is that someone loves the writing and it opens doors that way.

That is quite possible. Write it well enough and it might place in some contests.

roscoegino
02-18-2010, 11:54 AM
A female centric western is not a good bet for a spec script. Too many strikes against it.

This begs the question: what is a good bet for a spec? I'm beginning to think there's no such thing aside from writing the best spec you can.

Ulysses
02-19-2010, 02:17 AM
So the Coen Bros. are doing a remake of one of my favorite Westerns, True Grit, and it's scheduled for a Christmas Day 2010 release. It's going to be told from the POV of the teenage female lead as in the original novel.

http://screencrave.com/2010-01-20/coen-brothers-true-grit-to-debut-on-christmas/

Given their history, it's likely to cause at least a modest renewed interest in Westerns, and it's already being talked of as award-bait.

So how do I leverage this into reads for my own award-winning female-lead Western? Do I need to wait until it comes out and try to hit the 15-minute window?

Lauri

I don't think leverage is the right word for an unsold and unproduced screenwriter.

We are, in a way, the people in the dark until we produce something that gives light on its own, and suddenly we can be seen.

Some people believe in writing with one eye to the marketplace.

I'm not of this camp. One eye for me, one eye for the audience (derived from the sailor's "one hand for you, one hand for the ship" (or you'll fall into the water and disappear without ever being seen again).

Focus on what you'd like to see on the screen.

There can be some nice coincidences like a hit movie of the same genre shaking the industry just at the time when you start sending out your script... but you shouldn't count on it. It's pure chance.

Stay within yourself and be independent. That's much more attractive and gives a much more interesting script.

Laura Reyna
02-19-2010, 03:40 PM
This begs the question: what is a good bet for a spec? I'm beginning to think there's no such thing aside from writing the best spec you can.

This is purely my opinion... The best specs to write are comedies & thrillers.

If you can write funny, write a comedy with a good hook & a male protagonist.... or a Rom Com with a female protag...

If you can't write funny, write a Thriller with a good hook & a male protagonist.

Obviously, the comedies have to funny & the thrillers have to be thrilling.

I don't write funny so I write thrillers. I like sc-fi & fantasy, which is popular in the marketplace, so that's what I write.

:)

LauriD
12-15-2010, 12:42 AM
So "True Grit" is opening on the 22d.... and rated 100% "fresh" last time I checked Rotten Tomatoes.

My teenage-female-lead Western "Whiplash" is being read by a 3-letter agency and a couple of managers.... it reached the Nicholl semi-fi's for the third time this year, and also advanced in other contests....

I'm following up with some contacts, reminding them about "Whiplash."

Anything else I could be doing to ride the hoped-for buzz wave around "Grit"?

L.

LauriD
12-15-2010, 11:28 PM
Couple of high-profile western sales.... Anyone know who reps the writers at UTA?


Title:The Color of LightningLogline:Britt Johnson, a freed slave, moves his wife and three children to Texas with dreams of starting a freight business. When he's away, a raiding party of Comanche and Kiowa kill his oldest son and take his family captive. Johnson spends a winter plotting revenge.

Writer:Larry McMurtry Diana Ossana Agency:United Talent Agency (http://donedealpro.com/members/details.aspx?object_id=89&content_type=6) United Talent Agency (http://donedealpro.com/members/details.aspx?object_id=89&content_type=6) [/URL] Studio:Twentieth Century Fox (http://donedealpro.com/members/details.aspx?object_id=0&content_type=6) Prod. Co:Scott Free Productions (http://donedealpro.com/members/details.aspx?object_id=0&content_type=13) (http://donedealpro.com/members/details.aspx?object_id=0&content_type=9) Genre:Western Logged:12/14/2010 More:Adaptation the novel by Paulette Jiles, which was published by Harper Collins. Ridley Scott will direct.

Title:Empire of the Summer MoonLogline:The great Comanche warrior Quanah holds the westward expansion of settlers at bay for 40 years, which leads to the formation of the Texas Rangers to fight against them. His mother was Cynthia Ann Parker, a blue-eyed honey-haired child who was kidnapped by the Comanches when she was 9 and incorporated into the tribe. Her son steeled the Comanches to become ferocious warriors, and the primary impediment to Western expansion.Writer:Larry McMurtry Diana Ossana Agency:United Talent Agency (http://donedealpro.com/members/details.aspx?object_id=89&content_type=6) United Talent Agency (http://donedealpro.com/members/details.aspx?object_id=89&content_type=6) Prod. Co:Scott Free Productions (http://donedealpro.com/members/details.aspx?object_id=0&content_type=6) [URL="http://donedealpro.com/members/details.aspx?object_id=0&content_type=9"] (http://donedealpro.com/members/details.aspx?object_id=0&content_type=9) Genre:Western Logged:12/14/2010 More:To be based on S.C. Gwynne's novel "Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History," which was published in May 2010 by Scribner. Scott Cooper will direct. McCormick & Williams repped the book rights.

cshel
12-16-2010, 12:03 PM
Look at who the writers are on those, though. Just sayin...

