Tag Archives: genre

Thank Goodness for Geeks in Suits

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emember the Star Wars Kid? The overweight, French Canadian kid who’s life was ruined when some highschool classmates put this selfie video (below) of his on the internet? And we all had a laugh. And he went into extensive therapy.

The thing about that video was – and I’m sure I’m not the first to say it – we all saw ourselves in 14 year old Ghyslain Raza aka the Star Wars Kid.

I don’t care if you’re the jockiest jock who throws invisible footballs in your bedroom or the prissiest meangirl who jerks her hand away laughing like Pretty Woman in her mirror, you saw yourself in Ghyslain Raza.

Some of us were confident enough to admit it. While many more would sooner die than invite the comparison.

Ghyslain Raza was geeking on Star Wars. He had been so moved by a fictitious world that his fantasy took on a physical exhibition. But it wasn’t his fictitious world. He didn’t dream it up. George Lucas did.

I’ve been reviewing script notes from the producer who’s optioning my screenplay.

Here’s something I didn’t know about myself until recently: I write techno-thrillers. My manager said so in passing a while back in reference to my script. I didn’t even know that was a genre. I’d never even heard the term.

I played it caj.

Sure… Techno-thrillers. That’s my jam.

Techno-thrillers are apparently thrillers within the spy, action and war genres that have an emphasis on emerging technology. Who knew.

So reading through Producer’s notes I was a little tickled (badass techno-thriller writer tickled) to see him using the jargon I’d created. Like, really getting into it.

Now, I’ve been creating new media entertainment for years. I’ve received plenty of geeky fanmails wherein viewers spin their wheels about what my characters should do next. Or whether something in my movie would actually work like that. Or that I made some continuity error and so on– Super fans doing what super fans do.

What was different this time was that this was a producer. A producer who is gathering millions of dollars to turn my techno-thriller script into a movie.

Millions of dollars.

And he’s asking me if the widget I invented in the second act could be weaponized by act three.

He’s geeking on my fiction.

And it occurs to me that once upon a time in a galaxy far far away, George Lucas didn’t just create a world that would be so engaging as to one day destroy 14 year old Ghyslain Raza’s social life. He first created a world that had to have made guys in suits geek out on that very same fantasy.

We all saw ourselves in the Star Wars Kid.

Thank goodness Hollywood suits have the confidence to admit it.

 

… And did I just compare myself to George Lucas? Never you mind. Never you mind.

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Filed under Misadventures, The Journey

Where’s The Ticking Clock?

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he results are in. On the whole, positive.

I think.

At least Manager’s feedback on Script #2 didn’t start with: Are we sure we want to pursue this story? Or anything to that effect. In fact, he still seemed really amped about the concept.

It’s a pretty frightening concept. Relatable yet wildly adventurous. I could have approached it many different ways.

So, concept: Good. Characters: Good. All told there wasn’t a lot said. Weren’t a lot of notes. Just one big one…

Stakes. Motivation. Where is it?

I knew it before he said it. Knew where the weakness lay.

My last few runs at the action thriller genre – including Script #1 – have had a common element. A ticking clock. World ending stakes on a timer that the protag has to overcome.

Standard fare for the genre.

But with Script #2, I was admittedly a little anxious. Eager to impress. Didn’t want to rehash the same formula for my sophomore effort. So I got a little nebulous with the ticking clock. Lost sight of the stakes.

It didn’t go unnoticed.

Which is good. Great, actually. That’s the kind of relationship I need with Manager.

So I’ve been rewriting. Not the entire script. Been doing a rewrite outline instead. Proposed changes to run by Manager. So that we don’t spend a lot of time needlessly going over an entire screenplay to get the structure down. Already got some fixes in place that will hopefully get the clock ticking again.

There are sure to be more notes after that. I think we just have to get this big one out of the way first.

It’s a new dynamic for me. Every session a first step. Having the patience to wait for the latest draft to be read remains my greatest challenge however… Kind of a drag… Easy to see why a ticking clock is so appealing. In the movies, as in life.

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Querying – Genre Targeting

Researching execs and companies you may find they have tendencies toward certain genres. Take note of these but remember that they’re not always hard and fast rules.

Often information about what execs are not interest in can be more helpful. It can be a time saver. But even then people’s tastes can change. Pay attention to the dates on the sources of your information and the companies they were working with at the time. Some companies are very genre specific, even if their current employees are not.

The fringe genres evoke the most prejudice. Some people absolutely won’t look at horror. Some are only interested in family. Again, time saving info.

What I found helpful about learning someone’s genre preferences was that I could tailor my logline to suit them. If they were mostly into R comedy, I could be a little more R in my logline. If they were art house snobs I could focus on character elements over the fact that it’s a romcom.

Some of the better read requests that I got were when I queried somebody outside my expectation of their genre. I assume this is because, at the end of the day, no exec is going to turn down a concept they think they can take to the bank.

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