transformers-2

A busy day here in Scriptshadowville, a wondrous place where In and Out burgers grow on trees and fidget spinners never stop spinning. That means no time for a review. But a little time for my thoughts on the weekend.

I’ll start with Transformers, a franchise which represents everything that is wrong with Hollywood. The Transformers films cater not to the lowest common denominator, but to the decimal numbers that have been cut off from that denominator. The writing in these movies is atrocious and reeks of not a single person on the production staff caring about the final product. And the movies themselves don’t even get the main Transformers component right – the effects for the transformation themselves.

So I possess a tiny bit of joy from hearing that this is the lowest Transformers opening ever. Could it be that we’re finally done with this franchise? It’s the latest in a trend of aging franchises studios refuse to bury (Alien, Pirates, Bourne, Star Trek). The problem is, the global box office is screwing this all up. It’s giving life to these franchises which so clearly deserve to have their plug pulled.

China is the biggest issue, as they’ll see anything! All this time I thought China was putting their money into top secret military defense projects. It turns out it was all going towards developing a bar that could exist below sea level. That bar is the very reason we’re threatened with another possible Transformers movie.

blah

The face of Chinese cinema.

I have a compromise. I actually loved Transformers growing up. So maybe there’s a way we can both be happy, since this franchise, nor my hate for it, is going away.

Here’s what I propose. Why not create an offshoot franchise for more discerning Transformers audience members? Make Transformers actually cool. Don’t stop making the main movies. But add 60-70 million dollar productions where you take more chances, like what James Mangold did with Logan. Smaller, cheaper, but more adult, the kind of thing Neil Blompkamp might have done before he started writing his own scripts. How can it hurt? It might actually infuse this bastard of a franchise with life. Cause if they keep vomiting out these dick and fart joke Transformers movies, the well we built so deep that it’s reached China is finally going to dry up.

The other thing I wanted to discuss today exists, ironically, on the other end of the screenwriting spectrum. During this weekend’s Amateur Offerings discussion an interesting question popped up about the right of the writer to defend his work. One young ambitious screenwriter had submitted a quasi-experimental screenplay and whenever anyone had an opinion about it, he would defend his choices. Is this a good thing for a writer to do? In Amateur Offerings, with friends, in production meetings, in life?

Here’s what I’ve found. The young writer stage (under 27) is the period in a writer’s life where there’s the biggest gap between what he thinks he knows and what he actually knows. It’s not the writer’s fault. Hell, one of the wonderful things about being a young screenwriter is believing that you know it all, that you’ve figured out a way to build a better wheel, and drawing upon that belief to try new exciting things.

But these choices universally come at the expense of form and structure. The writer believes that because he did that unique thing on page 30, you owe him the next 30 pages of rambling before he does that next unique thing. In short, he wants praise for being occasionally brave and interesting.

The best thing young screenwriters can do is drop the dogged belief that they know better than everyone else and LISTEN. It doesn’t mean you have to implement what you hear. But at least LISTEN. Because if you doggedly charge forth on an endless experimental march without even trying to understand why the majority of the people who read your stuff aren’t responding to it, then you’re going to double, triple, even quadruple your development time. And the next thing you know you’re 30 years old before you’ve properly learned basic screenwriting mechanics, such as the 3-Act Structure.

Save your passionate defense for later in life, when you’re in the room with some dopey producer and you know, due to your 15 years of experience, that they’re wrong. Right now, the most important thing for you to do is listen. (oh, side note: Make sure that producer isn’t Kathleen Kennedy).

  • Scott Crawford

    Thirst!

    • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

      Scott, this was your chance to TRULY shine and get the proper cheer you deserve–and you botched it, man!! It’s, “First, bitches!” NOT thirst, or any other derivative. Come on, man. Start the week off right! You earned it, go back edit that post, and get it right.

  • Scott Crawford

    Firstly, it’s James MANGOLD who made LOGAN.

    Secondly… BUMBLEBEE written by Christina Hodson COULD be what Carson is wanting. When Kurtzman and Orci came aboard the FIRST TF movie, they were told by Bay and Spielberg that the theme of the movie would be “A boy and his car” or “A boy and his first car” if you like.

    K&O say, and this is very smart, fighting robots… that’s a GIVEN. You know that that aspect of it is going to be done well (I’d argue not because I can’t tell one robot from another – in the comics and the TV series, yes, but on film they all look and sound the same) so what you’ve got to think about is the things that are NOT such a given, like character and theme.

