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Genre: Crime/Drama
Premise (from writer): During the hedonism of 90s Hollywood, a desperate writer’s career unexpectedly blows up when he starts writing about the crimes he’s committing, putting his Hollywood success on a collision course with the law.
Why You Should Read (from writer): My previous submission (Devil in You, Oct ’14) was relatively well received, “the minimum level of quality required to get made” is basically how it was described. So not outstanding, but still readable. — I believe I’ve progressed with this script. Hopefully I’ve been able to take on board some of the notes from yourself and the SS community about issues in my previous script in order to take ‘Inspired’ to the next level. — 1990s Hollywood was a crazy time, the town’s wealth was reflected in the insane ‘spec wars’, huge actors salaries, and notorious parties. I hope all of that and more is reflected in the script.
Writer: Ned Kilgannon
Details: 112 pages

andrew-garfield-300

Andrew Garfield for Alex?

What do they say? Never write a movie about Hollywood? That’s one of the first things they teach you in screenwriting school. Yeah, but if that were true, we wouldn’t have Sunset Boulevard, or Get Shorty, or The Player. Obviously, it’s possible to write about Hollywood. But I think the tip stems from the idea that unless you’re a part of Hollywood, like entrenched in the day-to-day warfare of the industry, then how can you possibly know what goes on?

And you’re then going to submit your ideas of what goes on to the very people who know what’s going on? It’s like the guy who washes dishes at the restaurant telling the chef how to make a chocolate soufflé.

So I guess the point is, when you write about Hollywood, you’re starting from a deficit. Readers and producers are already suspicious (“What the fuck does this guy know about Hollywood??”). As long as you know that and you’re confident your script can withstand that scrutiny – and of course, you’re backed up by a great story – then why not take a shot at it?

It’s 1994 and Alex Lay is an English transplant who’s come to Los Angeles to capitalize on the script-feeding frenzy that’s taken over Tinsletown. It’s Quentin Tarantino. It’s Joe Esteherez. It’s Shane Black. It’s you can write an idea on the back of your supermarket receipt and sell it for a million dollars.

Alex is on the verge of selling his first script when he gets hit by a car and ends up in the hospital with a 40,000 dollar bill. When he gets out, the sale opportunity has passed him by, and Alex has to figure out how to pay the bill back. He runs into a skater named Hunter who steals expensive art from Hollywood mansions and joins his crew.

After a robbery-gone-bad, Alex gets chased by the cops and is responsible for a girl crashing her car and dying. It’s this event that gives Alex an idea. Why not write about these experiences? Of course, the resulting script catches the attention of the fastest rising star in Hollywood, and pretty soon Alex has a movie.

Unfortunately, the father of the girl who died in the car crash recognizes the depiction of the event in Alex’s film and becomes convinced that Alex had something to do with it. Will this new obstacle insure the end of Alex’s brand new career? Or will Alex, once again, find a way to write himself out of trouble?

Like many scripts that make it to Amateur Friday, the writing here is good. Just yesterday we were talking about “readability” and “Inspired” certainly has that. It’s also very ambitious – a story that takes place over a couple of years (as far as I can tell). It’s as if Ned’s going for an epic look at Hollywood here.

And yet, these things also seem to be the script’s biggest problem. If you look at the movies you pay to see in the theater, they almost always boil down to an easily identifiable genre or subject matter. The action film, the horror film, the biopic, the mob story, the car chase film.

While reading through, “Inspired,” I could never quite figure out where it landed in these categories. It doesn’t reside in any identifiable mold that I can pinpoint. And the anti-Hollywood crowd will scream and shout that this is a good thing! We need more movies that are DIFFERENT. But my question is, how many of these people actually go and pay to see movies that don’t fall into identifiable categories?

Let’s paint the best-case scenario here. Let’s say all those people put their money where their mouth is. What percentage of moviegoers would you say that group is? .01%? .02% if we’re being generous? The point is, if you write something that doesn’t fall inside of an obvious genre or type of movie that Hollywood sells, you’ve made it nearly impossible to sell your script.

A movie I keep going back to is Out of the Furnace. That film actually DID fit into a recognizable film category. The former criminal just out of prison who tries to get back on his feet. That film starred one of the biggest movie stars in the world. Christian Bale. And it made NOTHING. And that’s the kind of market you’re up against as a writer. Even with a movie star to sell your film, if you’re not slotted into one of the big genres, your job’s nearly impossible.

