Jumping on the Bandwagon

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  • #46
    Re: Jumping on the Bandwagon

    The TV episode thing...

    I read this list and all of these seem like basic ideas - the kind of thing that might be an episode of a TV series, sort of, rather than a stand alone. Yeah, I know if all of the friends get killed off one-by-one it's not a good TV series, but think of the FRIDAY THE 13th movies. None of these just jumps out at you as a stand alone idea.

    Now, that may by because there *is* a great high concept idea to some of these, it's just not the portion that is the same (six buddies go on an adventure in a parallel universe where your nightmares live when you are not asleep, and are killed one by one). But I suspect a script doesn't make this list of 9 (plus the Stiggers list) if it has that other cool idea.

    What is strange to me is that when you look at the films that share these basics, they tend to have something else, too...

    So the Celebrity and the Wallflower could easily be TAD HAMILTION... except in that film the wallflower was the *guy* who was secretly in love with the small town girl who won a date with Tad. It takes a more interesting POV in the story. It's not a wallflower's fantasy, it's a freakin' nightmare! And JUST FRIENDS also kind of follows that basic idea, except the story is about the celebrity's publicist who is in love with small town girl from his past... and has the whole stomach-staple extreme wait loss gimmick... plus the celeb supporting character's antics. Again - does something different so that it's not the wallflower fantasy. Now, if you tell anyone I saw these two films, I will have to kill you.

    But all of these ideas seem like the *first idea* not the really weird I ate peperoni pizza just before bed and had the strangest dream and then accidentally took three times as many cold pills as I was supposed to and then had a drink or two and started writing idea. They seem like an episode of the TV show rather than the one of a kind 50 FIRST DATES or BRUCE ALMIGHTY or ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTESS MIND idea that is just not ever gonna be an episode of a TV show.

    I think you could *start* with any of those 9 and come up with something that is so original that it would not be included on that list.

    And, for a slice of real life comedy - a director I know was looking for a horror script, I pitched him my rom-com-zom and my CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF as a monster movie and this treatment I have about mental patients Vs. giant bugs... and he said he was looking for something *original*. So he bought a script about a woman who gets knocked up by Satan.

    - Bill
    Free Script Tips:
    http://www.scriptsecrets.net

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    • #47
      Re: Jumping on the Bandwagon

      A group of Rock Stars go on spring break in a resort built on top of a cemetary and have drunken misadventures and sex.. finding themselves impregnated by an alien, and after giving butt-birth, they are killed one-by-one except for the hero, who hires a PI to find the alien, and...

      Hey, that may be something... WGA #6754326

      - Bill
      Free Script Tips:
      http://www.scriptsecrets.net

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      • #48
        Re: Jumping on the Bandwagon

        Originally posted by La Femme Joyeuse View Post
        Well, I do hold a belief, based on my own experience and working with hundreds of writers, that a very new screenwriter has to get those retreads out of their system. It's like learning to ride a bike, at first, you're terrible and you're going to fall down. But after you've written 2 or 3 retreads that go nowhere, suddenly a light comes on upstairs and you gain confidence as a writer and you start to unleash YOUR voice and YOUR vision and then the good stuff comes out.

        Or - it's like drilling for oil....rock, rock, dirt, mud, more rock - TEXAS TEA. So writers shouldn't beat themselves up or feel horrible if they've unwittingly written something derivative and ordinary - you kind of have to get it out of your system.
        Exactly. Took me a long while. Just sorry La Femme had to suffer through it.

        it's a lot like learning to drink Booze. The first years are an ugly confusing mess -- Amateur hour. After a while you can hold your own and talk to the hot chick without making an ass of yourself. Then one day maybe you get laid by a big studio.
        "Take the thing you love, and make it your life"--Californication. [email protected]

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        • #49
          Re: Jumping on the Bandwagon

          Here's the rockstar / wallflower story mixed with the spring break story, off the top of my head...

          Okay, what if one of our drunken spring break guys - the wallflower - once bumped into a Britney Spears-like music star *before she was famous* and maybe had a chance to hook up with her, but screwed it up?

          Now it's spring break from MIT, and he tells his pals about it, and one of them says, "Would you like a second chance?" Instead of taking spring break in exotic Florida, they go to a campus research lab and become time travel tourists...

          But here's the thing - what happens in the past stays in the past, and they can only bring back *one* memory.

          They go back, and our wall flower hero and his pals get drunk and do all of the normal spring break stuff... and he gets his shot with the future rock star, and it's a great experience.

          But when it's time to pick the memory to save, he decides to bring back a memory of all of his friends in the motel room the night before he scored with the rock star, a moment of pure friendship.

          Okay - now the problem is that time travel is crap.

          - Bill
          Free Script Tips:
          http://www.scriptsecrets.net

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          • #50
            Re: Jumping on the Bandwagon

            Originally posted by wcmartell View Post
            But here's the thing - what happens in the past stays in the past, and they can only bring back *one* memory.
            ...And the memory he decides to bring back is getting the Rock Star's 16-year-old sister pregnant.

            I try very hard not to allow my writing process to follow anything that I've seen before, and the simple reason is this: It's going to happen anyway. There's a perfectly logical explanation as to why this happens. If a writer draws from the human experience, there are only so many directions you can take the story and still follow any form of logic.

            I think this is why so many plot devices repeat themselves within certain genres. In a simple what-happens-next scenario, there are only two or three directions that a character (or story) can go -- that is, if the story is to make any sense. To be fair to any writer, it is important to distinguish what happens in the story, apart from the actual premise of the story.

            So, if one questions something that happens within a story on the grounds that it has been done before, perhaps the question to ask is: What would happen under these circumstances? -- Can you think of something better?

            And we have all seen, on various occasions, how too much "originality" can really mess things up.
            "THIMK." - Amomynous

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