    But somehow it never really came to be. You can sometimes see them trying – I saw the first two and the last third of the third – but it never really worked.

    On writers defending their own scripts – sure, I don’t want writers to bend over backwards and take it. As grendl once pointed out, there’s this strange thing were a commentator will rip a script to SHREDS and the writer will then reply “Thank you for reading my script.” It’s strange!

    But it DOES put people off reviewing a script if they think the writer is going to, you know, come back at them in some way. There is a nicer way, sometimes, that readers could put their comments. There’s no need to DESTROY someone, although sometimes people do need to be told – and I’ve always suspected that people come to AOW AFTER they’ve shown the script to lots of other people and this WON’T be the first they’ve heard these comments – but some people NEED to be told… you’re going down the wrong way.

    Ugh! Not my favorite thing to do, reviewing scripts.

  • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

    Autobots vs. Deceptions: the Transformer series is LUCKY to have it this far. You’re talking about a FRANCHISE BUILT on a truly, childish concept. That TRUTH actually makes me give its creators some street cred, because they had A LOT they had to add to make these childish concepts work and actually attract a more mature audience that its, original source material.

    Growing up I was a big “Star Blazers” fan. Kinda surprised THAT wasn’t made into a movie yet…

    OT: To anyone else who uses the Final Draft audio playback feature, does the default voice sound like Zachery Quinto from NBC’s “Heros” series, then later Spock in the “Star Trek” rebooted franchise? So weird hearing Zachery’s very distinct voice reading me back the epic fantasy adapted screenplay that I’m line editing. Still, when grinding away with some as tedious as line editing it is TOTALLY COOL to have him along for the ride and entertaining me as I grind away at one of most tedious and unspoken aspects of writing.

    • klmn

      Yeah, the movies – and the previous television series – are based on a line of toys. It’s interesting that Carson mentioned fidget spinners. I suppose we can expect a fidget spinner movie soon.

      • Master John Moss

        Who’s excited about ‘The Emoji Movie’?!?

        • Scott Crawford

          Same audience who didn’t go and see The Angry Birds movie. I can understand making Transformers movies, I used to have Transformers as a kid, I just wish the movies were better. But Emoji Movie? That just sounds like a proper cash-in.

          • Master John Moss

            You are correct, sir.

  • Poe_Serling

    I had a feeling it might be a MishMash Monday post…

    “… a wondrous place where In and Out burgers grow on trees and fidget
    spinners never stop spinning.”

    Carson’s Land of Oz!

    With fields of golden french fries and bubbling brooks of milk shakes (of
    course, made with real ice cream).

    ;-)

    • klmn

      Carson must have cut this post short so he can dash off to In ‘N Out. I just hope that in the midst of his feeding frenzy he won’t swallow a fidget spinner bearing.

    • Scott Crawford

      I’ve been trying to think… was there anything LIKE Transformers, the movie, the 2007 movie, before the the 2007 movie? I can’t think of anything that was really like it. I mean, it has aspects of Star Wars and Superman, but it does seem like it’s something there… was no real precedent for.

      Star Wars was a rusty Flash Gordon.

      Jurassic Park was King Kong meets Westworld.

      Fast and Furious was Roger Corman with a bigger budget.

      But Transformers, robots who can turn into cars, there’s no real precedent for it that I can think of, which MAY account for why it’s such an ill-disciplined mess.

      I just wondered if you can think of any similar movies from the past.

      • Poe_Serling

        Perhaps something like Mechagodzilla from the mid ’70s
        fits the bill.

        I believe in the storyline it was created by an alien race to
        take over Earth, so they could relocate here because their own
        world was being threatened or some such thing.

      • Master John Moss

        I think you can, it’s just we’d never seen anything with that level of scale and budget and marketing and SFX.

  • Erica

    As I posted not to long ago, my fear in a writer who also wants to be the director/writer, is by not “LISTENING” now on some good constructive feedback, what makes him think he’s going to be open to feedback or criticism on set? What I see coming through is a personally that is very set and stubborn, make this person hard to deal with. That’s not where you want to be. Making a movie is a group effort, including the script. It’s a small industry, you don’t want to burn bridges before you hit 25 years of age.

    • Scott Crawford

      Let us hope, Erica, that you are/remain beloved of the crew on set – more Ron Howard and less Lord & Miller.”

      When they announced to the crew that Lord & Miller had been fired and Ron Howard would replace them, the crew “broke into applause.”

