For those of you just joining us, about two months ago, I got Pitch Slapped. In the middle of rewriting my latest comedy spec, C
ountless Melodies -- an all-male collegiate a cappella group tries to recapture its former glory by becoming national champions once again, if the group could only defeat its archrivals, the three-time defending champion Blue Belles -- I discovered the trailer for Pitch Perfect when it premiered on IMDb. Pitch Perfect (coming to theatres October 5!) looks like essentially the same movie I'm writing except the female a cappella group singers are the protagonists, not the antagonists. Great, now what? At that point, I could have stopped my rewrite, tossed the script in the proverbial drawer, and moved on. That would have been sensible. Instead, I finished the rewrite and posted my script online for anyone to read. Here's why:
1. My Script is Essentially Unproducible
You can read my previous post to learn how I completely missed the announcement about Universal picking up Pitch Perfect over a year ago and essentially wasted a year writing C
ountless Melodies. My script, however, wasn't some random comedy idea I had. The idea bounced around in my head for a few years because (I'm not ashamed to say it) I sang in an all-male a cappella group in college -- The Johns Hopkins University AllNighters. Finally, I decided to write this script because the idea wouldn't go away and I wanted to "write what I know".
Fast forward to this summer, and my latest comedy spec looks exactly like a movie coming out this fall. How unoriginal. I can't exactly shop this spec around in the hopes of selling it, so why not put it online as a calling card? It's really no different than posting a short film online to promote one's directing skills.
Let's face it. Agents, managers and producers won't read scripts unless they are direct referrals. Many won't even acknowledge query letters anymore merely asking them if they are interested in reading your script.
With a virtually identical story hitting theatres in two months, I don't expect this script to be produced, let alone sold. So why not let the world read it? And who knows? Maybe someone will read it, like my writing style, and pass it on to someone else. Maybe it will land in the hands of someone who can help me further my career. Or maybe not, but the cost to me is nothing.
2. Aspiring Screenwriters are Too Precious about Their Screenplays (Myself Included)
I don't want to be an aspiring screenwriter. I want to be a professional screenwriter, which I readily admit is almost laughable since I live in Albuquerque, not Los Angeles or even New York. To become a professional screenwriter, I'm constantly looking for new ways to get my scripts into the hands of people who can help me develop, sell and produce them.
If my previous scripts were good enough, they would have sold. I have had requests from managers, production companies and fellowship programs to read my scripts. I've placed in the top tiers of competitions. What have I sold? Nothing. Have I improved as a screenwriter over the years? Yes, I think so.
Unless I plan to direct one of my scripts myself (and I have some of those), what is the harm in posting my previous screenplays online? The only reason I haven't is because I think my writing is getting better, and I want to put my best foot forward. Ironically, Pitch Perfect has provided me with an excellent reason to reveal my latest comedy spec to the widest audience possible with no fear of the idea being stolen because someone already made this movie.
Oh, and about that fear of ideas being stolen, it's ridiculous. No one in Hollywood wants to steal my ideas. If they liked my ideas, they would buy my scripts or hire me to write the stories they want to produce. Someday, I hope that comes true. Until that happens, I'm going to be less precious about my screenplays. I may not post all of them online in their entirety, but if a few rounds of pitching and selling go nowhere, I'll probably post the first 15-30 pages online to add to my public portfolio.
3. This is a Good Opportunity, Not an Insurmountable Obstacle
Universal Studios has launched a major marketing campaign for a funny film about collegiate a cappella groups coming out this fall. I have a funny script about collegiate a cappella groups. Perhaps I can hitch a ride on this bandwagon and promote my own work.
4. I Spent Too Much Time on This Screenplay to Throw It in the Proverbial Drawer
I never even had the chance to shop this script around. My wife hasn't even read it (not that she wants to read it). Right at the moment when I was about to fire off query letters to potential producers, Universal launched its campaign for Pitch Perfect. This script never saw the light of day. If I had read the Variety report about Pitch Perfect back in June 2011, I would have realized that I had a commercial idea, but somebody else beat me to the punch, and moved on to the next one. I want to push this script out the door, simply as a validation of my efforts.
5. It's Time to Move On
This twist in events during my rewriting process oddly made me focus extremely hard on completing the best rewrite possible on C
ountless Melodies. Oh, sure, it's far from perfect and would go through several more rewrites if it had a chance of going into production someday, but because I wanted to publish this screenplay online very quickly, I became incredibly critical of my own work. I need to bring that intensity, that laser focus to all of my scripts moving forward. Now, it's time to move on.