Another recent film I look at is Focus. Focus’s genre used to be one of Hollywood’s favorites – the con-man movie. It, too, had one of the biggest movie stars in the world selling it – Will Smith. And the movie made NOTHING. Even the fringe genres Hollywood used to be able to depend on can’t be depended on anymore.

Now, does this mean that films like Inspired can’t be made? No. It does mean, however, that they have to be made completely independently, and that they will require the writer to become his own producer and to put the movie together himself, because every other producer in town won’t see it as a sound investment.

And they’re not wrong. Take yourself out of the equation. If you were looking at this from the other side, would you put 15 million dollars into it? On a film that doesn’t fit into any known genre and would therefore be impossible to market?

Now there’s one caveat to all this – and that’s if the script is fucking amazing. I don’t mean like, “Yeah, that was good.” I mean like, “Holy fucking shit, that was awesome.” Nightcrawler comes to mind. Every argument I’m making against Inspired here could’ve been made about that script as well. But that script was fucking awesome.

And even WITH that awesomeness, the writer had to become the director and the producer in order to get it anywhere. It still had to be a personal project that he pushed through the system himself.

Now can Inspired get to that point? I don’t know. I know it’s not there yet though. The narrative seemed to be constantly changing. It sort of all connected together, but only loosely. We’re becoming a screenwriter in Hollywood, now we’re stealing paintings, now we’re involved in a huge accident, now we’re hanging out with one of the biggest movie stars in the world, now we’re kidnapping people.

There was somewhat of a build in the story, but it was mild. It never packed enough punch to keep me hooked.

I think there are two potential problems here. The first is the length of time the story takes place in. It’s so long. So the script can never sustain any tension. Months go by then MORE months go by. If you look at Nightcrawler, you’ll see how taut that screenplay is. Everything feels so immediate. “Inspired” is the opposite. Everything feels so relaxed. Almost like the script is lounging away next to a pool in the Hollywood Hills overlooking the city.

Also, as someone pointed out in the comments of Amateur Offerings, there’s no irony in the premise. A writer who steals paintings? What if you made Alex an aspiring painter who stole paintings to fund his pursuit? Now you have irony.

I think in the end, this script is too sprawling. It’s trying to cover too much time and too many things, which are the exact things that movies do the worst. The movie/screenplay format likes tight time frames and concentrated storylines. If Ned focused on that, I think he’d have a much better script. But even before that, I think he needs to find a clear subject matter or genre that he knows is saleable. Because without that, you’re just banging your head against the wall.

Script link: Inspired

[ ] what the hell did I just read?
[x] wasn’t for me
[ ] worth the read
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius

What I learned: I’m going to repeat what I just said cause it’s so important. The screenplay format likes tight time frames and concentrated storylines. Once you go away from one or both of these things, you’ve made things infinitely harder on yourself.

  • pmlove

    Re: painters/paintings, I thought it work better if Alex/Hunter robbed the movie stars they were pitching the stories to.

    • pmlove

      +congrats to Ned!

    • ABHews

      pmlove, I thought the same thing, having a producer offer to buy Alex’s script which is about stealing said producers painting would’ve been great. Also, I really wish the robberies would’ve coincided with Alex’s move pitches.

      • HRV

        At one point I thought they were actually going to.

  • Jeaux

    I only had time to read about half but what did read I liked and thought this was one of the best amateur offerings I’ve come across in a long time. Thought the writing had its own voice as well.

  • IgorWasTaken

    “Focus”

    FYI: Yes, in a sense it made “NOTHING”. ($50M cost; $54 domestic gross)

    On the other hand, global it grossed $154M.
    (http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=focus2015.htm)

    • S.C.

      Plus about $40 million for marketing costs.
      http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/200-million-rising-hollywood-struggles-721818

      Thanks to Carson for this article on the cost of filming PASSENGERS.
      http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/jennifer-lawrences-salary-drama-20m-793753

    • Andrew Parker

      Yeah Carson, don’t you read Forbes magazine: http://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2015/05/04/box-office-catch-up-will-smiths-focus-is-a-hit-disneys-cinderella-tops-disneys-oz/

      As former Grantland writer Bill Simmons once posited, Will Smith might be our only current working movie star. http://grantland.com/features/the-movie-star/

      • Kirk Diggler

        He wrote that article three years ago and a lot has changed. Mainly, Smith is no where near as ‘bankable’ as he once was.