      Sheesh! That’s BAD!

      http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/star-wars-han-solo-movie-firing-new-details-behind-phil-lord-chris-miller-exit-1016619

      (Thanks to Carson on Twitter for the heads-up).

      • Master John Moss

        Seriously?!?

        • Scott Crawford

          I know!

      • PQOTD

        It sounds like they were off on their own little ‘Heaven’s Gate’ expedition.

        For whatever criticism Kennedy and Kaslan copped, it’s sounding more and more like what they did was wholly justified.

        Not shooting one second before 1 o’clock in the afternoon isn’t what they were hired to do.

    • klmn

      There’s really no point in defending a script. You can’t argue someone into liking something.

      • Scott Crawford

        It’s such a fluid thing, a script, it’s on reason why SCREENwriters are not so highly-regarded. Almost everyone feels that they can change the lines in a script.

        BUT as Goldman points out, you can let a few things go, BUT you have defend the SPINE or the CORE of the story. There are some things that, if they change, the whole film could collapse and that HAS happened on many movies.

        • klmn

          There’s a difference between a discussion with a producer or studio, and a public message board. I doubt if Goldman ever defended his unproduced scripts to the general public.

        • PQOTD

          It’s also helpful if the core or the spine of the story is a/ starting to make itself evident and b/ starting to become interesting within the first few pages.

          Now, I was one of the young writer’s harshest critics, not because I felt like beating up on the lad, but because it’s a big, shitty world out there, and he’ll only get so many chances to break in unless he leads a completely charmed existence or his parents have deep pockets and an indulgent attitude. Before he’s ‘made his bones’ he needs to learn some rules that really do matter so he can start to bend and break them.

          When the writer himself admitted that character and character arcs weren’t nearly as important to him as plot, that’s a problem wrapped up in warning lights with alarm bells going off.

          If he’d put ‘I don’t give a shit about character’ in his WYSR, I wouldn’t even have bothered opening it.

          If you take character out of a story, you may as well just watch the evening news, because it’s primarily about plot:

          A 27-storey apartment tower in London catches fire and it’s likely that dozens of people have died because they were trapped by thick smoke. A few jumped to their deaths from upper storey windows.

          A distraught man who had family members in one of the apartments is briefly interviewed: ‘My cousin and his family live there. We can’t get them on the phone.’ But we learn nothing about the man, or his cousin, or his cousin’s family, apart from that they seemed to be close.

          That’s plot-focused, and it’s why news items are a minute, maybe a couple of minutes tops, unless there’s something particularly horrific or ghoulish or heart-rending to keep viewers engaged.

          Who were the people that died? Where did they come from? What did they do for their livelihoods? What did they love to do in their spare time?

          That’s character. The news can’t deep-dive into that. Other current affairs formats like documentaries can, but not the news.

          The ‘plot’ on Liam’s first 10 pages can be summed up as:

          Michael stops for gas; Michael buys drugs; Harry discovers the drugs; they argue endlessly while Michael drives stoned; Michael and Harry drive through an anywhere town and stop for burgers.

          What do we find out about character in Liam’s first 10?

          The protags are given wafer-thin introductions. They seem to have no discernible physical diffferences. We are told by Michael that he’s usually high. We see Michael buy drugs. We are told by Michael that his goal seems to be to get high in the desert. We hear from Harry that he hates drugs but he takes no action to prevent Michael driving stoned (i.e. he’s completely passive).

          What we do know about character is mostly because we are told, not shown.

          Hmm.

          I’m not sure if the plot-focused comment still exists. Some comments were edited, but I think that emerged in defending his choices to a comment (Grendl’s maybe? apols if I’m wrong about that) that his protagonists Michael and Harry were effectively interchangeable.

          If a story’s core or spine can be effectively developed that keeps an audience engaged while deliberately neglecting the need for character or character arcs, then, yeah, go for it.

          But this one suffered for their lack.

  • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

    And I take it you’ll be first in line to see them all, right?

  • blake011

    I saw The Big Sick. Very good film. Wouldn’t be surprised if it got Oscar nominations

    • Scott Crawford

      Bad time to release such a film… or good time if you want an alternative to Transformers. But SO far from Oscar time…

  • Scott Serradell

    “One young ambitious screenwriter had submitted a quasi-experimental screenplay and whenever anyone had an opinion about it, he would defend his choices. Is this a good thing for a writer to do?”

    If by ‘defending’ you’re meaning the writer is treating every criticism as an antagonism, well, his or her fate is pretty clear…

    But if by defending you mean ‘owning’ — e.g. the writer is taking responsibility for their decisions, and in turn clarifying and informing others of what those are — then, yes, the writer should absolutely ‘defend’ their work.

    Like everything else, it all boils down to attitude.

    • Tungi Mu

      Readers should also be able to distinguish which “defender” they’re dealing with. Far too often they end up painting the two different defenders with the same brush, which is almost always the brush that’s reserved for defender number 1.

  • Master John Moss

    I wholeheartedly agree with everything written in this article.

    You cannot underestimate the primal appeal of CARS that turn into ROBOTS and FIGHT. I knew long, long before ‘Transformers’ arrived in multiplexes back in 2007 that whenever it finally happened – which seemed inevitable – it would ultimately become The World’s Biggest Movie Franchise, bar none. Bigger than ‘Star Wars.’ Bigger than ‘Jurassic Park.’ It was a cinematic concept thar could not be beaten in terms of appeal. Who on Earth wasn’t going to be REALLY excited to see that?? Move over, Spider-Man and Batman and you T-Rexes, The New Kings of the Box Office have arrived!

    And then I heard that Steven Spielberg had chosen Michael Bay to direct.

    Can you imagine what those movies would have done financially and their impact upon the culture been had a better director been given The Keys to the Hasbro Kingdom, instead? Had Orci and Kurtzman not written and produced them? ‘Cause I can. They would have made ‘Avatar’ look like something from Gus Van Sant. ‘Cause

    • Scott Crawford

      I think Michael Bay’s great, at least some of his early films, at least in part. I think he has the potential for more… and you have to realize, he’s giving away HUGE amounts of money he’s made from these movies to charity, so I REALLY think you can’t say too much bad about him.

      Strange to see Ken Nolan’s name on the writing credits. Hope he get paid well.

  • https://twitter.com/deanmaxbrooks deanb

    It’s NOT just about making films for Chinese audiences. The costs to market a film in the United States has climbed enormously. In 1980 the average cost to market a film here was around $5 mil. By 2007 the cost had jumped to $36 mil. I’m 100% positive it’s substantially higher now due to the explosive growth of TV, which has driven up advertising rates. Even today with target niche Google and Facebook ads, a 30-second spot is the best way to promote a film. A show like Big Bang Theory or Walking Dead can command hundreds of thousands for commercial space.

    In other words, you can thank Walter White, Don Draper, Sheldon Cooper, and everyone else from the Golden Age of TV for why it’s getting harder to make decent blockbusters here in the U.S.

    By contrast, the cost to advertise in China is virtually negligible due to heavy government regulation, and how TV isn’t as much a factor there. Care to guess how much it cost to promote Transformers: Age of Extinction in China? About $3 to $5 million. The film grossed over $300 mil in China alone. And it did it with a RT score of 18%. That’s fucking insane.

    So, given those numbers, where is the motivation to make a Transformers movie for more “discerning audience members?”

    Actually, I’m wrong. They did make an offshoot Transformers film. It was called Pacific Rim, and discerning audiences here in the States largely ignored it, despite its 71% score on RT and killer CGI. It barely grossed over $100 mil here, almost half the cost of its production budget. But China, Japan, and Russia saved that film, which is why we’re getting a sequel.

    (Source on the TV and China numbers: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/200-million-rising-hollywood-struggles-721818)

    • Master John Moss

      I’ve been saying for years that the best way to promote a movie is through TV spots (and in the case of comedies, those spots HAVE to be laugh-out-loud funny or it’s dead). But I wonder: How effective are they now in this age of DVRs, where we’re all fast-forwarding over the commercials?

  • fragglewriter

    I think since Shia left the films, they should have taken the revamped Transformers in a new angle. I haven’t seen the films with Mark due to the fact that I find his hair plugs distracting and the lack of convincing from the trailers

    OT: Did anyone see the movie The Big Sick? Any thoughts? The trailer looks somewhat interesting.

    • Scott Crawford

      Bay seemed reluctant to let someone else take over what he started, and if you think about the reaction people have to George Lucas not being on Star Wars anymore, even after the prequels, you can kinda see why.

    • klmn

      Is the illness in The Big Sick cancer? If so, Carson’s gonna love it.

      • fragglewriter

        Nah, not the big “C” The reviews only state that the character was placed into a medically induced coma for a mysterious illness.

  • Omoizele Okoawo

    Defending your work makes no sense. Objects of art are machines designed to effect the emotional states of the person experiencing them. When I write something, I might hope it will effect people in particular ways, but if it doesn’t effect them or it effects them in a way that I don’t want, I can’t argue them into feeling differently. That’s like arguing with your girlfriend when she says you didn’t give her an orgasm.