Want to read my script?
You'll be happy to know that you can now find it online, or better yet, check it out below. [After over a year of having the script online, I've decided to take it off Scribd so I can focus on my other projects. If you really, really want to read it, email me] If you like it, please pass it on. If you have constructive criticism, please let me know. If you have nothing but nasty comments for me because the Internet is anonymous, I'm a big boy and can handle it, but you may want to consider focusing your energies elsewhere -- perhaps on your own screenplay.
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Nice. I always find it humorous when people worry that someone will steal their idea. I've never really had a problem with strangers reading it. It's people close to me whose opinions really matter that I'm usually scared to show it too
August 23, 2012 at 2:42PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Exactly, Jack. Your close writing friends always know where to punch holes in your scripts, making you feel worthless as a writer. Strangers? Meh. Strangers with clout in the industry? Different story.
August 23, 2012 at 3:18PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
If i was you why not go to look the film and wroth the sequel a number 2 . Maybe your script is close an off and original an of for this. If they have a success you have a market for you.
August 30, 2012 at 3:07PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
"Too Precious" are you kidding? you're kidding right? OF COURSE one is - it's your ****ing script!!??
August 31, 2012 at 3:04AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
I know that your heart sank when you saw the Universal promotion.
I had the same experience a few years ago. I thought that I was writing the next big JAWS script. A friend called me one day to ask on what was I working. I told him, SUPER SHARK. "Are you at your computer?" he asked. I said that I was. He sent me a page and there it was someone had beaten me to the punch and I was just about done with the script. Well, in my mind, it is better than Hollywood's produced script. Then, it happened again.
What I have since come to realize is this, nobody is sleeping. We are reading the same stories and formulating ideas for scripts from them. At a given moment, there are at least twenty people who are thinking the same thing that some other person is thinking.
I hear a reader once say, "When I was stealing ideas for directors on ----- lot in Hollywood . . . ".
A friend of mine who attended N.Y.U. wrote a script entitled, "SPINNING WHEELS". This was his thesis film. It about a terrorist who placed a bomb in a taxi. Once that car hit a certain speed, it could not slow below that speed or the car would explode. Someone took the idea and placed it on a bus and my friend was never the same again.
Someone is stealing.
August 23, 2012 at 3:17PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Fact is if you look at the "Everything is a Remix" feature on this site it is historically well documented a number of people are constantly working on very similar ideas at the same time ,because we are all subject to the same cultural stimulus ,so it's tough but kinda inevitable and doesn't necessarily mean someone has nicked your idea.
August 23, 2012 at 4:19PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
August 23, 2012 at 5:22PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
. . . unless your one of the team who worked on the original concept and trailer for that which LA producers, stole, raped and re-named The Chernobyl Diaries.
. . . unless your the writer of a book that was out-right stolen by hollywood-types and used without permission for a film called Premium Rush*, utilising the exact same characters, themes and in many places ACTUALLY out-right stealing lines of dialoge and character interaction from the book.
and not a penny paid to the author. nice.
August 31, 2012 at 3:08AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Christopher, wouldn't you want to wait until you see the movie? Just one month away. I have a friend who was writing a spec werewolf feature and got really upset when he saw the trailer for The Wolfman since there were few of the elements present in his story. It turned out it was a total different movie. Just saying...
August 23, 2012 at 4:19PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
I could've, but I really wanted to move on to other scripts and I really wanted to get this out the door. I saw it as a good opportunity to showcase my work at the same time a major studio is running a campaign for a very similar movie. As soon as Pitch Perfect comes out, the publicity train will slow to a crawl, so I figured I'd jump on while it's picking up steam.
August 23, 2012 at 5:25PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
In my first year of college I had this random idea for a short film about a guy whose family moved around a lot when he was young so he didn't really have a "best friend" growing up, so when it came time for him to marry the girl of his dreams he had to pick from a handful of close friends to be his best man at the wedding... sound familiar? Apparently someone in Hollywood had the same idea, and before I had acquired and honed my skills to become a screenwriter to write it down it was already made into a feature called "i love you, man"... which admittedly was way better than the idea i had in my head. But still... kind of discouraging.