        • IgorWasTaken

          I wonder if a substantial portion of Will Smith’s audience in the US didn’t want to see him paired with Margo Robbie.

          Maybe not, as they will be starring together again in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_Squad_%28film%29 , Aug 201. Though among a much bigger cast.

          • Kirk Diggler

            Hard to say. He’s 22 years older than her. Even for Hollywood that’s pushing it a little. The trailer looked interesting to me. I kind of wanted to see it. Then the reviews came out and they were lukewarm. 56% on RottenTomatoes. I changed my mind, thought I’d Redbox it.

            Who knows why Will Smith fans stayed away. The film looked slick, but it didn’t have a strong heroic hook like a lot of his films have. His work the last few years has been uninspired to say the least.

            After Earth. MiB3. Hancock.

            Perhaps his fans have gotten older, moved on, or don’t go to the movies as much as they used to like so many others.

          • Bob Bradley

            He plays a thieving, callous dickhead among others with similar qualities. The message was: it’s cool to be immoral. Hard to like. I turned it off after 30 min.

          • brenkilco

            A two decade age spread? Maybe Hollywood has gotten religion lately but May September used to be practically the norm
            Bogart and Bacall
            John Wayne and Angie Dickenson.
            Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn
            Cary Grant and Sophia Loren
            Cary Grant and Grace Kelly
            Grace Kelly and Clark Gable
            Grace Kelly and Bing Crosby
            Frank Sinatra and Raquel Welch. Not even kidding.
            Sean Connery and Michelle Pfeiffer
            On and on.

          • Kirk Diggler

            A lot of your examples are ancient. And you could have saved time by saying “Cary Grant and everyone”.

            Well, just out of curiosity, I looked at the progression in age of a leading leading of a typical Hollywood movie star…. using Tom Cruise as an example. It seems he hasn’t hit the 22 year age difference as quickly as Big Willie but I’ve no doubt Tommy will do so soon enough. So, I stand corrected, it’s not unusual, you just have to “work your way up to it”.

            You cant make this shit up. TOM IS:

            Tom Cruise – Rebecca De Mornay 3 years younger

            Tom Cruise – Lea Thompson – 1 year younger

            Tom Cruise – Kelly McGillis – 5 years younger

            Tom Cruise – Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio 4 years younger

            Tom Cruise – Elizabeth Shue – + 1 year OLDER

            Tom Cruise – Nicole Kidman + 5 years OLDER

            Tom Cruise – Demi Moore – + 1/2 year OLDER

            Tom Cruise – Jeanne Tripplehorn +1 year OLDER

            Tom Cruise – Emmanuel Beart + 1 year OLDER

            Tom Cruise – Rene Zellwegger + 6 years OLDER

            Tom Cruise – Thandie Newton +10 years OLDER

            Tom Cruise – Penelope Cruz – + 11 years OLDER

            Tom Cruise – Michelle Monaghan – + 13 years OLDER

            Tom Cruise – Carice Van Houten – + 14 years OLDER

            Tom Cruise – Cameron Diaz – + 10 years OLDER

            Tom Cruise – Paula Patton – +13 years OLDER

            Tom Cruise – Rosamund Pike – + 16 years OLDER

            Tom Cruise – Olga Kurylenko – + 17 years OLDER

            Tom Cruise – Emily Blunt – + 20 years OLDER

            Tom Cruise – Rebecca Ferguson – + 21 years (Mission Impossible 5)

            Tom Cruise – Sarah Wright – (Mena) + 21 years OLDER

          • BellBlaq

            Doesn’t Sean Connery still win, having been 39 years older than Catherine Zeta Jones (ENTRAPMENT)?

        • Andrew Parker

          Most of Smith’s movies now make about 70% overseas. He’s still an international star. Even After Earth, with it’s 11% Rotten Tomatoes score, broke even or only lost a little cash.

          The real test will be his Concussion movie coming out in December. It has no explosions or car chases, so we’ll get to see if international audiences will embrace him simply acting.

    • Howie428

      It’s also worth making the same point for Out of the Furnace, although it’s a bit less clear cut. That had a $22m budget and made $11m domestic.
      However, there are no foreign numbers listed in IMDB, and there is a long list of foreign distributors. I’d speculate that at this budget level, and with a bankable star, the foreign rights were probably presold. There’s a good chance that the filmmakers had already covered the budget before the movie was released. I’d be surprised if this movie didn’t make someone some money, even if the outcome was a disappointment.

  • IgorWasTaken

    OK, just from reading Carson’s summary of the story/setup, this sounds so right-down-the-middle (in a good way).

    I guess I gotta read it. But even if it’s not great now, based on my read of Carson’s summary, it seems so fixable.

  • Matthew Garry

    There was just too much going on in “Inspired” to keep my focus: too many disparate story lines, too many characters, too many winks to other movies, too large a time span covered. It was hard for me to get a grip on the progressing story.

    One notable exception was Debbie. Whenever she appeared my attention suddenly picked up again. She was a great character with great dialogue. Larger than life, but still relatable as if she was real. That’s a sweet spot for characters for me. She’s also a good example of how characters can get away with large monologues…as long as they’re interesting.

    Overall I just couldn’t wrap my head around it as a story, but still generally found it an easy read since there were a lot of scenes that worked well by themselves in spite of not fitting in with the context of the larger story for me.

    In short: make sure your various story lines and scenes don’t drift away too far from the dramatic question. The dramatic question should be related to everything that is happening in the story, even if only tangential.

  • Guy Somebody

    Congrats to INSPIRED! Well done, sir. You and your script deserve the limelight. I want to thank everyone who was kind enough to read and give feedback on my script (Vampires in Sunland). Your time is truly priceless, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, and you gave it up for me, so thank you! I have had nothing but good things to take away from this experience, and even from you pendants out there with your cold-hard-truth smack downs, it’s a great reminder that I’m not swimming in the kiddie-pool anymore, I’m in with the sharks, so I need to be on my game. :) I was hoping for feedback that was gold, and you did not disappoint, you delivered and it was that nice shiny Californian gold too. I respect all the writers, big and small, novice and pro. I salute you for going out there and just doing it, being vulnerable in a public forum, and owning it by striving for self betterment. What does all this mean? Not sure really, just sounded like something inspiring to say.

    Also I want to thank Carson again for giving me this opportunity, he sure as hell didn’t need to and did anyway, so thank you! Your passion and determination in seeing that we screenwriters strive for the best we can be in order to create truly powerful stories that will enrich the lives of a movie going public is commendable.

    A community such as this, which Scriptshadow has forged, is an invaluable resource to someone like me, and although this community is close-knit, it is not elitist. That is why it has been a pleasure to be a part of it even in the smallest of ways.

    I wish all of you the best!
    – Keven

    • HRV

      Great farewell speech! ;)

  • Nicholas J

    And even WITH that awesomeness, the writer had to become the director and the producer in order to get it anywhere. It still had to be a personal project that he pushed through the system himself.

    Dan Gilroy isn’t credited as a producer on Nightcrawler. Though his brother is.

    And here’s an excerpt from an interview with Dan (from an episode of the Q&A podcast with Jeff Goldsmith):

    “If you write a really great character study, in a narrative structure that’s interesting, there are actors and agents and people who will want to read it… So the reaction I had when I wrote this script, I put it in the pipeline, I sent it over to my agency, and very quickly people over there were like, ‘Oh, this is an amazing character study.’ So it wasn’t like, ‘What do you mean you want to direct?’ It was like, I control the material. And when you control the material, they very quickly go ‘Oh, that person controls the material, they’re the director.’… There were a couple of directors who read it, who were significant directors, who made noises like they wanted to direct it, and I said I want to direct this. But again, when you control the material, you control everything.”

    So, it seems like Dan Gilroy didn’t have to become his own biggest fan in order to get the script through the system. The quality of the story + the big name actor did it. It sounds like it would have been made even if he wasn’t the director.

    • carsonreeves1

      That script is such an exception though. It was so good. Also, as he pointed out, it had an amazing main character, which helps get anything through the system. So that’s another good tip. If you’re going off the reservation with your subject matter, you absolutely need at least one fascinating role.

      • Nicholas J

        Yes that is one of the main takeaways I got from that interview. Write a juicy role and doors that were previously closed may open.

        Speaking of podcasts, why is there no ScriptShadow podcast yet? Eh? EH?!

  • Felip Serra

    First: Congratulations to Ned.

    Second: Whereas an easily identifiable genre or subject matter can certainly sway me to actually go the theater I think its also a question of aesthetics, e.g. WHAT is it that the film is showing me. “Out of the Furnace” and “Focus” (I’ve seen neither) may been great scripts, had great acting etc. But what did I see in the trailers? Backwater country in one and posh lifestyles in the other. My reaction was simply: I could turn on the TV and see 10 of those right now. They visually said nothing to me.

    When I heard they were doing a reboot (or whatever) of Mad Max with Tom Hardy I had little to no interest. I had been there, done that. Then the trailer came out and it blew me away. I couldn’t BELIEVE those stunts or the sheer ferocity of the action. It grabbed my attention and exceeded my expectations. Now I WANT to go see it.

    Why did “Avatar” make so much money and “John Carter” didn’t. They have the same story, when you think about it. The answer comes down to aesthetics. Would you rather spend two hours in the rich and phosphorescent environs of Pandora… Or Arizona?

    My point is when I write I am now constantly asking myself “Does this DESERVE to be a movie?” Is it visual, is it engaging? Does it have scope? Does it have sensation? Is it interesting? And all of this atop the already burgeoning list of things like character, plot etc.

    • BellBlaq

      Even beyond the scenery, JOHN CARTER was an insult to the audience. We all know Pandora’s a made up planet (or whatever), whereas Mars is a real planet that we all know lacks the ability to sustain life, making the movie the most pointless of pointless films from inception. There is no level of suspended disbelief deep enough to nullify that overestimation.

  • Use The Actor

    The problem with Focus are the people behind it. Who are they? Lawyers and losers interested in flash, not story. Will Smith was amazing (really); in it but had nothing to work with (and a character who worked for nothing.) I didn’t expect much, but it was terrible… man, was it bad; but served to remind what a great actor Smith is.

    I like it when he plays a person and not some glad-happy caricature…

    But the movie sucked the big one and was TOTALLY unbelievable. It was cool when they brought in the F1 scam to advance the story, etc.; but it was stupid and unbelievable; and then the girl Smith’s character dissed at the end of Act 1 is trying to scam the same ‘Mark’ in Act II.

    STUPID!!!

    And it was also a bit of a Harry Potter Magic Show when we had the early montage of Smith as this brilliant pickpocket, etc.; and the girl is as good: So we’re to believe they just remove $50,000 watches from (even) one another and THEY DON’T NOTICE…

    STUPID!!!

    Just a lazy movie with an awesome performance by Smith, had me thinking: ‘…Get some new friends as you’re being totally used…’

    Whoever made that film is not a filmmaker… but a branding expert who doesn’t know his ass from his elbow when it comes time to tell a story. It was all about manicuring Smith’s ego. Total crap movie.

  • Randy Williams

    Congrats to the writer for making it on AF!

    I gave my thoughts on that weekend. I’ll repeat that I was glad I went back to the script and read the whole thing because I found the Hollywood industry characters just adorable and the ending, I thought, was stunning and a clever poke at Hollywood.

    O.T. I’ve finished a first draft of my SS250 entry (action thriller) and need someone with some basic military knowledge to read it and just suggest some corrections or additions in that vein. Maybe you’ve done a script with some military personnel and can set me straight where I’ve errored. Not asking for extensive notes or anything. Just that. No one in my circle of readers has that knowledge. But, I’ll read anything of yours and give notes in exchange. Thanks.

    touchthermo at gmail.

  • carsonreeves1

    I also think the subject matter needs to be edgier here. Everything is too tame. If you’re going to play outside the system with your subject matter, it really has to have bite. Everything felt too safe in this draft of Inspired.

  • mulesandmud

    Peeked in on things late today and saw that there hadn’t been many notes posted, so I thought I’d give the script a try. Got to page 13 and called it quits.

    p. 1 “soulful eyes” – A romance novel cliche, and completely unnecessary here. Worse than that, actually: it’s a total mismatch to the content of the scene. Being in a rush and on the verge of road rage doesn’t conjure soulfulness in a man’s eyes.

    p. 1 “whips the car up onto the pavement” – He’s already on the pavement; what you me is that he’s driving up onto the sidewalk, yes? Don’t know if this is a difference between Brit and American slang, or what, but please clarify.

    On this page, the opening page, we learn that our guy drives a Mazda, owns a skateboard, reads scripts, and is willing to break rules to get where he’s going. Not bad, but not hugely fascinating, as openers go. Did we need a whole page for this?

    p. 2 Alex parks in the ‘agency lot’, and meets with Scott the producer. Why is a producer’s office in an agency? They’re not the same thing. Be careful; little details like this erode your credibility, and it’s damn hard to earn it back.

    p. 2 Scott’s dialogue feels slightly convoluted. “Fair to say you’re not lacking imagination.” “And you’re still without representation?” Can’t tell if this is meant to be his speech pattern or is just overwritten. Will wait and see if other characters’ dialogue has the same problem.

    p. 3 Top of the page is confusing. So Scott is telling Alex to forget about the story he just pitched, because Scott wants to produce a different script that Alex already wrote? Why make this more complicated than it needs to be?

    p. 3 Scott the producer advises Alex not to get reps before making a deal. Any producer who actually said this would be a shady motherfucker, so I hope the script is aware of that.

    p. 3 Scott keeps saying that Alex showed up drunk or high, but there’s no hint of that in his behavior. Not sure what you’re trying to accomplish here.

    p. 4 Big cell phone is an okay period detail; the line about landlines is a better one.

    p. 4 Alex’s monologue lays out your setting nicely, and the montage under it gives us an overview of his life, but doesn’t make him a terribly interesting guy. I’m not seeing any unique layers or contradictions in this person. He’s just vaguely cool and a little bit greedy. His goal (money and power) is about as normal as they come.

    p. 6 Conversation with Lucy has some nice beats, but then he rushes away to call Rachel. Is she his sister? Is there a reason we’re not super clear on that?

    p. 9 Alex dodges scaffolding, gets hit by car. Cute irony.

    p. 10 We jump right from the car accident to Alex looking ‘worn’, not bruised or otherwise marked up beside the sling. Unclear how much time has passed. Days? Weeks? Or is it the next morning.

    I appreciate how this comes out of left field, but it sets off my coincidence alarm. From now on I’ll be trying to decide: is this script really thinking about how cruel and capricious fate can be, or is it just throwing in random story complications at whim without real dramatic cause and effect?

    p. 11 Alex gets cursed out by Scott the producer. Not sure why it’s Alex’s fault that another script beat his to market, until halfway through the scene when Scott says he was waiting on revisions fro Alex. Really wish I knew how much time had passed since the car accident here. Also wish these revisions Scott was waiting on had been established earlier, so I didn’t spend half this scene wondering why he was so mad. Also wish Alex’s script had a title that the characters could refer to, so that it felt like less of an abstraction.

    p. 13 Alex can’t work, meets mysterious cool kid Hunter at the skate park.

    I’m checking out here, mostly because the main character isn’t very interesting. His dramatic situation is getting complicated, but isn’t uniquely compelling. The whole script is in orbit around the idea of money (goal: he wants it; problem: he owes it), but we haven’t gotten any thoughtful commentary on the subject yet, so the whole thing feels materialistic without being meaningful about it. As a peek inside 90s Hollywood, it lacks the sharp-fanged satire or at least the industry insider perspective that would earn my confidence.

    The writing seems generally competent but not impressively knowledgeable or inspired, and to tackle a story about Hollywood, you need to be both.

    Likewise, a screenwriter telling a story about a screenwriter needs to justify his premise by with a truly distinct perspective on the subject, otherwise the script just feels solipsistic. Thirteen pages in, we haven’t glimpsed that perspective.

    Best of luck with it.

    • brenkilco

      If what’s happening isn’t all that interesting the person it’s happening to had better be.

  • ripleyy

    One of the lesser known elements a writer doesn’t think of is marketing. You can write a script and you can get a star. You can get a director, a producer. But if you can’t market your script – like Inspired here – then you’re not just dead in the water, you’ve failed as a writer.