    • Midnight Luck

      Agreed totally.
      No amount of justifying, supporting, explaining, is going to get someone else to feel the experience differently. They like it, they don’t like it. They feel excited, they feel bored. Whatever they feel, that is the reality. Someone explaining why they did something a certain way and why it was “right”, because: x,y, and z, doesn’t change the affect it had on someone’s experience.

      So, unless you decide to rewrite it, the other person will still have the exact same experience they had originally.

      Yes, cerebrally they may understand what you were going for writing something the way you did, or they may see it better from your point of view, what you were going for. BUT, you CANNOT CHANGE THEIR MIND, just by defending your choices or explaining in detail why you think it is best, or right, or how it must be done.

      Others either like it upon first reading or viewing, or they don’t.

      That’s the nature of art.

      If Andy Warhol explains in great detail what this art “means”, or why he did what he did, or why it is of “so much importance”, it won’t sway me one way or the other in my initial reaction to the art. If I hate it, if I think it is pointless or stupid, if I think it is poorly done, thought out or created, I will STILL feel this way when I look at it. I may understand what he was going for and why he approached the art the way he did, but it doesn’t change anything about how I feel about the actual art.

      A CAN OF SOUP
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/90d6fa4a5b96bef80d61d5759675e35f380a026cddf67465835075879fc89a98.jpg

      • Tungi Mu

        “If I don’t like it, I don’t like it – that don’t mean that I’m hating” Common

  • Citizen M

    OT mish-mash: There was criticism of one of the AOW scripts by some of the feminazis in our midst of a scene featuring a female protagonist in the shower. Their gripe was that you never see male protagonists in the shower.

    We have Van Damme movies on local television at the moment, and I’m watching Universal Soldier. Van Damme has stripped stark naked TWICE so far, and maybe more (I didn’t catch the first 15 minutes). He has stripped to the buff in other movies as well.

    So there. *sticks tongue out*

    • Scott Crawford

      The lack of “butt shots,” particularly among the female characters, in Wonder Woman is significant. It’s still a problem (incidental, I’m very careful of using words like feminazi, unless someone is REALLY being a SJW) where female characters in stories often have to display their sexuality MORE than there male equivalents, pretty much a definition of sexism.

    • klmn

      The reason you rarely see naked male protagonists in movies is when filmmakers do it, women don’t support it. If women came out in force to see that, you can bet your ass that the studios would be cranking it out.

      • ShiroKabocha

        Two words : Magic Mike.

        I’m very much in favour of eye candy for both genders, but it feels like straight women are only allowed to gaze upon naked Jason Segel or the umpteenth iteration of your average-looking man-child these days. Compare those meagre offerings to the endless wave of disposable, irrealistically hot chicks to be leered at in every single teen comedy or Michael Bay production…

        The 80s and early 90s definitely had some good action guys eye candy. Stallone, Eric Roberts, Robert Patrick… shame I was too young to appreciate them at the time and I’m now too old to slog through the cheesy dialogue and plot just to get a peak…

        Thank God for all those 70s movies though and especially for Tom Berenger and Perry King :) (also, “world” cinema.)

    • PQOTD

      And if you read through the replies, you’ll also see I pointed out that very early on in ‘American Beauty’, we see Lester masturbating in the shower. As he says in V/O, it’s the highlight of his day and it’s all downhill from there. That’s context and it’s not done gratuitously.

      Sly Stallone also went full Monty for his bomber movie with Sharon Stone – ‘The Specialist’. It may have been both of them in the shower – I don’t recall. Either way, there didn’t really seem much point to him / them doing it (unless it was to show off his body / their bodies), so in that case, it seemed gratuitous.

      The writer pointed out that the purpose of his scene was to reveal Fury’s ‘howling wolf’ tattoo on her back – a perfectly acceptable explanation, imho.

      If by ‘feminazi’ you mean a person who considers oneself to have feminist sensibilities, then I’m one of those whom you would consider a ‘feminazi’.

      I don’t have a problem with nudity when it’s in context in a film for adults and not gratuitous for EITHER men or women.

      As for ‘feminazi’, it is a term I find thoroughly contemptible considering what the real fucking Nazis actually did to real human beings.

      To equate one with the other is outrageous.

      Coming from the country that spawned the racist horrors of Apartheid, I thought YOU would have known better.