August 23, 2012 at 4:58PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Peter, look at it this way. You had a commercially viable idea. That's a good start, and actually encouraging. Some people can't even come up with commercially viable ideas.
August 23, 2012 at 5:27PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
I am wondering about your choice of continuous rapid-fire profanity, from the title onward. It's distributed widely amongst the characters. Was there a narrative or commercial logic to that?
August 23, 2012 at 6:10PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Basically, that's how these guys talk when they get together. It's like a dorky fraternity, and the language of choice is typically profane. I wanted to be true to the characters in these particular settings (also based on personal experiences).
From a commercial perspective, getting guys to see a movie about an all-male a cappella group can be a challenge, unless they think it's a fraternity comedy, which it is. Getting women to see a fraternity comedy can be a challenge, unless they know it features amazing a cappella music. Ultimately, neither of these things matters if the story is no good. So, story first, keep it real, make it funny, even if it has to be profane, then those other elements that may be deemed commercial may follow.
Of course, a producer could push for this to be PG-13 like Pitch Perfect, and then I'd have to eschew profanity. But no producer is pushing for a rewrite :)
One of my other scripts that I'm hoping to direct myself has essentially no profanity because of the characters and their settings. Neither the characters nor the story call for it.
August 23, 2012 at 6:48PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Thank you for your gracious reply Christopher; so the answer is literalism (in the sense of presenting reality in all its ugliness). I'm glad you clarified that as one could misinterpret it as your personal style.
I also think this is a good exercise for you in achieving closure. You had some form of consumer to deliver to, it just happened to be people on this website as opposed to a movie producer. I salute your not being too precious about your work and honestly as long as you've copyrighted it I can't see much hazard in sharing. If you have something great it might be found that way, and it will be at least a few months headstart for someone to just option your script rather than get someone to write a different variant of it.
August 23, 2012 at 7:03PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Okay...I don't debate your point, but copyright your stuff just the same. Having them still sign agreements before reading your stuff still seems smart to me.
August 23, 2012 at 6:11PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
That's unless of course you put it online for everyone. like you did.
August 23, 2012 at 6:13PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
The script is registered with the U.S. Copyright office. I just chose to share it online. But your point to copyright your work is completely valid.
August 23, 2012 at 6:48PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
This is OT, but how do you work around adapting a novel into a short film when a studio already owns the rights to it? Do you simply just end up making a fan film with a disclaimer and never try to enter it anywhere?
August 23, 2012 at 6:53PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Sorry I didn't reply sooner - it is a little OT as you said. I wouldn't try to work around the rights of a novel I didn't own. If you don't have the rights to a previously published work, I would suggest moving on. It's not worth your time or legal hassle. Make something original. Write. Then write some more. Then rewrite. Make your own film. Tell your own story. If making movies is something you really want to do, this is the advice I give you.
August 24, 2012 at 1:53PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
do you have links or pointers to documents one can download and use for this purpose?
August 31, 2012 at 3:12AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
ive been writing a feature film for the past 3 years about MKULTRA, and then I saw an indiegogo campaign of a guy who was making a short film of the same topic, but more thriller/action movie-ish, with the same title, and the campaign failed and they only made 400 dollars. I felt SO good when i saw his dreams crash and burn.
August 23, 2012 at 8:24PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
And with that kind of mean-spiritedness John, I'm sure you will do very well in the world. Why is every post you make here negative, overly critical and pompous?
August 24, 2012 at 9:12AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
because its funny when you guys get mad
August 26, 2012 at 4:10PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
and you know what - there's probably more than one other guy writing with that concept in mind - me - for instance and 1,786 other people to.
go throw your dolly out the pram somewhere else yeah :)
August 31, 2012 at 3:14AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Hi. I have no idea how my comments will be taken here, but I'm going to weigh in anyway because you have a great idea here and I'd like to see you grow it. Since I'm only a few pages in at this point, my comments are going to center around my thoughts thus far.