So much will depend on the box office of whatever Westerns are coming out, too.

But anything is possible with a well written script. :)

trujosh
12-16-2010, 07:05 PM
Couple of high-profile western sales.... Anyone know who reps the writers at UTA?


Title:The Color of LightningLogline:Britt Johnson, a freed slave, moves his wife and three children to Texas with dreams of starting a freight business. When he's away, a raiding party of Comanche and Kiowa kill his oldest son and take his family captive. Johnson spends a winter plotting revenge.

Writer:Larry McMurtry Diana Ossana Agency:United Talent Agency (http://donedealpro.com/members/details.aspx?object_id=89&content_type=6) United Talent Agency (http://donedealpro.com/members/details.aspx?object_id=89&content_type=6) [/URL] Studio:Twentieth Century Fox (http://donedealpro.com/members/details.aspx?object_id=0&content_type=6) Prod. Co:Scott Free Productions (http://donedealpro.com/members/details.aspx?object_id=0&content_type=13) (http://donedealpro.com/members/details.aspx?object_id=0&content_type=9) Genre:Western Logged:12/14/2010 More:Adaptation the novel by Paulette Jiles, which was published by Harper Collins. Ridley Scott will direct.

Title:Empire of the Summer MoonLogline:The great Comanche warrior Quanah holds the westward expansion of settlers at bay for 40 years, which leads to the formation of the Texas Rangers to fight against them. His mother was Cynthia Ann Parker, a blue-eyed honey-haired child who was kidnapped by the Comanches when she was 9 and incorporated into the tribe. Her son steeled the Comanches to become ferocious warriors, and the primary impediment to Western expansion.Writer:Larry McMurtry Diana Ossana Agency:United Talent Agency (http://donedealpro.com/members/details.aspx?object_id=89&content_type=6) United Talent Agency (http://donedealpro.com/members/details.aspx?object_id=89&content_type=6) Prod. Co:Scott Free Productions (http://donedealpro.com/members/details.aspx?object_id=0&content_type=6) [URL="http://donedealpro.com/members/details.aspx?object_id=0&content_type=9"] (http://donedealpro.com/members/details.aspx?object_id=0&content_type=9) Genre:Western Logged:12/14/2010 More:To be based on S.C. Gwynne's novel "Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History," which was published in May 2010 by Scribner. Scott Cooper will direct. McCormick & Williams repped the book rights.

Howard Sanders.

scripto80
12-16-2010, 08:08 PM
This begs the question: what is a good bet for a spec? I'm beginning to think there's no such thing aside from writing the best spec you can.

The best bet is a "man vs the world" flick, with a revenge angle if possible. It should be thriller-esque, with some action but not too much so it doesn't look too expensive. Contained locations are best. Cliches expected. Such as the inclusion of a dead and/or kidnapped wife, girlfriend, and/or child that is important to him, in addition to a random hookup along the way, or preferably one dimensional love interest. R-rated content is fine, but PG-13 is preferred.

So there you go. If you want to succeed the easier way, write something like that. Something just like everything else. Do that well and knock on enough doors for long enough and you might make a sale or get a job. But if you want to do something DIFFERENT, then be prepared for it to take some time. But do NOT give up. I strongly suggest rejecting the previous poster telling you that it's not a good bet, insinuating you should either toss it, or, simple use it only to get noticed so you can then land other, more predictable work while your passion project collects dust in the corner and is only viewed as a stepping stone on the way to the "success" of writing run of the mill screenplays and perpetuating the same type of material Hollywood always has and likely always will keep churning out until eternity.

If your female-lead western is well written, then gosh darn it you approach people with it, and hope for the best. Being aware of the market is one thing, but saying "A male western works. A female does not." is absurd. It WILL work if someone freaking MAKES it work and the powers that be stop being so damn scared to take "risks". Studios greenlight dozens of flops each year. God forbid one of them has female leads.

*rolls eyes*

Rantanplan
12-16-2010, 08:58 PM
The best bet is a "man vs the world" flick, with a revenge angle if possible. It should be thriller-esque, with some action but not too much so it doesn't look too expensive. Contained locations are best. Cliches expected. Such as the inclusion of a dead and/or kidnapped wife, girlfriend, and/or child that is important to him, in addition to a random hookup along the way, or preferably one dimensional love interest. R-rated content is fine, but PG-13 is preferred.

So there you go. If you want to succeed the easier way, write something like that. Something just like everything else. Do that well and knock on enough doors for long enough and you might make a sale or get a job. But if you want to do something DIFFERENT, then be prepared for it to take some time. But do NOT give up. I strongly suggest rejecting the previous poster telling you that it's not a good bet, insinuating you should either toss it, or, simple use it only to get noticed so you can then land other, more predictable work while your passion project collects dust in the corner and is only viewed as a stepping stone on the way to the "success" of writing run of the mill screenplays and perpetuating the same type of material Hollywood always has and likely always will keep churning out until eternity.