      I’ve never met anyone with feminist sensibilities advocate for arbitrarily locking people up and working them to death or stuffing them into gas chambers.

      Mr. Trump and his lynch mob were the ones chanting ‘Lock her up!’,
      remember?

      Never mind that the U.S. Constitution guarantees the rights of ALL citizens to due process and a fair trial, regardless of gender or race, or whether you disagree with their politics.

      The Nazis never bothered with such niceties, either. If you’re looking for similarities between Nazis and a group of contemporary Americans, that’s a big one.

      In this particular case, M, you’ve got your head lodged firmly up your own arse.

  • Master John Moss

    Don’t matter. After this past weekend, I guarantee that everything is being reconsidered.

    • Scott Crawford

      Yeah, though…China.

      • Master John Moss

        It’s like Carson said, the Chinese, it seems, will see anything. But it’s clear now that North Americans are tiring of Bayformers. And they need to be appeased first and foremost.

  • Levres de Sang

    Mish-Mash Monday: Might have been the perfect place for a shorts contest update. :/

    • klmn

      Well, there was a windstorm and all the shorts done blowed off the clothesline.

    • Poe_Serling

      Hey Lev-

      I know you’re quite a fan of the film The Land That Time Forgot.

      I just wanted to give you a heads up about another pic in the same
      vein being featured on TCM this Wednesday:

      The Lost Continent (1968)

      Here a captain and his ship full of diverse passengers become stuck
      in uncharted waters near a mysterious island. Soon they encounter
      monstrous seaweed, a collection of sea creatures, descendants of
      other crews stranded in this same location from generations ago,
      and more.

      Even though the story elements are handled in a somewhat serious
      manner, it’s still hard to escape from that late ’60s prism of wackiness
      often associated with these type of fantasy/adventure flicks.

      Directed and written by Michael Carreras (a well-known producer on a
      ton of horror titles ranging from X… the Unknown to Scream of Fear).

      This was an offbeat release from Hammer Films at the time.

      • brenkilco

        Is that the one where they all walk across the seaweed with balloon boots or balloons tied to their clothes and they live on stranded pirate ships? Not your typical Hammer fare.

        • Poe_Serling

          Yup. Something that you only kinda see in these
          type of ’60s flicks.

          ;-)

      • Levres de Sang

        Wow! Not heard of this one so gave it a quick look-up in Halliwell… Seems it involves the Spanish Inquisition among other things! The word “hokum” was prominent in the review — as well as the phrase “ludicrously enjoyable”. I’ll try and catch it sometime! :)

        ** Sorry, also been meaning to reply your SLS comment from yesterday…!

        • klmn

          No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!

          • PQOTD

            Okay, so maybe not ‘Straya. We got monstrous seaweed and weird sea creatures, and oh, yeah, missionaries positioning themselves galore, but we didn’t get the Spanish Inquisitors.

      • PQOTD

        Geez, that sounds like ‘Straya.

  • Citizen M

    Alexander Mackendrick’s dictum is that there are three kinds of student films: Too long, much too long, and very much too long.

    I think the script in question was one of the latter.

  • r.w. hahn

    When you give your script to 5 people and 3 or 4 of them give you the same note on something, you better listen. And address it even if it’s your favorite part or character of the script. When my script OASIS was in AF a couple weeks ago, it had already won a competition. But I want it to be better. My writing style was experimental for me and quite a few didn’t like it. By Sunday I had completely revamped the script, condensing the description lines into 2 and 3 paragraphs which cut 4 pages off the script and added a scene I had cut out previously from one persons suggestion. It is a much better script now because I am not afraid to take an ax or a scalpel to my writings when the majority of notes call for it.

    • PQOTD

      That’s the hardest lesson to learn, isn’t it? After all, you wrotee it, it’s a product of your creative brain, and it can do no wrong – in your opinion.

      So you keep that version just for you, and you break out the chainsaw, axe, scalpel to deal with everything else for the well-meaning but less-discerning masses. :)

      • r.w. hahn

        Exactly! :)

  • Malibo Jackk

    New Zealand wins the America’s Cup.

    Now back to our regular channel.

    • klmn

      Those bastards!

      • Malibo Jackk

        Let’s be fair.
        They STOLE it.

        • PQOTD

          Rigged, apparently.

          How could a nation of 4-point-something million beat 300-plus-million?

  • Midnight Luck

    I have a $4 ticket to see Transformers 500, and I just.cannot.get.myself.to.go.

    Cannot do it. It feels painful just imagining sitting through the brain dead CGI fest of stupidity. So I’m not going to bite.