I feel like you're like you're using profanity and vulgarity as a crutch here in place of actual character development and snappy dialogue. I have no doubt at all that you and your buddies used to drop the F-bomb at every other word intervals. That's realistic, yes. (I use the f-word quite frequently myself. Living with the in-laws for four and a half years does that to a person. It gets a little awkward when my two year old repeats me, but I digress...) But the point of a movie is to tell a story, and anything that doesn't fulfill that purpose must be seriously considered for the chopping block. Even documentaries edit out the long pauses and stutters as best they can. When you write dialogue you want to eliminate any unnecessary layers between your characters and the audience. That's not just profanity/vulgarity, it's excessive use of unnecessary adjectives (the type stuffing Stephenie Meyer favors to cover up the fact that she can't actually write) as well as colloquialisms like "um", "like", "whatever" and "so yeah". You want your dialogue to be clear and not muddied up with unnecessary words so that your audience can get into it right away. You need to be careful with profanity because a little really goes a long way. It should be like a slap in the face and if you're constantly slapping your audience in the face, they're going stop paying attention.
I'm not saying don't be realistic, but make sure your dialogue doesn't become a barrier to storytelling. Watch "The Memphis Belle" (about WWII bomber crews who could swear up a storm) and you'll see that while they certainly used profanity/vulgarity, they used it relatively sparingly in the movie so that when they did drop an F-bomb, it caught the audience's attention. They didn't drop an F-bomb on every page of the script just because bomber crews would have used it as a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, and exclamation in real life. They created a focus on the characters and story rather. In fact, a good example of smart, snappy dialogue is "Juno". Diablo Cody was roundly praised for the dialogue in this movie and she didn't have to say "fuck" on every page to achieve that. And in fact, because her characters weren't busy say "shocking" words all the time (is anything really shocking any more?), she was able to establish a unique voice for each of them that made them for memorable.
Even if your characters would say "fuck" all the time, it's more important that we understand their personalities than their penchant for swearing. You've introduced your characters mostly by giving us their vital statistics- age, class rank, nationality, appearance. But those aren't actual personality traits. We want to actually know who your characters are when we meet them. I see you've tried to allude to this by mentioning that they all wear different vests and ties, but I'd actually like to see you take that a step further. Is one of your guys an off the wall type who wears a Looney Toons tie and lime green vest? What about a buttoned down type who wears a dorky looking bow-tie? How about a colorblind guy who is always mixing up his reds and greens? Another way to establish personality is with dialogue. Right now, your characters all have a very similar voice. Imagine your characters going to a job interview. Imagine how they would each answer the same question like, "What is your greatest weakness?" What would they eat for breakfast? How would each of them try to pick up a girl? I can't suggest enough reading a book like "The Color Code" by Taylor Hartman for understanding personalities. When my husband and I create characters, we often think of them as personalities like Dr. Hartman describes in his book. It has helped immensely.
Probably not the type of stuff anyone wants to hear, but I actually love the process of character development. It's like getting to know someone new.
August 23, 2012 at 11:04PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Thanks, Nicky. Very valid criticism. I'd be curious to hear what you think when you finish reading the script.
August 24, 2012 at 4:58AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
October 5th is generally not considered a "great" release date, so chances are that the movie will ultimately not perform well or be seen by a very wide audience. Wait a "beat" (musically or scriptorially) and then take your script back out of the drawer and see if you can sell it later on anyway...
August 24, 2012 at 1:39AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Good to hear from you. Definitely thought the same thing regarding the release date. Time will literally tell.
August 24, 2012 at 5:00AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
The start is unnecessarily vulgar Christopher. I would liked to have seen clever quips over the vulgarities; overall idea is great though.
August 24, 2012 at 4:14AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Thanks, Razor. I understand you and others are a bit off-put by the profanity, especially in the opening. Definitely something for me to consider moving forward. In these initial pages, I'm trying to strike a balance between the dichotomy of an all-male a cappella group (which may not necessarily stir up connotations of the coolest kids on campus) and a fraternity (which is what this group really is, even though the audience may not realize this if they haven't been in this type of group before).
I also made a conscious decision to write an R-rated comedy, mainly for language. This script probably has 10-times the profanity of anything else I've written, simply because that's how these guys talk, even though people may not realize it.
All that being said, if I were to tackle a future rewrite, I would certainly reevaluate the use of profanity (possibly even consider going all the way to PG-13 territory and leave only one carefully chosen f-bomb) and look to improve the dialogue throughout.
August 24, 2012 at 5:09AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
BTW, thanks to everyone who has taken time to read my script, even the first few pages, and offer constructive criticism. I really appreciate it.
August 24, 2012 at 5:23AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Wow..Mr Boone...you almost replied every single comment to your post.. thats rare and thumbs up to you my brother for taking the time.