If your female-lead western is well written, then gosh darn it you approach people with it, and hope for the best. Being aware of the market is one thing, but saying "A male western works. A female does not." is absurd. It WILL work if someone freaking MAKES it work and the powers that be stop being so damn scared to take "risks". Studios greenlight dozens of flops each year. God forbid one of them has female leads.

*rolls eyes*

That's the spirit. Know the odds but say F*ck them anyway.

As was recently pointed out in the TENTPOLE thread, while some scripts are a lot harder to sell than others, EVERY script is hard to sell, period. So I say, might as well write what you like because either way it's a bitch and who's to say you won't be an exception to the rule?

That said, if you're writing a femme driven western, which has TWO MAJOR disadvantages going in, hell yeah it's going to be tough, even to get reads. But you already knew that :)

The good thing is, femme driven films do seem to be a bit more popular these days. By all means, milk that Nicholl semi for all it's worth. Use it and abuse it until there is no blood left to drain from it. And if there is any conceivable way to use a term other than Western, then try to do that as well... :) Action-drama maybe?

ETA: I'm totally sincere when I say write what you want, because that's what I do and will always do until someone pays me to do otherwise, but in all honesty, I can't say for sure if it's the best advice. If you CAN write and ENJOY writing in a genre and style that is easier to sell with a well proven track record, it might not be a bad idea (this is not addressed at the OP, but to all writers in general) to try your hand at that first, hoping to gain a foothold in the industry which may then lead to more passion driven projects. But the flip side (and the side I prefer) is that I also think it's good to make your own unique mark from the start. so really, everybody should do what they're comfortable doing. There are many roads to success, and they are all difficult.

NikeeGoddess
12-17-2010, 07:58 AM
agreed - every email query should have "Nicholl" in the subject line to eliminate the automatic delete.

Rantanplan
12-17-2010, 09:54 AM
Just in today !!!



Title: The Gunslinger Logline: An ex-Texas Ranger sets out to punish the men who killed his brother. Writer: John Hlavin Agent: Jason Burns Agency: United Talent Agency (http://www.donedealpro.com/members/details.aspx?object_id=89&content_type=6) Prod. Co: New Regency Productions (http://www.donedealpro.com/members/details.aspx?object_id=294&content_type=9) Mad Chance (http://www.donedealpro.com/members/details.aspx?object_id=252&content_type=9) Tree Line Films (http://www.donedealpro.com/members/details.aspx?object_id=1903&content_type=9) Genre: Western Logged: 12/17/2010 More: Picked up in turnaround from Warner Bros. Mad Chance's Andrew Lazar and Tree Line's Cathy Konrad will produce. James Mangold will direct. First set up in May, 2009 as a spec.

SuperScribe
12-17-2010, 10:02 AM
I read that as "punch the men who killed his brother" and thought, "Wow. Plot goals aren't what they used to be."

cshel
12-17-2010, 02:10 PM
I read that as "punch the men who killed his brother" and thought, "Wow. Plot goals aren't what they used to be."

:eek: :p

Rantanplan
12-17-2010, 02:33 PM
I read that as "punch the men who killed his brother" and thought, "Wow. Plot goals aren't what they used to be."

It's what is called a hook.

SuperScribe
12-17-2010, 02:39 PM
It's what is called a hook.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oShTJ90fC34

LauriD
12-18-2010, 09:16 AM
Just in today !!!



Title: The Gunslinger Logline: An ex-Texas Ranger sets out to punish the men who killed his brother. Writer: John Hlavin Agent: Jason Burns Agency: United Talent Agency (http://www.donedealpro.com/members/details.aspx?object_id=89&content_type=6) Prod. Co: New Regency Productions (http://www.donedealpro.com/members/details.aspx?object_id=294&content_type=9) Mad Chance (http://www.donedealpro.com/members/details.aspx?object_id=252&content_type=9) Tree Line Films (http://www.donedealpro.com/members/details.aspx?object_id=1903&content_type=9) Genre: Western Logged: 12/17/2010 More: Picked up in turnaround from Warner Bros. Mad Chance's Andrew Lazar and Tree Line's Cathy Konrad will produce. James Mangold will direct. First set up in May, 2009 as a spec.

Just saw that one and was going to post it...

May I officially declare a mini-trend? :)

Hasil Adkins
12-18-2010, 10:40 AM
Just saw that one and was going to post it...

May I officially declare a mini-trend? :)

'Gunslinger' is present-day, and much more a thriller than a western.

And as to the original question, I don't think the success or buzz on "True Grit" is going to matter much at the level of the unproduced, unsold writer. Sure, there may be an uptick in interest in westerns at the studios, but they will be looking for established writers and existing properties for adaptation (e.g. the McMurtry/Ossana projects).

