A Need To Adjust Scripts for Realities of COVID-19?

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  • A Need To Adjust Scripts for Realities of COVID-19?

    An interesting article in the Washington Post:

    Interviews with 12 executives, writers, agents and producers across the Hollywood spectrum suggest a dramatically transformed world of entertainment. Until a vaccine comes along, they say, covid-19 will change what Americans watch as dramatically as it has where they work, shop and learn. Forget the new normal - movies and TV are about to encounter the new austerity.

    Crowd scenes are a no-go. Real-world locations will be limited. On-screen romance will be less common, sometimes restricted to actors who have off-screen relationships. And independent films - that tantalizing side dish in the U.S. entertainment meal - could be heavily scaled back.

    "A lot of people believe this is just about getting back to work,- said Mark Gill, a producer and former head of Warner Independent Pictures, the studio unit responsible for independent hits such as "Slumdog Millionaire- and "Good Night, and Good Luck.- "They don't realize the massive cultural impact we're about to face.-
    It goes on to talk about movies being "authentic" in this new normal. Like -- will a couple in a rom-com go to a crowded restaurant or would a long walk down a quiet lane be more realistic.

    As things usually are in the industry, opinions vary widely. One opinion is to set films in past eras. (Oh! Maybe my female lead western circa 1868 would have a chance?). Others say lean in and make the pandemic part of the story. Then there's the note that the Horror genre may have a leg up:

    "The horror genre is very suited to the pandemic and lockdowns - we're always trying to create a feeling of being trapped anyway,- said the horror filmmaker Nathan Crooker.

    When quarantines hit this spring, Crooker gathered nine noted horror filmmakers and had them shoot an anthology film - short fictional movies connected by the larger virus theme - and titled it "Isolation.- He required filmmakers to use only the materials and people they were in lockdown with, even prohibiting Zoom and other technologies.
    Something to consider when developing new concepts? Kill the crowd scenes, add vast desolate areas? Go the nostalgia route with a period piece?

    Anyway, the entire article is worth a read: link.
    Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-

  • #2
    Re: A Need To Adjust Scripts for Realities of COVID-19?

    Meh. At this point I'm convinced that this whole thing is overblown. I could offer more details as to why I think that but I'll leave it alone. Nothing's changed at work at all, except perhaps a few freak outs following a sneeze and buddies helping buddies to get quarantined. I'll admit, however, that at the start I thought this thing was going to be much worse.

    I think the film industry will be back to normal within a couple of years tops, at least as far as the pandemic is concerned. Another huge recession will **** it up as well though and that seems to have started already.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: A Need To Adjust Scripts for Realities of COVID-19?

      I'm of the opposite opinion. From what I read the number of cases, including deaths, is likely higher than reported. Schools that have been open for a week are already reporting cases. Yeah it most fatal to people age 60s and older, but now deaths are skewing younger. And we haven't even entered the usual flu season yet.

      As the article said, until there's a vaccine that works, I don't see us going back to business as usual for quite some time.
      Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: A Need To Adjust Scripts for Realities of COVID-19?

        I guess we'll have to wait and see then.

        I personally wouldn't alter my stories due to the pandemic but I understand why some will. I think it makes more sense for working pros than people trying to break in though.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: A Need To Adjust Scripts for Realities of COVID-19?

          It seems this is already in play with at least 50% of the ideas that sold that would not have sold w/o pandemic for various reasons.

          So if you have a low budget 2 people in a room SAW idea that is always marketable, but maybe even more now.

          And there will be a whole lot more ZOOM based horror movies. There was SEARCHING before this and I assume we will get parts 1, 2, 3, 4....

          If you have a DINNER WITH ANDRE spec, break that out.

          But they will still push forward and make Marvel movies.

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          • #6
            Re: A Need To Adjust Scripts for Realities of COVID-19?

            Originally posted by sc111 View Post
            It goes on to talk about movies being "authentic" in this new normal. Like -- will a couple in a rom-com go to a crowded restaurant or would a long walk down a quiet lane be more realistic.
            my guess it's a con-game that they don't want independent production companies to start to shoot smaller projects and have to give up marketshare

            ... and if they start losing money, they create strict enforcement of COVID safety compliances on set so that it still costs millions to make a project.

            they are working off of huge profit margins with massive overhead... once one of the production companies breaks rank and makes small independent movies and profits, the rest will jump in
            Ricky Slade: Listen to me, I intentionally make this gun look that way because I am smart.

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            • #7
              Re: A Need To Adjust Scripts for Realities of COVID-19?

              Originally posted by Julysses View Post
              my guess it's a con-game that they don't want independent production companies to start to shoot smaller projects and have to give up marketshare

              ... and if they start losing money, they create strict enforcement of COVID safety compliances on set so that it still costs millions to make a project.

              they are working off of huge profit margins with massive overhead... once one of the production companies breaks rank and makes small independent movies and profits, the rest will jump in
              The article did touch on indy prodcos. You may be right re your last sentence.
              Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: A Need To Adjust Scripts for Realities of COVID-19?

                Originally posted by sc111 View Post
                The article did touch on indy prodcos. You may be right in your last sentence.
                I'm not trying to start a conversation about COVID or safety... nothing is worth risking your life, but yeah, creatives hate packaging and the studio/big-4 system that doesn't distribute profits to the creators

                but yeh let us look at what's dead
                • theatrical release
                • film festival
                • DVD sales (long dead)
                • foreign market


                and what will make money
                • streaming
                • Amazon/iTunes/Download
                • Advertising streaming/Television


                ...and then what plays well on small box TV or phones
                Ricky Slade: Listen to me, I intentionally make this gun look that way because I am smart.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: A Need To Adjust Scripts for Realities of COVID-19?