August 24, 2012 at 6:16AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
It's the least I can do, TJ, if people are willing to spend a few minutes reading and critiquing my script :)
August 24, 2012 at 6:20AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Maybe try turning it into a book and self publish? Great job finishing anyway.
August 24, 2012 at 5:47AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Maybe try turning it into a book and self publish? You could try that. Great job finishing anyway.
August 24, 2012 at 5:47AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Didn't mean to double post, sorry.
August 24, 2012 at 5:48AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
I'd like to continue the dialogue here on NFS regarding the use of heavy profanity in the early pages of the script. If I were to say that the target audience would be similar to that of "Superbad", how would that impact your perspective on the profanity in the script?
August 24, 2012 at 6:19AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Well, it would limit your audience and will probably get an R-rating. Personally, I would use less extreme words or use them less often. I've never seen "Superbad" so I don't know how to look at it.
August 24, 2012 at 6:26AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Superbad was written by a pair of 15 year old boys, so they could automatically be forgiven for writing in that style. Though certainly it serves as an existence proof of mainstream success with profanity.
I just don't think the people who are going to want to see a movie about college a cappella singers are going to enjoy being hit with an unending stream of fucketyfuck, nor will anyone trying to pitch this be able to pass the laugh test saying "I want you to invest $5M in this great movie, Cuntless Melodies. And by the way it's not a porn flick."
I think the person above is right when they suggest that reality sucks. Reality is what we are watching movies to avoid.
August 24, 2012 at 8:00AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Good point about watching movies to avoid reality. I hope this script in its entirety contains a story that would take people out of their regular lives for a short while.
And I also realize the title as written is too provocative for production. It's definitely an attention-grabber, along lines of some recent Black List scripts. Remember the Natalie Portman-Ashton Kutcher film "No Strings Attached" from earlier this year? (I didn't see it, maybe you didn't either). Anyway, it originally hit the Black List as "F*ckbuddies". It's provocative, it gets your attention before you've read the script. The studio never would have released it as "F*ckbuddies", but I guarantee that title alone got some readers and executives to notice.
As for Superbad, don't be so quick to dismiss it as two 15-year-old boys who wrote it. Sure, they were 14-15 years old when they started to write it. Then they rewrote it and rewrote it under the tutelage of Judd Apatow for several years. The language is still vulgar and profane, but ultimately the movie has a lot of heart thanks to Apatow's input, and that's why it works (and why Apatow's Knocked Up and 40-Year-Old Virgin work, too). I've tried to do the same in the second and third acts of Countless Melodies, put a lot of heart in Michael's story line with Casey and his future as well as the B-story with Beau and Charles.
Of course, if I can't get a reader past the first 5-10 pages, who cares about the second and third acts?
August 24, 2012 at 8:41AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Now you see "Fuckbuddies" is a winning title. "Cuntless Melodies" is not. Eye of the beholder yaddayadda but this is all about what's cool and what isn't, it can't be entirely boiled down to profanity yes or no or any other rule. You can do anything if you've got a sense of what's cool. "Fuckbuddies" hits you and makes your mind instantly see a rawer version of say, When Harry Met Sally. Cuntless Melodies...?
Comedy is the greatest challenge in all the arts I think. Successful comic writers tend to be very depressed geniuses with encyclopedic knowledge of psychology and culture. Plus a certain knack.
But I do congratulate you Christopher on picking a concept that did get made and distributed and finishing your screenplay.
August 24, 2012 at 9:20AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
I'm wondering if people are trying to categorize your script with that of Glee or High school Musical given the genre. Going into this with the thought that this was a college group, I had the mindset of Old School. I'm only a few pages into it, but it didn't strike me as odd at all. I don't think an R rating will limit the audience. People see what they want to see. If it was more of a teeny-boper version (Glee), I think you'd have the same number of viewers, it would just be a different crowd.
August 24, 2012 at 8:42AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Thanks, Alec. If you're reading this with an "Old School" mindset, you're in the right frame of mind. It's really an anti-Glee, anti-HSM a cappella movie, more in the frat comedy vein. Of course, I didn't really set it up specifically on NFS in this post.
Also, I feel that when you are hit with enough profanity, you get desensitized to it. I wasn't trying to shock with the profanity in the dialogue. If I wanted to do that, I would certainly use it very sparingly (as I do in many of my other scripts).
That said, I think the reactions to the initial pages of the script here underscore the importance of knowing your audience. That goes for readers, producers, and executives, not just people buying movie tickets.