LauriD
12-23-2010, 01:18 PM
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/true-grit-2010/

96% fresh; 91% of the audience liked it.

:)

LauriD
12-24-2010, 06:18 AM
December 23, 2010 - 10:09 a.m.
Early estimates indicate that True Grit's opening day box office gross was $5.5 million, Wednesday, December 22, 2010, debuting third on the charts.

That's considerably above expectations, and True Grit could be looking at a five day, December 22-26, 2010, extended weekend gross of more than $30 million and up to $35 million. I've been bullish on True Grit's box office potential for some time, and this bears very well for the film directed by the Coen Brothers. Further, the western should have strong legs due to its timely release and strong word-of-mouth.

If True Grit continues to exceed expectations, it could very well become one of the top five grossing westerns at the box office of all-time, granted that's not adjusted for inflation.

LauriD
12-26-2010, 12:51 AM
"Amazingly consistent and jumping into the second slot also in its third day is the Coen bros.' "True Grit." The new adaptation of Charles Portis' novel found another $4.8 million for $16 million to date. The Western should hit close to $30 million by Sunday. Not to shabby for an Oscar contender that cost around $35 million."

Lucha Scribre
12-26-2010, 12:56 AM
I'm totally writing a Western now. :)

DavidK
12-26-2010, 04:27 PM
I'm sure most people will see how ironic it is that just weeks ago the almost unanimous advice on this board was that writing a western was pointless. Yes I know, Coens vs. specs etc. but it just shows...

Rantanplan
12-26-2010, 05:06 PM
I'm sure most people will see how ironic it is that just weeks ago the almost unanimous advice on this board was that writing a western was pointless. Yes I know, Coens vs. specs etc. but it just shows...

I think most all genres do get made once in a while, but some are definitely better odds than others for spec writers. If you're writing a period piece, you're less likely to get reads because less industry folk are interested in them and they don't get made as much, especially if you take out anything to do with Brits and royalty. Personally I love a good western, and I definitely think Laurie and all other western writers should query the hell out of everybody after the holidays :)

LauriD
12-27-2010, 12:10 AM
"Despite the muting effect of Christmas Eve, True Grit (http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=truegrit.htm) posted the top-grossing opening weekend ever for a straight-shooting Western, capturing an estimated $25.6 million on around 3,900 screens at 3,047 locations. It was also the biggest launch of the Coen brothers' careers, passing Burn After Reading (http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=burnafterreading.htm). With a $36.8 million tally in five days, it's already the highest-grossing Western since 3:10 to Yuma (2007) (http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=310toyuma.htm), which started much lower and earned $53.6 million in total, and its five-day attendance was in line with Unforgiven (http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=unforgiven.htm)'s. According to distributor Paramount Pictures, 65 percent of True Grit's audience was male and 70 percent was aged 25 years and older."

Lucha Scribre
12-27-2010, 12:57 AM
If high noon was remade, it would do well.

NikeeGoddess
12-27-2010, 09:40 AM
I think most all genres do get made once in a while, but some are definitely better odds than others for spec writers. If you're writing a period piece, you're less likely to get reads because less industry folk are interested in them and they don't get made as much, especially if you take out anything to do with Brits and royalty. Personally I love a good western, and I definitely think Laurie and all other western writers should query the hell out of everybody after the holidays :)it's no different than any other business.
you want to make mcdonald's burgers and fries for the masses (tentpole)
or
ethnic food good enough to convince the masses that they should step out of the box for a taste? (western)
you want to sell everything like target for the 4 quadrants (tentpole)
or
you want to sell specific designer clothing for a niche market? (indie)

bioprofessor
12-27-2010, 10:16 AM
I think most all genres do get made once in a while, but some are definitely better odds than others for spec writers. If you're writing a period piece, you're less likely to get reads because less industry folk are interested in them and they don't get made as much, especially if you take out anything to do with Brits and royalty. Personally I love a good western, and I definitely think Laurie and all other western writers should query the hell out of everybody after the holidays :)

Will do. I started a western with a female lead way back last spring before I even heard about True Grit (which I'm seeing with my wife today on my :bcake:). I'm now about 15 pages away from "Fade Out." A BIG thanks to all the public input from this forum, and some private notes from some trusted DD'ers! I'm very excited about querying my "based on true events" western action/drama.

billmarq
12-27-2010, 10:45 AM
If high noon was remade, it would do well.

Possibly, but it has already been re-done as a made for TV movie on HBO, following the original film almost word for word, scene for scene. It didn't do very well, but is available on DVD now.

A friend of mine and fellow western historian was approached earlier this year to be a consultant for a western film by a major studio. I cannot divulge the specifics, but it would be a prequel to a popular western of an earlier successful movie. My friend declined the offer when they could not agree on pay. I do not know the current status, but if it happens it will at least as big an event as True Grit.

