Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Working Vacation

So I'm in Vegas on vacation. Or shoukd I say "vacation", since yesterday I pounded out a bunch of spec synopsis for a CableNet producer. A couple I really like - and hope something happens with. One is kind of Antonioni's THE PASSENGER meets BOURNE IDENTITY - but with a female lead.

Today - same story, different CableNet. For the next 3 days it looks like that's what I will be doing. I'm actually doing more than originally pitched, because I've had some other ideas along the way. I live for cool ideas like "Planet To Go" - a terraform kit that you can drop on any planet, press a button, and it figures out how to take whatever's on the planet and turn it into an atmosphere that can sustain human life. I'm wrapping a story around that. I've got 9 other ideas like that that I'm fleshing out into stories with characters and plot twists and cliff hanger's for commercial breaks and all the other stuff that will hopefully turn this talk into a paying gig.

Meanwhile - I have not won money. I'm down and hope I can turn that around tonight.

- Bill


Erik said...

These loglines, they're all for sequels, right?

I know you've done some stuff like this before. Do you ever think of a spec that you've got that might fit and let the producer know you have a script - but it would need to be reworked as a sequel vehicle? Or is that the kind of situation where it doesn't really buy anything for you?

wcmartell said...

No - the material I'm working on now are pitches for *original* scripts (my ideas). So I've just done a stack of Lifetimes, and now I'm in the process of a stack of Sci Fi Channels.

The Sci Fi one pager I just finished is for a script I began writing about 20 years ago, and never finished. I've always liked the idea, and I wrote up a new version.

I haven't started the sequel project for the other studio - but I think the problem would be trying to find one of my existing specs that would fit as a sequel.

The sequel things are also my ideas (that fit as sequels) - I'm not really interested in writing someone else's idea.

- Bill

crossword said...

Just out of curiosity Bill... when you put together a one-pager, is this timelining like you did with "Unreasonable Force" ?

If so, that's real impressive! I mean, it's one thing to come up with a stack of ideas and describe each of them on one page (impressive in itself) BUT to flesh each of these out (with WHAMMOs and everything) is really quite something.

And to do so in a place like L.V. with all its distractions... wow. If I had a hat, I'd take it off to you. :)

wcmartell said...

No - it's a one page synopsis. There are a bunch on my site in the Scripts Available section...

But in some cases you pretty much have to do that timeline/outline to figure out the best one page synopsis. On the Sci Fi ones, I sort of have to do that. I don't have to have everything, but I do need to have at least 4 of the commercial break cliff hangers (and on many I have all 6) just so they can see how this will work in TV movie form.

I'm soon to do a blog entry on this: suits don't have much imagination, so you need to spell it out for them. I could probably pitch one of these to you guys, and you'd "fill in the blanks" and see how one page could become a full length script. Even if you didn't come up with the same things that I'm going to come up with, you can "see it". Most of these folks can't see it. You have to really spell it out for them.

And that means instead of just being an idea, I have to figure out how it's going to be fleshed out into a script... and put that in the one page synopsis.

So the "planet to go" this is a hiest story. I had to spell out who the robbers were, how they plan to steal it, who double crosses them, what the further complications are, and how it gets made right... and our master thief protagonist actually redeems himself by the end. You don't have to know every story beat, but you do have to know the major story beats.

Part of this is because I'm selling them an idea, but I want to get paid in real money. So I need them to "see" a complete story so that they aren't afraid all I have are a handful of words.

Though much of this (maybe all of it) will be for nothing - I still end up with these one pagers and all of the outline work I've already done on them. You never know when I might be able to set one of these things up at a *studio*... or just some other producer looking for Sci Fi Channel projects.

- Bill

Emily Blake said...

Question: Boyfriend is really into Jean-Claude style action movies, but he's never seen any of your stuff. Which of your films would you recommend I start with?

I figure if I get him one or two of your movies to watch it will stall his insistence that I join him at monster truck rallies. Please help.

wcmartell said...

I hate all of my movies...

But, if you can find them, here are the ones that bring out only the hesitation cuts - not the full wrist slices:

CRASH DIVE - starring American Ninja Michael Dudikoff. Terrorists steal a submarine.

BLACK THUNDER - starring American Ninja Michael Dudikoff. Terorists steal an airplane... remade with S Seagal as Fl*ght *f F*ry, and makes for a funny double bill.

NIGHT HUNTER - Don The Dragon Wilson. No terrorists stealing anything - vampires try to take over LA... like they don't already own it!

Those are the action ones.

- Bill

Emily Blake said...

If you hate all your movies, how do you get up the energy to keep writing? How do you avoid crushing depression?

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