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View Full Version : Original Creators Need Not Apply?


3brassbrads
01-21-2013, 04:36 PM
When it comes down to it anybody who is to have an actual career as a screenwriter is going to be rewritten, for better or worse, and I found a quote that just seems to typify the idea that most just do not understand how good a scribe has to be to be called on to write, or more often than not, rewrite off of somebody else's original idea. So many unproduced screenwriters think these screenwriters are talentless hacks who don't have ideas of their own and ....nothing could be farther from the truth. While I do believe rewrites hit a point of diminishing returns, one or two 'good' rewrites should not ruin your original idea and there are certainly worse things -- like being labeled as somebody who can't take notes, criticism, or being rewritten.

I found the below opposing quotes as an interesting case in point; for those who are holding on to a vehement desire to be the only writer to "write" your original creation:

Take the still undeveloped film Opus... based off a Sunday strip drawn by Berkeley Breathed for a period of five years, 2003 to 2008. It was Breathed's fourth comic strip.

From Wikipedia:

In August 2006 The Weinstein Company revealed in a press release for an animated version of The Nutty Professor that it had a "CG-animated project" called "Opus" "in the works". Numerous online movie databases, including The New York Times, have entries for the movie, titled Opus: The Last Christmas, and give a release date of December 19, 2008. Some of these sites name Berkeley Breathed as the director, while others list Tim Bjorklund and Paul Taylor. Initially, Miramax Films was reported to have obtained the movie rights to the series, but the project migrated to The Weinstein Company with the departure of the Weinstein brothers from Disney and Miramax.

However, on May 8, 2007, during an interview[22] by NPR radio host Diane Rehm, Mr. Breathed responded to an e-mail question regarding the existence of Opus: The Last Christmas by saying,

ďUh, the better question is, 'Is there an Opus movie going to come out?' and the answer is 'no.' And, now I can say it's all for the better. Uh, the Weinstein brothers at Miramax tried for five years to develop an Opus movie, their first animated film, and it was, let me just say, it probably wasn't destined to be, as ... as it probably shouldn't. And the problem with developing these kinds of movies and films is that inevitably they discover that a property as idiosyncratic as a comic strip doesn't translate well unless you have the confidence of bringing the creator in and factoring him into the creation of the movie. They never, never do that. Yeah, um, they just don't trust us. So without that control there probably shouldn't be an Opus movie. Ē

In a June 2007 interview with Salon.com,[11] Breathed confirmed that the Miramax feature was "dead", but left the door open for an independently produced Opus film:

"There'll only be a movie if I'm writing it, which will probably keep him off the big expensive screen ... probably just as well.Ē

At one point I think Craig Mazin was writing a script based on the characters in Bloom County in 2003 according to the DD achieve, and I have no doubt he did or could have done a wonderful job even without Breathed's help.

In contrast this is what author Yann Martel had to say about the adaptation of his novel "Life of Pi" by Ang Lee and David Magee.

On his own contributions and involvement in the film from: (http://www.scpr.org/blogs/patt-morrison/2012/11/21/11176/extended-interview-yann-martel-life-of-pi/)

ďIn terms of the overall vision, I quite early on decided that I had to let go. I didnít want to be one of these annoying writers who, you know, barks and cajoles with emails, and saying I want you to do it this way or that way, because, after all, Iím a writer, Iím not a filmmaker. And because I trusted Ang Lee, I let go and I said you make the movie you want, and I wonít bother you. Iíll help you to the extent that you want me to help, and when you donít want my help thatís fine, Iíll just step back. Because after all, to him will go all the praise and all the condemnation for this movie. It is his, you know, itís based on my book, but it really is his movie, so I didnít want to get in the way of him making his movie, I respected his artistic integrity.Ē

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Fact: Many screenwriters do get rewritten without knowing about it, but at the same time, based on the above attitudes is it any surprise that one of these original creators "creation" is up for 11 Academy Awards and the other's is, for all intents and purposes, dead?

Craig Mazin
01-22-2013, 01:16 AM
Berkeley and I worked really long and hard on that project, and together we came up with what we both felt was a beautiful, funny, satisfying story.

I won't say much more beyond this: Bob Weinstein disagreed with what Berkeley Breathed and I thought.

After that died, Berkeley and I both agreed that it would never happen at Miramax (or The Weinstein Company), and he and I also both agreed that he should try and rescue it for some other place and some other time.

Even though it never came to pass, the fact that I got to meet and work with one of my heroes-- and still count him as a friend to this day-- was rewarding enough to make the entire odyssey worth the effort.

3brassbrads
01-22-2013, 10:27 AM
Berkeley and I worked really long and hard on that project, and together we came up with what we both felt was a beautiful, funny, satisfying story.

I won't say much more beyond this: Bob Weinstein disagreed with what Berkeley Breathed and I thought.

After that died, Berkeley and I both agreed that it would never happen at Miramax (or The Weinstein Company), and he and I also both agreed that he should try and rescue it for some other place and some other time.

Even though it never came to pass, the fact that I got to meet and work with one of my heroes-- and still count him as a friend to this day-- was rewarding enough to make the entire odyssey worth the effort.

I owe Craig and Berkeley an apology. I didn't know they had worked on it together, I didn't find a reference to that and in the NPR quote or anywhere else; Berkeley was obviously being professional and just looking out for his creation. Had he said that he and Craig worked on it together but the studio had a different vision, well that is something completely different... and understandable.

Egg on my face. :o Sorry guys.

Armak
01-22-2013, 02:03 PM
Breathed is a god of his medium. Hope this movie gets done somehow.

looks around his office at all the Bloom County strips taped up