                  I had horrible timing on one aspect (police shooting backstory) of a contained outdoor thriller with three characters. But the rest is coincidentally very covid friendly. Or unfriendly. And we haven’t seen it before. We’ll see.
                  Last edited by Satriales; 08-14-2020, 07:34 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Re: A Need To Adjust Scripts for Realities of COVID-19?

                    I think a lot is up in the air, but I also think a lot of really smart people are forming a strategy and planning for the near future.

                    I think people want to be reminded of how the world was pre-covid. They also want to know how to navigate the new world with Covid. I think much depends on where you are in the US, and in the larger picture, the world.

                    There are safer places than others. Here in Connecticut it's pretty safe, but companies are still working from home until a vaccine is developed.

                    I'm not sure tentpoles will be a major focus for a while. They'll struggle to finish the big ones they've already invested in, but I imagine there are some high level strategic meetings going on about how to capture as much revenue as possible in the immediate future.

                    They're going to consider what to move forward with and what to back burner. From a business aspect they may have to move to a new lower budget line-up that can carry them to a time when it's safe to resume tentpole production.

                    I suspect that that part of the business will have to change. Adapt. And may not survive as people get used to NOT going to the theaters.

                    If people get really used to having movie parties at home, it might be a game changer. Imagine movies costing $40-$50 dollars for early release rentals, not purchases? I think one film already came out at $29.99, didn't it?

                    The good news is they won't abandon the entertainment industry. And those that are quick about it, could very well be the ones that come out on top. I remember when the studios, years and years ago, talked about how streaming was going to be the new normal- and here we are.

                    I would imagine, much depends on whether an effective vaccine is developed and how they will pay to get it to the sets to make a film happen. I mean, elite athletes are getting tested on a regular basis while many Americans that should be tested can't "qualify- because they don't have symptoms. Is there anything more stupid than that?
                    "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

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                    • #11
                      Re: A Need To Adjust Scripts for Realities of COVID-19?

                      Weren't theater ticket sales already starting the journey down the crapper before all this? Only the big franchises and the occasional low budget Blumhouse type seemed to make good money. Could be wrong.

                      I believe there was another thread about that topic. Watching at home vs. going out.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: A Need To Adjust Scripts for Realities of COVID-19?

                        Eventually things will be released on a streaming platform and you can rent in theatre movies as they play in the theaters.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: A Need To Adjust Scripts for Realities of COVID-19?

                          Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
                          I think a lot is up in the air, but I also think a lot of really smart people are forming a strategy and planning for the near future.
                          Hollywood and really smart people??
                          they gave up DVD sales, Rental market so they could focus on foreign sales... everything they've tried has failed and now they've heavily invest against the American market which is categorically an incredibly poor decision.

                          Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
                          I'm not sure tentpoles will be a major focus for a while. They'll struggle to finish the big ones they've already invested in, but I imagine there are some high level strategic meetings going on about how to capture as much revenue as possible in the immediate future.
                          tentpoles are build around summer releases + theatrical releases, all working off the idea of James Cameron's 3D failure... the best way to describe it is a 'junk bond' where it holds value for a short period of time and then is sold right before it's reveal to not hold any value

                          Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
                          If people get really used to having movie parties at home, it might be a game changer. Imagine movies costing $40-$50 dollars for early release rentals, not purchases? I think one film already came out at $29.99, didn't it?
                          this becomes a conversation about what is a night out with a movie and how do we make it work for people. e.g. is a slice of pizza with friends at a mall and yogurt followed by a fun flick -- or a middle-aged couple having dinner and drinks then finding entertainment and escape at the local megaplex

                          I think the theatrical release was failing, foreign market invest was a bad idea and wasn't ever going to be profitable and we were digging a hole by create complete garbage content for mass-market idiots is truly un-American and total trash
                          Ricky Slade: Listen to me, I intentionally make this gun look that way because I am smart.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: A Need To Adjust Scripts for Realities of COVID-19?

                            Originally posted by DDoc View Post
                            Weren't theater ticket sales already starting the journey down the crapper before all this? Only the big franchises and the occasional low budget Blumhouse type seemed to make good money. Could be wrong.

                            I believe there was another thread about that topic. Watching at home vs. going out.
                            it's the competition with streaming that's screwing everything up
                            Ricky Slade: Listen to me, I intentionally make this gun look that way because I am smart.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: A Need To Adjust Scripts for Realities of COVID-19?

                              Originally posted by Julysses View Post
                              Hollywood and really smart people??
                              they gave up DVD sales, Rental market so they could focus on foreign sales... everything they've tried has failed and now they've heavily invest against the American market which is categorically an incredibly poor decision.


                              tentpoles are build around summer releases + theatrical releases, all working off the idea of James Cameron's 3D failure... the best way to describe it is a 'junk bond' where it holds value for a short period of time and then is sold right before it's reveal to not hold any value


                              this becomes a conversation about what is a night out with a movie and how do we make it work for people. e.g. is a slice of pizza with friends at a mall and yogurt followed by a fun flick -- or a middle-aged couple having dinner and drinks then finding entertainment and escape at the local megaplex

                              I think the theatrical release was failing, foreign market invest was a bad idea and wasn't ever going to be profitable and we were digging a hole by create complete garbage content for mass-market idiots is truly un-American and total trash
                              You make good points. I never understood the logic in abdicating huge segments of the US market to chase after, for example, the China market.

                              There were a number of predictable pitfalls including geo-political.

                              Hollywood is an 100-year old industry and all industries have a life- death cycle. There are books written about it. In the final stages, there's a tendency to make bad decisions while in a state of denial.
                              Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-

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