Hamboogul
12-27-2010, 11:45 AM
Unless TRUE GRIT makes 300 million dollars, I don't see how this will change Hollywood's opinion of Westerns. THE BLIND SIDE created a revived interest in feel-good sports movies and you saw the market buying up various "based on a true story" articles. SHERLOCK HOLMES created a demand for re-imagining of public domain stories.

I mean, just because BLACK SWAN is doing well doesn't mean that there's a sudden demand for ballerina thrillers.

If you have a Western, maybe you can get a few more reads but I don't think this will change anything.

Rantanplan
12-27-2010, 12:49 PM
I mean, just because BLACK SWAN is doing well doesn't mean that there's a sudden demand for ballerina thrillers.



LOL. We NEED more ballerina thrillers!

bioprofessor
12-27-2010, 08:01 PM
Unless TRUE GRIT makes 300 million dollars, I don't see how this will change Hollywood's opinion of Westerns.

If you have a Western, maybe you can get a few more reads but I don't think this will change anything.

Agreed, but if you have a Western with a gripping human story driving it, as oppossed to fanciful cowboy and indians fodder, then that just might be the niche for the Western in the 21st century - or for that matter, any century.

BattleDolphinZero
12-27-2010, 08:28 PM
Hollywood doesn't want to make westerns. They never do big money domestically (or at least in recent years have not) and they do nothing overseas.

NikeeGoddess
12-27-2010, 09:42 PM
Hollywood doesn't want to make westerns. They never do big money domestically (or at least in recent years have not) and they do nothing overseas.wait until this one comes out: cowboys & aliens http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBKU9WU_wLo

LauriD
12-28-2010, 12:27 AM
Hollywood doesn't want to make westerns. They never do big money domestically (or at least in recent years have not) and they do nothing overseas.

They do now:


http://www.examiner.com/books-on-film-in-national/true-grit-blazes-trail-for-westerns-setting-new-box-office-record

"True Grit has set a new opening weekend record -- for Westerns -- or as Boxofficemojo.com put it, the movie drew the "top-grossing opening weekend ever for a straight-shooting Western." The site says the movie has the highest Western movie gross overall when its five days of release are considered ($36.8). The movie is the highest grossing Western since 2007's 3:10 to Yuma.

True Grit, 2010 is not only the highest grossing American Western but it also brought about the Coen brothers' highest grossing opening yet, ahead of their previous highest opening film, Burn After Reading."

LauriD
12-28-2010, 12:29 AM
Agreed, but if you have a Western with a gripping human story driving it, as oppossed to fanciful cowboy and indians fodder, then that just might be the niche for the Western in the 21st century - or for that matter, any century.

Yup, got that.

My western has no cowboys OR Indians.

It's also a romance. I think of it as a straight "Brokeback Mountain." :)

Hasil Adkins
12-28-2010, 01:18 AM
Yup, got that.

My western has no cowboys OR Indians.

It's also a romance. I think of it as a straight "Brokeback Mountain." :)

Keep coming back, LauriD.

It works if you work it.

Geoff Alexander
12-28-2010, 09:43 AM
Hollywood doesn't want to make westerns. They never do big money domestically (or at least in recent years have not) and they do nothing overseas.

So true. Probably two to three reasonably budgeted Westerns are made every year and they always struggle. But, at the same time, people like them, actors like them, directors like them. I've always kept my eye open for a fresh take on the gunfighter Western, as we have made five movies in New Mexico over the years and would love to do a great action driven Western there. If you can make it in an innovative fashion, with the right cast, for the right price, I think you could do just fine.

Hamboogul
12-28-2010, 12:24 PM
I see the success of TRUE GRIT resulting in two scenarios. More "familiar" Westerns being modernized (3:10 to Yuma that is often referenced is a remake). So maybe an updated take of STAGECOACH, HIGH NOON, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, etc.

The other scenario is that the success of this movie will enable the Coens to make bigger budgeted movies to their sensibilities.

What I don't see in this scenario is an upsurge of demand for spec Westerns written by unknowns. I don't see THE BRIGANDS OF RATTLEBORGE being rushed into production any time soon because of this.

Ronaldinho
12-28-2010, 01:38 PM
"True Grit has set a new opening weekend record -- for Westerns -- or as Boxofficemojo.com put it, the movie drew the "top-grossing opening weekend ever for a straight-shooting Western." The site says the movie has the highest Western movie gross overall when its five days of release are considered ($36.8). The movie is the highest grossing Western since 2007's 3:10 to Yuma.


But it's not like 3:10 to Yuma sparked a stampede of Westerns, now, did it?

So it seems unlikely that even moderately outperforming that movie would't drastically change the landscape.

In any event, pretty much ever Coen brothers film is a Coen brothers film first, and a whatever-genre-its-in film second.

LauriD
01-01-2011, 08:53 AM
http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=truegrit2010.htm

$62 million on a $38 mil budget in 9 days...

Too bad westerns never do big money....

:)

Lucha Scribre
01-01-2011, 09:38 AM
http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=truegrit2010.htm

$62 million on a $38 mil budget in 9 days...

Too bad westerns never do big money....

:)

And JONAH HEX bombed. Your logic cancels itself out.

Hamboogul
01-01-2011, 10:00 AM
http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=truegrit2010.htm

$62 million on a $38 mil budget in 9 days...

Too bad westerns never do big money....

:)

It's not us you have to convince. It's the agents, managers, and producers who you have to win over. As far as I know, the big fat Greek wedding genre averages $200 million at the B.O. More people should be writing them.

LauriD
01-02-2011, 12:00 AM
And JONAH HEX bombed. Your logic cancels itself out.

I didn't say westerns ALWAYS make money. No genre ALWAYS makes money. But it's not true that westerns "never" or "don't" make money.

LauriD
01-02-2011, 12:05 AM
It's not us you have to convince. It's the agents, managers, and producers who you have to win over. As far as I know, the big fat Greek wedding genre averages $200 million at the B.O. More people should be writing them.

One of my points is that writers buy into (and thus perpetuate) unsupported industry prejudices about what the public does and doesn't want to see, thus putting both writers and the industry into creative straightjackets.

Rantanplan
01-02-2011, 12:41 AM
One of my points is that writers buy into (and thus perpetuate) unsupported industry prejudices about what the public does and doesn't want to see, thus putting both writers and the industry into creative straightjackets.

Unfortunately, the film industry, much like the publishing industry, does not put enough faith in the consumer, who may be more open-minded than they think. It would be nice if they held focus groups at the script level, instead of testing the finished product on audiences :)

While I'm an advocate of always following one's muse and passion, I recognize that there are most definitely odds against new spec writers with certain types of scripts.

As far as I can tell, these scripts include:

-too small (arthouse material better suited for indie producers)
-too big (not necessarily because the writer is unproven but because past a certain budget, these films rarely come from specs, and almost always from pre-existing IP's like novels, comic books or video games; plus certain big budget genres even more difficult than others)
-western and period
-drama (they win the Oscars, but they usually come from novels, and a lot of reps don't get turned on by drama specs)
-horror, to some extent
-dark comedy / satire (I've heard these are really hard to sell even though industry people tend to like them)
-and probably a few more.

Now clearly, films get made on a regular basis in all the above genres, but unproven spec writers are definitely fighting an uphill battle in an already nearly impossible battle if their script falls in any of the above "difficult" categories.

You can't sell if you don't get read, and you can't get read if someone sees your logline and immediately dismisses it because in their mind it spells out IMPOSSIBLE TO SELL.

I highly doubt that the average rep is going to read a logline (provided they even get that far, of course) for a Victorian drama, for instance, and think, Oh boy, this sure would be a tough sell, but I can't wait to read this script just in case the writer is so talented that I can put her/him up for assignments and use this fine piece of writing as a sample!!

Despite all of that, however, I say Carry on. You never know when you might be an exception to some unwritten rule.

Lucha Scribre
01-02-2011, 04:15 AM
The horse is dead and your stick is broken......

Fwiw, there is an ad on afilmwriter seeking a western feature. :)

LauriD
01-04-2011, 12:14 AM
Yet another western:

Title:Blood MeridianLogline:Set on the Texas-Mexico border in the 1850s, a fourteen-year-old Tennessean stumbles into the nightmarish world where Indians are being murdered and the market for their scalps is thriving.Writer:James Franco Prod. Co:Rabbit Bandini Productions (http://donedealpro.com/members/details.aspx?object_id=3797&content_type=9) [/URL] [URL="http://donedealpro.com/members/details.aspx?object_id=0&content_type=9"] (http://donedealpro.com/members/details.aspx?object_id=0&content_type=9) Genre:Drama Logged:1/3/2011 More:To be based on Cormac McCarthy’s novel. James Franco will also direct.


And "True Grit" is now at $86,670,382.

Rantanplan
01-04-2011, 12:33 AM
Yet another western:

Title:Blood MeridianLogline:Set on the Texas-Mexico border in the 1850s, a fourteen-year-old Tennessean stumbles into the nightmarish world where Indians are being murdered and the market for their scalps is thriving.Writer:James Franco Prod. Co:Rabbit Bandini Productions (http://donedealpro.com/members/details.aspx?object_id=3797&content_type=9) Genre:Drama Logged:1/3/2011 More:To be based on Cormac McCarthy’s novel. James Franco will also direct.


And "True Grit" is now at $86,670,382.

Laurie, Cormac McCarthy is one of the most acclaimed novelists today.... when you have that kind of author, or the Coen Bros attached to a property, it's a whole other ballgame...

Still, you should definitely take advantage of the situation and query your butt off, which I'm sure is what you're already doing :)

That said, I'll be very interested in seeing what Franco does with MERIDIAN. It's a tough piece. And one of the most violent things I've ever read.