    But it goes to show, the movie really isn’t doing well, if they are giving out $4 tickets to get people in the theater to see it.

    • The Old Man

      Give your ticket to a 6 year old. :)

      • Scott Crawford

        Stick it at a random bus stop, make someone’s day!

      • Midnight Luck

        Sorry, I should explain. I have a link to BUY a ticket for $4.
        So either I have to force the 6 year old to pony up the $4 bucks, or I buy it for them. And there’s NO WAY I am giving a craphole movie like this my $4. I refuse to support this crappy system of cranking out junk.

        If I already had the ticket, I absolutely would give it to a homeless person, a 6 year old, or a lamppost. Happily.

      • JasonTremblay

        I would never let a 6-year-old see such violent crap. Where are your parenting skills?

        • The Old Man

          I’ve never watched a transformer movie. I just assumed that was the maturity level they were made for. Just so you know, my two lovely daughters are a testament to my parenting skills. :)

          • PQOTD

            And possibly also testament to not having been subjected to crap Transformers movies while they were growing up.

    • andyjaxfl

      Don’t do it! I love how you always give every movie a chance, but no need on this one!!

  • Poe_Serling

    Another tune I see topping the charts during the recent AOWs:

    I’m Lousy at Writing Loglines

    Almost all of the featured writers have been singing that one as
    of late.

    Perhaps it’s true… I’m not here to judge.

    Here’s the bit of the headscratcher for me: a writer might toil away
    for months or more on getting their project just right (based on
    their own individual standards), but it’s not worth the same time and
    effort to come up a half-decent logline that get potential readers fired
    up to crack open the script in the first place.

    • klmn

      There’s always Carson’s logline service. At the very least, you can put him through hell for $25.

      Sounds like a bargain to me.

      • Poe_Serling

        If your logline doesn’t work for whatever reason…

        I’d approach it from a rewrite mindset. Keep tinkering with
        those one or two lines until all the pieces click together in
        some sort of enticing way to improve your chances for getting
        the right people to read it.

        And if it is still lacking after your best efforts, then maybe the
        overall story of the script itself isn’t really firing on all the necessary cylinders to take it to the next level.

    • andyjaxfl

      sound advice as always!

  • wlubake

    OT: Anyone catch the new Jackie Chan trailer? A more serious Taken-style movie could be just what Jackie needs to revive his American brand. This story seems like a perfect opportunity for him [note, I watched the trailer at work with the sound off, so I apologize if I missed some really bad dialogue or the like that clues this in as a dud]:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1615160/?pf_rd_m=A2FGELUUNOQJNL&pf_rd_p=3080188022&pf_rd_r=09B7KE3M4PYNKD8FM4NW&pf_rd_s=hero&pf_rd_t=15061&pf_rd_i=homepage&ref_=hm_hp_cap_pri_1

    • Scott Crawford

      My Dad was a big fan of Stephen Leather, I think he might have even read this book. He’s still alive, by the way, my Dad, he just… doesn’t read anymore. Anyway, this production attracted some notoriety some time ago when an explosion made people in London think there was a REAL terrorist attack because not enough people had been told about it.

      Then again… this has taken a LONG time to get to the big screen, I’m surprised it’s not been bought up by Netflix (for non-Asian audiences) like Skiptrace was.

    • Justin

      It looks like something I would (and will) definitely go see. I missed Jackie Chan’s films.

    • andyjaxfl

      I am sold.

  • Gavin John

    How dare you talk about Corey Feldman’s music in a derogative manner! LOL

  • Master John Moss

    I’m still gobsmacked by people’s love for the first.

    Oh, and as an aside, I liked ’13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.’ If Michael Bay stuck with making rah-rah military fare, I’d be OK with it. But genre stuff? A remake from him of ‘The Last Starfighter,’ say? Yeaaaaah… no.

    • Scott Crawford

      I’d like to see 13 HOURS, so thanks for the recommendation, I think I’ll check that out.

      Like I said, I like Bay, I think there are some fantastic MOMENTS in his movies where the visuals and the music and the emotion, it’s just great. But he needs to get away from the VFX mixing desk and do something a bit more personal, maybe about animals… he loves animals.

      • Master John Moss

        A movie like ’13 Hours’ is a perfect fit for him. If it’s an action/war movie you’re looking for, he’s your guy. Anything involving the audience suspending their disbelief (i.e: aliens laying waste to Pittsburgh), not at all.

        It’d be nice if he shied away from action-comedies, too. He won’t.

        • Scott Crawford

          In all serious, I’ve said this before, on his SECOND movie The Rock, he worked with REAL Navy SEALs, some of whom are in the movie and from then on he would put real SEALs and real military guys in his movies, including the TF ones. He seems to have a HEALTHY respect, like Peter Berg, for such people.

          And I think 13 HOURS was him paying tribute to these people who, you know, to be honest, have often appeared in a more comic book role, albeit often cool, in his previous movies.

          If anyone’s got a SERIOUS military script, I’d send it to Bay because I think he could something with that. So any takers?

  • Midnight Luck

    I thought MBay just stated this weekend this was the last Transformers he would Direct?
    Not that that doesn’t mean 9 other Directors wouldn’t take over from here.
    Like Sofia Coppola.

  • Lucid Walk

    Why did I watch the Transformers movies?

    The first one looked good. And despite its faults, it’s actually a solid, re-watchable flick.

    When I saw the second one, I honestly didn’t understand why everyone hated it so much. I’m not saying it was great, just not terrible. But if I were to see it today, I’m sure I’d think otherwise (except for the forest battle; that part’s still awesome).

    The third one was all over the place, but it still managed to be fun. The hour-long final battle felt true to the spirit of what Transformers should be.

    And as for the fourth one, without a doubt, one of the ten worst films I have seen in my entire life. And that’s saying a lot.

    It only took four tries, but I’ve finally convinced myself not to see the newest film. At least, not start to finish; I am curious about that Bumblebee vs. Optimus fight.

    • Scott Crawford

      I knew some people who absolutely loved the first film and the series has SOME of the qualities of a popular TV series where people will watch every single episode but newcomers won’t be able to join in and follow what’s happening or they’ll get fed up with things that the fans don’t mind or really like.

      Problem is… people drop out of TV shows and they drop out of movies, so it’s diminishing returns unless you can draw new people in. Hence the new for… not a reboot but an ADRENALINE SHOT. A different direction.

      • Master John Moss

        Gonna respectfully disagree. The series is BEGGING for a Bond-like, Batman-like reimagining, and sooner or later (I’m thinking sooner), it’s going to get it. Something that gets the hard-core, G1 purists excited. Hasbro knows only too well that it alienated them and would love to get them back onboard the Astrotrain. They’re the ones who need convincing. Getting everyone else on is easy enough.

  • Malibo Jackk

    Posted for no reason

    • klmn

      It looks like a female version of DUEL, but the truck isn’t as cool as the
      Peterbilt in that movie.

      • Malibo Jackk

        What?
        Sorry…
        I was busy looking at the blonds.

        • The Old Man

          Sexist pig! :)

        • klmn

          It’s only 84 minutes long. Just four ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, all green.

  • PQOTD

    Yeah, everyone gets an effing trophy.

    Which is not how the real world rolls.

  • Master John Moss

    I definitely have to agree that had Spielberg not handpicked Bay to helm the first, we might be talking about the franchise very differently right now.

    Who do I think Spielberg should have given it to (provided they were game). Now THAT’S a great question. And you have to be realistic, it would never have been someone like C. Nolan or M. Mann. But MAYBE, just maybe, he could’ve roped Zemeckis into doing it, AND Zemeckis stayed away from that creepy ‘Polar Express’/motion capture bullshit. But probably not. If Bay didn’t do it, it VERY likely wouldve wound up with Gore Verbinski, as he had worked for DreamWorks prior (‘MouseHunt’).

  • klmn

    If you’re wondering where Carson is, my sources inform me that he is partying with Dennis Rodman and this guy.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a067890eb5f8a8ca14de943278e7a8b51bc181e4520ddd89b73acb0cfef57824.jpg

  • wlubake
    • Justin

      Yes! Besides some glaring issues, “The Accountant” is one of my favorite films of all time. Very enjoyable to watch, and one I can watch repeatedly.

  • Erica

    It’s also why you see young writers today, write one script, a “vomit” draft, then sit back and way to be carried out of the shoulders of their fellow writers. Then sit back and wait for the fame and fortune to pour in.

    They can’t figure out why they are not getting to the top making top bucks when they put in almost 3 weeks of work already.

    • g r e n d l

      Fucking Disney and that When you wish upon a star bullshit.

  • Erica

    Poor Corey, I loved him growing up, The Goonies, The Burbs, Licensed to Drive. But my god, someone really needs to sit him down and tell him, he can’t sing.

    Where is Simon Cowell when you need him!