Thursday, October 14, 2010

TODAY'S NUGGET: Why the Heat, But No Takers?

Today I read a spec comedy script that has gotten several requests. 

The catchy logline made me curious: It's a "What Women Want" with a frat boy twist.

Would the script live up to the promise?

I read.

I scratched my head.

The good news:  The writer can write.  He has a consistent voice & tone, and made sure the characters do arc.  There's a strong antagonist that puts the antagonist in real jeopardy.

The bad news: I wondered who would want to see this movie. 

This is a comedy (It is a comedy, right?  Or is it a rom-com?  No, comedy. I think it's a comedy.  But it could be a rom-com b/c there are sacrifices for love.)

It's aimed at's a nightmare.

Maybe guys because of the half that is the frat boy part?  Maybe women b/c the other half is a rom-com?

The problem is that the script tries to mesh the wrong ends of two genres, which left me dissatisfied.

I can see guys will complain there's not enough guy jokes.  Then women will complain the romance is sacrificed for guy jokes.

This script is good as a sample, because it shows the writer can set up a very broad comedy. 

However, I'd want to see more scripts from the writer.

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: Even if you write a good script that attracts attention, it might not get past the slush pile. 

Your script must be technically great, deliver emotion, AND ALSO meet the audience's expectations for the genre. 

[This is what is often known as a "marketable" script.]


Ryan said...

How does this compare to something like, "40 Year-Old Virgin?"

Name: Snark E. Snarky said...

Thanks for the question, Ryan. Much more poorly than "40 Y.O. Virgin." I slowly started to dislike the protagonists as the script went on. By the end, I pitied them...not a good feeling for a comedy!

Ryan said...

Well, unlikable protagonists are a tough sell in any genre. I just thought of 40YOV because it's something I could describe as straddling the same line between rom-com and frat boy. So I'm wondering if that's what this guy was trying to do and where you think he went wrong where 40YOV went right.

Name: Snark E. Snarky said...

Ah, I see what you're asking.

In 40 Y.O.V., the writer knew his audience. Steve Carell starts out wimp & w/some help from the frat boys, Steve becomes more himself & more comfortable stepping into his masculinity.

In this spec, the heroes start out masculine, & sure of themselves. They engage in frat boy behanvior & end up simpering & giggly.

Maybe one scene would be funny, but it happens over & over until they have lost their masculinity. It's not realistic or hero-like. And it's certainly not romantic.

I could be wrong, but I think the writers wanted to arc the leads from jerks to more in touch with their softer sides. But they crossed the line too far. It was more farce than comedy.

I would've rather seen the men show strength through gentleness.

ex. They use humor to extinguish a fight. They stand with someone weaker against bullies.

Hope that answers your question!

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