Sunday, July 29, 2012

Is that a good idea?

Do you listen to the John August/Craig Mazin podcast? You don't? Oh my, you should. The inside skinny (which is deeper than just "the skinny") on writing things, with particular reference to the Hollywood experience by two people who really know what they're talking about. Go here.

Anyway the interesting question of the week this time around was "Which script should I write next?" to which, in essence, the answer was: The one you'd love to see. The one you'd pay money to go and see.

Which is cool. It decided me on my next TV script (something which would be appointment TV for me) and just this evening, while watching the not-very-good Mummy 3, I had an idea. Just a concept really but, though I say so myself, it is awesome.

Scott at Go into the Story is keen to encourage writers to think of idea after idea (spend time each day just generating ideas), and learn to judge what are the excellent ones - anything less than excellent isn't worth working on. I admit I don't do that, at least not the way he suggests, but I do have ideas constantly. (I'll drive down the road, see someone standing by a wall - and invent a story idea as to why they're there based on the way they look, how they hold themselves and their emotional tone.)

Are you having enough ideas?

What's on the turntable? "Wicked Windows" by Jethro Tull from "J-Tull Dot Com"

Monday, July 02, 2012

Abe Lincoln and the Axe

I saw Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter this weekend. It scores 6.4 on IMDb which is below what is a typical rating for a "reasonable" movie - and, reading the reviews, it definitely polarises viewpoints.

I liked it. As did my wife, daughter (21) and son (15). And it generated some after-movie conversation which is always a good sign. In fact we measure the success of a movie by how much after-movie discussion we engage in.

Many of the IMDb review criticisms are "it's not like the book" so we can ignore those: Some people just can't get past the fact that films are most often not like the book (even LOTR took huge liberties) and to go in expecting it will be is foolish. EDIT: As it turns out the screen adaptation was by the original author anyway, so no "not like the book" complaint is valid.

But the reason, I think, some people did not like is that it's thoughtful and, unlike most action movies, spans almost his entire life.

It's not a perfect film, there were perhaps two points where my screenwriting head went "what?", but it is not by any means a bad film.


What the film does suggest is that the war between the north and south in the US was because vampires find slavery ideal: They can own slaves and then do whatever they want with them without being questioned.

The first part of the film involves Abe fighting vampires on a one-to-one basis, but then moves into his political career where he knows he's still fighting vampires but at a distance instead. Ultimately he has to go hand-to-hand again for the final confrontation.


The vampiric theme is wound into the actual events of Lincoln's life and is treated as a metaphor for slavery. And I can't say that I disagree with the suggestion.

Weirdly enough, though a "summer blockbuster" this film is guaranteed to annoy and upset some people - because of what it says. As one positive reviewer said "You'll have to bring your brain to enjoy this movie."

And I find that rather refreshing.

What's on the turntable? No idea.