August 24, 2012 at 8:55AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Wow! I totally wasn't expecting to launch a discussion on marketing, rating, audience, etc.! And thanks everyone for being so nice about my comments. I spent a lot of time trying to explain my stance on the profanity in this particular script because I didn't want to be dismissed as some prudish wacko. (Especially because if anyone happens to check out my blog they'll find out that I am a nice- albeit relatively liberal- Mormon girl who hails from BYU.) To me, the issue isn't so much one of rating or audience, but a matter of storytelling. I think that especially when you're writing about something close to you it is very easy to gloss over the actual steps involved in character development and just say, "This character is me and/or my friend(s). There I'm done." I felt that one weakness in this script is that it felt like the characters were just classified as a men's collegiate a cappella group, therefore they swear a lot, therefore dialogue and character development are done if there is enough profanity/vulgarity. I think what I'd really like to see is for you to read a book like "The Color Code" (even a brief skim), maybe even talk with some of your old buddies and then rewrite this opening without any swearing (forcing you to really get creative with the dialogue) and then go back and add in the swear words where they really seem essential to the character's personality and story. Thanks again everyone for being so open to my ideas.
August 24, 2012 at 10:40PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Yes I think when introducing characters it's good to use a variety of stereotypes. Stereotype is an economical way to make a story much richer instantly because the reader/viewer brings all their earlier experiences with people of that type onto the new character the moment they recognize the type. "Oh he's _that_ kind of guy, one of those..." Having that in the script informs the casting department, wardrobe, etc. and everyone "gets it" right away if you have a commonly understood stereotype in place.
Just like with plots you want to have a twist in the stereotype too...the person is crude and vulgar like typical John Belushi characters, but they have a soft spot for kittens perhaps. You need to establish the stereotype first very firmly before the twist can serve as an endearing contrast. Again, it's a cariacature of life, not a true picture of an actual person that we are wanting.
And in this case the general public I think sees the types of young men that sing in a cappella groups as nerdy, not vulgar. If there was a vulgar one amongst a group of straight-laced ones that might be an interesting contrast, does he have Tourette's, or was he from a poor neighborhood? The idea that dorky guys who would join singing groups swear a lot is not established as a stereotype at least in my mind...you would think that type would want to do pretty things with their mouths rather than ugly ones.
But that does set up an interesting contrast opportunity...these men with their sparkling and pure public image are actually vulgar frat boys behind the scenes. Fine, and if you want to play off that contrast, you open with a scene establishing that these are grown up choir boys that seem harmless and sweet, and then the show ends and we go backstage to be shocked by the profanity and debauchery. "The Dark Side of Dorks" would be the logline there. =)
August 25, 2012 at 2:42AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Come to think of it, a comedy based around a group of Tourette's sufferers who form an a cappella singing troupe because it's the only way they can control their condition, is a concept with win all over it. I mean the possibilities are endless for knee-slappers, especially if you have them sing sweet homolies in churches and senior homes and the like. Comedic tension galore, which one of them will bust out swearing next?
Thank me in your credits. ;-)
August 25, 2012 at 3:03AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
That really is a brilliant idea. AND it would turns the "loss" of being beaten to the punch by the release of "pitch perfect" into a win. Perfect chance to take the piss out of it, as we Aussies like to say :)
I honestly think this is a winning concept to Mr Boone! :D
August 25, 2012 at 10:37AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
Thank you Lliam. =)
Working title: "I Swear I Can Sing"
August 25, 2012 at 4:43PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
You might seriously consider taking your screenplay and novelizing it. Then putting both the novel and the script together in book form. Include the discussion about what you did, and what happened when you saw the other movie being made. Then using places like Amazon, SmashWords, and CreateSpace, Indie publish the book as both e-book and print-on-demand trade paperback.
The benefit: You tell your story and make money from the book.
You have all those screenplays that can be turned into novel/script combinations just sitting on your hard drive. Clean them up, Indie Publish them, and if they are any good, let the readers decide if they want to buy them.
If you have a good story you will make more money over time from book sales than you ever will from live action movies. Then when you make enough money, shoot and cut your own films. HA!
There are websites that discuss the process of Indie Publishing. You can start with this site to get an idea of what to do:
Think Like a Publisher 2012 Edition
Then read through all of Dean's site. Be sure to always read through the comments. 90% of the information is in the comments. It took me months to read through Dean's site and all the links to the other sites discussing Indie Publishing.
