Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Writing Week (Vol. 4) part 196 - Developing (More) Ideas (Again)

Another week, another set of experiences and work. following a recent discussion I had with my manager, in which he told me that - due to the fastidious state of the spec market industry now - I should consider developing some more ideas to pitch as my next script. Unfortunately, that means temporarily casting aside the Medieval spec, which I already did two drafts of. C'est la vie. 

He gave me some guidance for going forward with crafting these new loglines. The short of it is that I should come up with something tried and true (i.e. a hitman on his final job), but with a unique twist (his targets are monsters). [Aside: this probably isn't unique - I can almost guarantee it isn't - but hopefully you get the idea.] The theory behind this notion is that Hollywood is particularly finicky now, and that the only way to really break in with a spec is to do so with something that's been seen, but is a new angle for the premise. My post-Apocalyptic spec fits this criteria (though, that wasn't intentional on my part); it's a post-Apocalyptic detective story. So far, though, that hasn't amounted to a sale or even really any glowing interest. Again, c'est la vie. 

Now, I can imagine that there are a lot of detractor out there who feel that this sort of advice is a corruption of a writer's "artistic integrity." You're probably right. I probably agree with you. But we have to keep a couple things in mind when discussing this holistic approach to writing a spec. First, the compound ideas that I'm talking about relate more to giant blockbuster tentpole ideas (summer action or horror flicks) than to smaller indie ones. If you write smaller scale character dramas, you needn't concern yourself with the above. Secondly, as much as it might seem like selling out to some people, I feel you have to ask yourself; "would I rather break in with something I'm not quite as keen on than not break in at all?" 

That's an oversimplification of the issue. Let's look at it this way: Sure, mashing two ideas together to create something commercial and "new" as your inaugural script might seem like a less inviting way to explore your writing skills. However, these projects can still be a Hell of a lot of fun to write. More so, if they take off and you nail that major sale, then soon enough, with a few more projects under your belt, not only will you be able to support yourself as a writer for a bit, but you will gain the coveted and necessary power to pitch your dream project. And, quite likely, to get it made. Now isn't that a fair trade off?