LauriD
01-05-2011, 01:54 AM
As a Hot Ticket, Will 'True Grit' Sway the
Oscars?

As "True Grit" shows signs of being a breakout hit, it
is reviving the question of whether the audience gets a
vote.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/05/movies/awardsseason/05oscar.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha28

"Last weekend “True Grit,” written and directed by Ethan and Joel Coen, shocked Hollywood by burning up the box office. The sober western generated $24.4 million in North American theaters, just $1.3 million less than the holiday weekend’s No. 1 movie, the blatantly commercial “Little Fockers.” And “True Grit” dropped only 2 percent from the prior weekend, which was its first in theaters; drops of 50 percent are routine, and anything less than 30 percent is judged by the industry to be spectacular."

DavidK
01-05-2011, 02:30 AM
Laurie, Cormac McCarthy is one of the most acclaimed novelists today.... when you have that kind of author, or the Coen Bros attached to a property, it's a whole other ballgame...

That said, I'll be very interested in seeing what Franco does with MERIDIAN. It's a tough piece. And one of the most violent things I've ever read.

Yes, it's not another western, it's another McCarthy adaptation. And like you say, it's a huge novel and relentlessly harsh. There are three movies in there so it'll be interesting to see what gets distilled into a single work.

Geoff Alexander
01-05-2011, 10:07 AM
Laurie, Cormac McCarthy is one of the most acclaimed novelists today.... when you have that kind of author, or the Coen Bros attached to a property, it's a whole other ballgame...

Still, you should definitely take advantage of the situation and query your butt off, which I'm sure is what you're already doing :)

That said, I'll be very interested in seeing what Franco does with MERIDIAN. It's a tough piece. And one of the most violent things I've ever read.

Yes. This whole notion that an unknown writer with a western spec is somehow going to slipstream the success of "True Grit" is a non-starter. It's simply not going to be a factor. Bringing up Blood Meridian to further bolster the case that Westerns are getting more traction and will also help this unknown with a spec is pointless. These are separate universes, they pretty much share a single point of contact.

You know what the shared point of contact between True Grit and Blood Meridian is? Scott Rudin. He's the guy. He produced True Grit (and of course No Country for Old Men) and he bought the rights for Blood Meridian a number of years ago. One guy. And, he is probably the only producer in Hollywood who gets either True Grit or Blood Meridian made. So, get the spec to Rudin. If you can. But, it would most likely be a pass for him as well. This is a guy who typically gets involved in the absolute cream of the crop when it comes to literary adaptations, it's a challenge for him, he doesn't take on specs that don't have something truly unique and challenging going for them.

Am I saying that this means the unknown Western spec doesn't get made? No. But, I think that its chances are the same now as they have been any time in the last decade.

Hasil Adkins
01-05-2011, 11:27 AM
And “True Grit” dropped only 2 percent from the prior weekend, which was its first in theaters; drops of 50 percent are routine, and anything less than 30 percent is judged by the industry to be spectacular."

This is silly. Small drop-offs and even 2nd weekend increases are common for that weekend. Is Yogi Bear a 'spectacular' breakout hit? It increased 50%.

Yes. This whole notion that an unknown writer with a western spec is somehow going to slipstream the success of "True Grit" is a non-starter. It's simply not going to be a factor. Bringing up Blood Meridian to further bolster the case that Westerns are getting more traction and will also help this unknown with a spec is pointless. These are separate universes, they pretty much share a single point of contact.

....

Am I saying that this means the unknown Western spec doesn't get made? No. But, I think that its chances are the same now as they have been any time in the last decade.

This point, well stated above, has been made several times.

At a certain point you have to think the OP just doesn't want to hear it.

Hamboogul
01-05-2011, 11:31 AM
I think you'd have a better chance of selling a script titled COWBOYS AND ALIENS AND VAMPIRES AND ZOMBIES AND JAMES FRANCO.

emily blake
01-05-2011, 11:37 AM
I think you'd have a better chance of selling a script titled COWBOYS AND ALIENS AND VAMPIRES AND ZOMBIES AND JAMES FRANCO.

I would watch that movie. I would also watch a movie where James Franco was playing all the cowboys and aliens and vampires and zombies.

Hamboogul
01-05-2011, 11:59 AM
I would watch that movie. I would also watch a movie where James Franco was playing all the cowboys and aliens and vampires and zombies.

He is rather multi-talented... or so we're led to believe until we see his GPA at his grad schools or his first directorial theatrical release.

Geoff Alexander
01-05-2011, 12:21 PM
Uggghhh, Scott Rudin... even if you could get a spec to Rudin, you come to regret it in some form or another.

Yes, you might win an Oscar or something, that would really suck.

DavidK
01-05-2011, 03:35 PM
Uggghhh, Scott Rudin... even if you could get a spec to Rudin, you come to regret it in some form or another.

But probably the sort of regret I could learn to live with.