Do the research. This is our time for going Indie at all levels.
August 26, 2012 at 7:26PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
thanks for sharing in the first place!
I read only the 1st and 2nd scene... some raw comments, remarks and thoughts.
You get the heavy cavalry out at the very beginning: you start with this (way too) glorious gig where the characters are showed as (not too likeable) rockstars - shallow, vulgar and not really that funny... (good for them, but it doesn't really make me root for them...)
and then you basically confirm that image with the 2nd scene: (not too subtle) big party ...
(party scene:one of the highpoints and also main reasons people go to see movies like that (Project X, Superbad, many more...basically establishing the genre: a not too intelligent, not too deep movie aimed at teenagers...also, so far more vulgar than funny)
... main characters seem to enjoy the party more than I (the spectator) do, all goes well for them (they seem to get the attention they want), but since i am not on their side yet (why should i be?) i don't really care, there is no real story going on...
then a "cool kid" and a "beautiful girl" characters come in, and it all seems a bit too much of a cliche...
(Battlestar Galactica? Really? is that a question a presumably intelligent nerd would ask a girl he's trying to have conversation with? (maybe only if he would want to intentionally appear nerdy for some reason...))
- my idea of a capella singing before seeing your film: inherently not cool, unmanly, yet interesting discipline
(i would imagine rather uncool, complex, witty and intelligent characters engaging in it, making watching them shine and (maybe) become popular all the more interesting...
Their trying to appear cool (big, vulgar talk) would be more a sort of a mask, a way to blend in with the rest of the kids
(by the way i like main characters being male group, making them even more of outsiders (girls singing a capella is no big deal and not out of place...)
what i see in your film: shallow rockstars who are not outsiders and like to swear, drink and party... if they can't impress girls, it's because they're vulgar and dumb (and not because they are not cool enough)
also, i am aware that the plot (competing girls group) will start to unfold next (right?), but this opening didn't really hook me in, neither did it make me relate to the main characters... (but don't worry, maybe i am just not the target audience :-)
hope you find some of the above helpful.
Keep writing! All the best,
August 26, 2012 at 9:38PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
"Unless I plan to direct one of my scripts myself (and I have some of those), what is the harm in posting my previous screenplays online?"
because if there is any kind of unique structure, ideas or talent in your work it's likely to be stolen/ripped off and used by lesser writers who's work is more than likely a mix of other peoples's ideas, stolen from scripts published online just like yours? . . . or you could have kept it to yourself and incorporated parts of it into future works.
August 31, 2012 at 3:18AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
I'm reading your screenplay and I absolutely love it. I think I would have preferred this to Pitch Perfect and I'm one of the girls that speaks in Pitch Perfect quotes.
January 18, 2013 at 11:00AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM
It sounds like you gave up. Run out of options. Gave in. Sure you can post your script online now because your idea was already taken by someone else. Doesn't hurt. But in doing so no one really knows if it's original or a copy of an idea that you say you had first. After all someone else with a similar idea has already put the idea into motion. In this universe many people have ideas. Sometimes hey I thought of that. That's because we share a connection with the universe and often have similar thoughts.
Everyone wants to make it in hollywood. Whether its fame or fortune or both. Only a small percentage gets to live the dream. And breaking into hollywood is like breaking into a clique a secret organization a club. You have to play the game and wait it out and that's if you get your foot in the door. There are so many talented people in this world but the people already in the game are very reluctant to let others in.
You often hear about people with no acting education or no formal training becoming a big star. What does that tell you. It's getting lucky or knowing the right people or both. If a little kid can act why can't you... Anyone and everyone has the ability to be a star if they are surrounded by the right people. Unfortunately those people can't be interested in helping every person that has dreams of making it in hollywood. They select who gets in and who doesn't.
Like anything the more you do it the better you become at it. As for ideas for movies, tv shows etc there are plenty out there. But what and which ones will be marketable is a challenge to figure out. How do you find the hidden gem that is out there. It's a crap shoot. Thousands of films are submitted to film festivals for review. Only a few hundred are selected and out of those usually only 1 is selected for mainstream attention.
You have to start thinking in a different direction in this new technological era. Fuck hollywood. They will never let all the talented people in their clique. You will see a new way soon. Keep writing. Save for when the moment comes. Then unleash hell upon the naysayers.
June 8, 2013 at 9:40PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM