Monday, March 22, 2010

TODAY'S NUGGET: Should I Try to Sell a "Trendy" Script?

[NOTE: Sorry blogosphere for not blogging as frequently of late. I'm writing my own script and am on a real tear.  Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.]

There are few rules I will proclaim are eternal, but here is one: Hollywood will always, always, always buy material that sells.

Predicting what the public will consume is the tricky part.  They try to bank on stuff that's sold before.  Anything too new or different is scary b/c it won't make back a profit to survive another day.

So on the one hand, Hollywood proclaims it wants something new (which it does), but also wants something repeatable & reliable (which it does).

So how do they deal with the dichotomy?  They rely & watch trends.

The way to deal with trends is to recognize:

1) What the trends are
2) What the fatigue level is in Hollywood for the trend

3) Is your script really about the trend or about something universal? (Hint: It should be about the latter.)

Here are 2 examples of specs I read recently:

ex. Script A gives H'wood the bro-mance trend.  But frankly, there are so many copycats, there is a fatigue...unless your "trend" is more universal & just happens to touch on the trend, which this script does not.  I wasn't a big fan.

ex. Script B also gives H'wood the vampire trend, which is rather played out too & a new vampire flick will not stand out.

But what if your script is about the dynamics of a husband-wife or father-son dynamic & they just happen to be vampires? What if this story focused wasn't so much about being vampires, but feeling like a stranger in your own family?  And that's the reason I liked the script so much. Vampire was secondary.

Now you may ask, how do I make my vampire or bro-mance script stand out in a sea of copycats?  Won't the execs just dump my script b/c they think I'm following the passe trend?

My answer: If your script is unusual enough (& by that I mean it is: 1) so clear & fascinating; & 2) a simple phrase summarizes it so it hypes up jaded execs & their assistants), it won't matter when it's submitted.

WHAT I'VE LEARNED:  Trends don't mean much if it's a really, really, really, unusually good script.

When it will be made, that's another story.