    It isn’t something many will think of. They may think that it is up to the marketing to do their jobs, because even THEY can get it wrong! But if you can make your film niche, the marketing for that film is going to suffer because of it.

    I think it’s best to think beforehand a reference point, even if that reference point is really vague. It’ll mean if your script does happen to be made, people can refer your script as “like ‘The Hunger Games’ but set in 18th Century England” or something like that. It’s why fairy-tales are taking off because everyone – producers, directors, stars, even the marketing team – know PRECISELY what your script is going to look like WAY before it is even filmed.

    Before you write, think about what your script is like and take note of it. I think “Inspired” suffers from not having anything to tether it to.

  • S.C.
  • Midnight Luck

    I’m that one single ticket sale at the theater for OUT OF THE FURNACE and FOCUS.
    It was me, sitting all alone in the theater.

    • BellBlaq

      You didn’t hear me a couple of rows behind you asking why (spoiler) Will Smith’s dad pretended to search his room?

      • Midnight Luck

        I heard you, and I was the one who threw a JuJuBee at the screen in frustration of the pure stupidity of the film.

    • Dan B

      Going to the movies alone can be quite relaxing sometimes though… especially catching a double feature of some good stuff on a week day off.

      • Midnight Luck

        My favorite thing in the world is seeing a great movie alone in an empty theater.

  • Citizen M

    I wasn’t planning to comment, but seeing how few comments there are, some thoughts:

    I didn’t enjoy this, for reasons stated on AOW and discussed further, but I did think the writer pulled off the ending. I was wondering how the writer was going to wrap it up, and I think he succeeded.

    But getting to the end wasn’t a coherent, organic story. It was a Frankensteinian collage of scenes stuck together with duct tape rather than event following another with a degree of inevitability.

    A couple of suggestions.

    Given Alex’s day job as a gardener, maybe he sees memorable paintings through the windows of a house and talks about them to Hunter at the skate park. That’s when Hunter decides to recruit Alex as a co-criminal.

    John Murphy plays such an important role, he needs to be introduced much earlier than page 39. Also, his love for his daughter has to be established. We need to SEE their bond. Also, his hunting of Alex is not sufficiently motivated. He sees a scene in a film based on the incident where his daughter was killed. Alex could have written it from press reports. There is no indication that Alex was personally involved in the death. There needs to be a much closer link. Something in the movie that Alex could only have known from personal experience, maybe that he saw at Murphy’s house while gardening there, I’m not sure exactly what.

    Same with Beau. He needs to be set up. One minute we’re with Alex and his brother in his apartment, the next he’s having dinner with a big shot in Cannes. The transition is too abrupt.

    BTW, the police first interview Alex because his fingerprints were found at a crime scene. But how would they have his fingerprints on record? He hasn’t been involved with the cops before.

    I think you need to start the story later. Alex has already written a script that Debbie has rejected, saying it’s not true to life or whatever, and committing the crimes gives him ideas for the rewrite. We could even see the words onscreen as he deletes passages and inserts new stuff based on his experiences.

    I didn’t get a ’90s feel of wild excess, OJ references notwithstanding. Do you really need to set it then? It could work in a contemporary setting, and be cheaper to produce.

    I really couldn’t see a big star like Freddie becoming friendly with a mere writer like Alex so fast, particularly because at that stage Alex hadn’t even sold a script, IIRC. There needs to be more of a build up to the friendship.

    The romance between Alex and Rachel didn’t do it for me, not sure why. In fact, I never really got a feel for Alex’s emotional state. A drama is all about an emotional journey, and if we’re not feeling it, the drama doesn’t succeed.

    The dialogue really irritated me. So many sentences trail off, with thoughts half stated. It might be realistic, but it’s not movie dialogue. And anyway, some of the time I have no idea what they were planning to say. It made me feel stupid, and that’s not the way you want a reader to feel.

    And many times, we are not sure why Alex is doing stuff, or how the situation arose. How did he get to meet Beau? Was it set up or accidental. What was his purpose in meeting? What contract does he sign on page 99? What is his script about? How does Rachel know he tried to kill John (page 100). Why does his brother visit him? Was he invited or did he just turn up? Lots of little details, too many to list, that should be made clear, not left to the reader to guess or make up their own stories.