ETA: Kinda reminds me of a scene in the documentary 'Overnight' where the amazing Troy Duffy is in his office watching TV and says something like "Who the f*** is Jerry Bruckheimer? What a ****sucker."

Geoff Alexander
01-05-2011, 04:09 PM
I hope you're not suggesting that Rudin, the man who always tops the Brown List, has been a pleasure to work with throughout the years.



Agreed.

If you have a career in Hollywood, you are going to work with *******s, raging egos, and divas. And almost none of them will have the kind of record that Rudin has. And, BTW, you have a public perception of the guy, he's more complex than that and has some real positive qualities that the public perception would not indicate.

nathanq
01-05-2011, 04:10 PM
If you have a career in Hollywood, you are going to work with *******s, raging egos, and divas. And almost none of them will have the kind of record that Rudin has. And, BTW, you have a public perception of the guy, he's more complex than that and has some real positive qualities that the public perception would not indicate.

Fair enough.

LauriD
01-10-2011, 04:52 AM
"Grit" is at $110 million and still going strong....

http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=truegrit2010.htm

Just sayin'....

:)

mikeb
01-10-2011, 09:56 AM
"Grit" is at $110 million and still going strong....

http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=truegrit2010.htm

Just sayin'....

:)

Did you also wake up with a penis and realize you were married to Frances McDormand and are one-half of the most acclaimed director/writers in Hollywood?

Just sayin'....

:)

LauriD
01-11-2011, 05:09 AM
I didn't know they wrote with their penises.

I've always used Final Draft, myself.

:)

LauriD
01-20-2011, 07:58 AM
"True Grit (http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=truegrit2010.htm) - This was one of the few saving graces of the dismal Christmas season, shattering the industry notion that the Western is an inherent turn-off to audiences and becoming the most successful dramatic Western since Unforgiven (http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=unforgiven.htm)."

http://boxofficemojo.com/news/?id=3042&p=.htm

sc111
01-20-2011, 08:03 AM
"True Grit (http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=truegrit2010.htm) - This was one of the few saving graces of the dismal Christmas season, shattering the industry notion that the Western is an inherent turn-off to audiences and becoming the most successful dramatic Western since Unforgiven (http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=unforgiven.htm)."

http://boxofficemojo.com/news/?id=3042&p=.htm


I'll keep my metaphorical fingers crossed as I inch toward finishing my western.

trujosh
01-20-2011, 08:57 AM
Lauri -- ok, you convinced the board, westerns are hot, you can definitely leverage your script, we see your point, it's your time.


Shame this board is not the one buying.

ihavebiglips
01-20-2011, 09:00 AM
Lauri -- ok, you convinced the board, westerns are hot, you can definitely leverage your script, we see your point, it's your time.


Shame this board is not the one buying.

Josh, your bluntness cracks me up. :bounce:

sc111
01-20-2011, 09:06 AM
Lauri -- ok, you convinced the board, westerns are hot, you can definitely leverage your script, we see your point, it's your time.


Shame this board is not the one buying.

I was going to finish my western anyway. The success of True Grit is simply a tiny wisp of hope.

billmarq
01-21-2011, 11:53 AM
Perhaps the lesson is that a well written, well performed movie can be a success even if it is a remake, even if it is a western.

LauriD
01-23-2011, 01:44 AM
"In 2010, expectations for the new “True Grit” may have been lower than they were for the first. The Western has once again been written off as an endangered species. The Coens’ critically admired filmmaking has never generated blockbuster box office. An added indignity was the complete shutout (http://carpetbagger.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/15/searching-for-clues-in-a-western-whodunit/) of “True Grit” from Golden Globe nominations — a measure of a movie’s advance buzz, if nothing else.

Nonetheless, it is already the biggest draw of any Coen brothers film (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/05/movies/awardsseason/05oscar.html) — poised to at least double (http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=truegrit2010.htm) the business of “No Country for Old Men (http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=nocountryforoldmen.htm),” their biggest previous hit. Revealingly, I think, it is attracting an even larger audience than “The Social Network,” (http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=socialnetwork.htm) a movie of equal quality with reviews to match and more timely cultural cachet. It turns out that “True Grit” is as much an escape for Americans now as it was in the Vietnam era."

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/23/opinion/23rich.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha212

Lucha Scribre
01-23-2011, 02:11 AM
Use that in your query. Good luck.

NikeeGoddess
01-23-2011, 07:32 AM
"In 2010, expectations for the new “True Grit” may have been lower than they were for the first. The Western has once again been written off as an endangered species. The Coens’ critically admired filmmaking has never generated blockbuster box ...armed with this information is good but any power player who considers a western already knows this.

btw - johnny depp will be the lone ranger

sc111
01-23-2011, 08:54 AM
I don't understand the desire to talk a fellow writer out of a script she clearly feels strong about.

Go for it LauriD. And if you'd like a read, some notes, I'm up for it. PM me.