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Old 09-26-2011, 03:17 PM   #21
invaderujin
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Default Re: Beware of Development Interns stealing your ideas

John August describes it as the "misguided conflation of similarity and plagiarism"

http://johnaugust.com/2007/she-was-mistaken
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Old 09-26-2011, 03:35 PM   #22
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Default Re: Beware of Development Interns stealing your ideas

Jeff - how much time between deciding a show's concerpt and airdate (I know all shows will be different - but some kind of average or window)?

I do not work in TV, but recently pitched some shows to Ion. Part of my proposal included 22 episode concepts. I can tell you that I came up with many more for each of the 3 show ideas, but selected the coolest ones. So at the *proposal* stage, there are a bunch of episode ideas already... and I think it's unlikely that someone would come up with an episode idea that isn't similar to something I had not considered...

And add to that the world of the show thing that Jeff talks about - every show has "rules" - and any show where a magical book would fit, someone else could easily thought of it (and probably did). Now, if you are talking about an episode of CSI where they used a magical book, you may have something - because that is way outside the "rules" of that show. But for the same reason, there isn't going to be any episodes of CSI with a magical book.. Plus - there are at least a dozen movies with magical books, so it's not an amazingly original idea.

And, I'm reading a novel right now with a magical book... so there you go.

But these posts miss the point - it's ideas *plus* execution. So stealing the idea gets you nothing - you still need to hire a writer with great writing skills. How can they steal your writing skills?

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Old 09-26-2011, 03:56 PM   #23
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Default Re: Beware of Development Interns stealing your ideas

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Originally Posted by wcmartell View Post
Jeff - how much time between deciding a show's concerpt and airdate (I know all shows will be different - but some kind of average or window)?
Average window in the heat of the season, if you haven't already come up with the story in pre-production? Maybe somewhere between six and eight weeks for a sitcom, a little longer for an hour.

But you all get together for a couple of months before you start filming and generate a lot of ideas - so often you'll pitch an idea in July that films in January and airs in May.
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Old 09-26-2011, 04:45 PM   #24
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Default Re: Beware of Development Interns stealing your ideas

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How can they steal your writing skills?
Who needs skills? It's all story bullshit.

Quote:
I was introduced to the International Star, who, for reasons soon to be obvious, I will refer to as International Star. After some small talk, I settled in to hear the movie. What happened next was forty-five of the most entertaining and annoying minutes I have ever spent in the film business. International Star stood across from me and proceeded to act the movie out, giving me examples of action scenes, stunts, sight gags, etc. He never stopped moving for the better part of an hour.

And here's what he kept saying the entire time:

INTERNATIONAL STAR: So...we have a bar scene first. Maybe...a bar fight? Six men against me...I'll balance on a chair like this...take out all six...do my funny International Star thing...maybe drink their drinks...then we have some story bullshit...After that...I rescue this girl from...the whorehouse? Maybe bandits...I'll do my funny International Star thing...like with this chair here...Then some story bullshit...and I find this other girl tied up...there's a chair gag...then some story bullshit...
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Old 09-26-2011, 06:18 PM   #25
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Default Re: Beware of Development Interns stealing your ideas

btw, Filmfeline, I think you have a good attitude about it all.
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Old 09-26-2011, 06:41 PM   #26
Richmond Weems
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Default Re: Beware of Development Interns stealing your ideas

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Who needs skills? It's all story bullshit.
Love the story bullshit. That blog post was great.

However...

I'm always amazed at writers who seem to label everything as an Us vs Them kinda mentality. And I have to wonder: have any of these writers actually worked for a living? Don't get me wrong: writing is work. But I'm talking about the work that one does where you're a faceless drone, just trying to make it through the day without going postal.

I'm not talking retail 'cause retail doesn't pay enough to put up with a lot of that bullshit. I'm talking a large company where you've made enough that the mortgage on your house is probably a little higher than you're comfortable with, and the loans on your two cars ('cause the wife works, too) haven't been paid off yet. A job that pays you enough that if you quit or are fired, you're fvcked.

I spent an inordinate amount of time in a corporate environment, and I saw this same kind of Us vs Them mentality there. The guys who bitch and complain 'cause they're doing 'stupid sh!t', and having to take orders from an executive VP who may not be there in six months 'cause he's blowing his boss, and he's gonna get the sweet gig in Singapore so the budget doesn't concern him 'cause it'll be someone else's problem.........and the guy, like this 'josh', will complain about the know-nothings in suits and their MBAs, and make life even more miserable than it already is in the workplace.

What I'm saying is that screenwriting is a JOB. If you want to be an artist, become a novelist. Or a painter. Something where you, and only you, have control over the end result. I'm not saying one should do a crappy job, or that one should ignore inherent artistic truthfulness in fulfilling that job, but that, at the end of the day, one should do the creative best one can in the parameters of that job.

I don't see anything wrong with coming up with some story bullshit, especially if one is getting paid for it. Maybe I'm a suck-up, but I'm not at the William Goldman point where I can tell someone, "I'm too old and rich to put up with this bullshit. See ya."

HH
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Old 09-26-2011, 07:01 PM   #27
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Default Re: Beware of Development Interns stealing your ideas

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Originally Posted by BattleDolphinZero View Post
btw, Filmfeline, I think you have a good attitude about it all.
Smooth, BDZ. Smooth. Way to swoop in and come to the rescue when u see a damsel in distress.
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Old 09-26-2011, 08:01 PM   #28
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Default Re: Beware of Development Interns stealing your ideas

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I basically wrote a script where the TV shows’s main characters [have to] do what appears inside a book. Sort of a magic book, if you will...
That's a pretty common trope.

That's not a criticism - TV thrives on these kinds of stories ... but it has been done many times before.

I know I've seen it on 'Sabrina' (which I was watching for .. umm ... research) - and there was a film with that conceit as well. (I think it was called 'The Real Story' ?)

I've seen it in several other places too - but they escape me.

Again - this isn't a criticism. In fact - it shows you've got the style of the show nailed down when you are generating similar story lines to the actual show.

Good luck !

Mac
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Old 09-26-2011, 09:27 PM   #29
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Default Re: Beware of Development Interns stealing your ideas

The non-magical version is Don Westlake's JIMMY THE KID which has been made into a movie a couple of times - crooks follow plot of crime novel since the guys in the crime novel always get away with it... but real life is a little different.

HH - I think there are phases for a writer, and my guess is that Josh had reached a point where after being screwed over on films like CHAIN REACTION (etc) and earning his place at the big boy's table, he thought he was doing International Star a favor by writing his script... and International Star treated him like crap. I know this phase - when you think you've finally paid your dues and people are going to stop treating you like crap... but they still do. You can say "Screw this guy!" because there is someone else who will pay you and be slightly less of an a-hole. People like International Star never realize that they are stars because someone wrote that story bullshit really well.

PS: And the blog entry proves the point - because they don't find some typist to come up with the story bullshit, they find some skilled writer who can turn the rest of that mess into a movie people might want to pay to see.

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Old 09-27-2011, 12:35 AM   #30
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Default Re: Beware of Development Interns stealing your ideas

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Originally Posted by wcmartell View Post
PS: And the blog entry proves the point - because they don't find some typist to come up with the story bullshit, they find some skilled writer who can turn the rest of that mess into a movie people might want to pay to see.
True story: No one paid money to see the movie Josh is referencing. It did, however, get made.
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