Friday, March 21, 2008

Script Frenzy: Script Ideas

Since I've decided that I'm doing the Frenzy this year after all, I rather need something to write about. I've done some thinking, in accordance with historical precident, I've come up with three solid ideas. All of which, I think, I can reasonably expect to finish 100 pages on in the space of a month and all of which, I think, are ideas I can reasonably do justice to. Hopefully, over the next week, one will capture my imagination and jump to the front of the pack. But, at the moment, each has its strengths and weaknesses, each interests me, and I could be happy working on any (Or all. Yes, I'm just that crazy.) of them.

The first is a reworking of last year's script (Well, one of them.), Unbound. Didn't manage to finish it last June but I did polish it up - like a turd - later on. In case you don't remember, the simple synopsis is that it's about a young mage who escapes enslavement and attempts to fight her way to freedom with the help of a guard whom she's ensorcelled to aid her. Which is, you know, irony. There's a bit about a kingdom invaded by a foreign empire and the wedding of a princess to the head of the occupation but, boiled down to the basics, it's about that mage trying to escape her fate. And that's what I'd hope to do with this rewrite: boil the script down to its essential bits, toss out what wasn't working the last half dozen go arounds, and focus on its core components. Pare down the cast list, eliminate unnecessary scenes and locales. I've done a preliminary outline and it's a completely different movie from start to finish, about the only thing I'd be reusing are the characters and that basic plot.

The pluses of this script? I've worked on versions of it before, I know the characters, I know the problems, and I have reams of background material fleshing them out to fall back on. The cons? I've done it before and I might get bored with it.

The second is also an idea I've had in the past that I'd like t develop into something more. And that would be a comic book that I call (At the moment) Small Timers. My one-line pitch is that it's like Tenchi Muyo crossed with Spider-Man with more than a bit of Invincible tossed in for good measure. Basically, it's about this guy who gains super-powers, decides to become a super-hero, and is working his way toward he "Big Time", to becoming a major hero in a major city (One of the major themes would be that, initially, he's in it for the wrong reasons. That he's out for fame and fortune instead of "doing the right thing".). Along the way, he's surrounded by a supporting cast of heroes and villains, the vast majority of whom happen to be smoking hot love interests - like the superstrong mercenary he keeps crossing paths with or his old high school flame. I'd see this as an ongoing series but I think, for the Frenzy, I could get rough script done for the first trade. What I like to think of as the Revnant Cycle, the first major story arc featuring the first major villain and the birth of a new hero who'll quickly become an important ally (I'm working on the Buffy model of having one big bad per season/arc which revolves around them.) which should cover six to twelve 22 page issues (Well, 14~18 since I want to have a back-up feature about the main character when he was first starting out or showcasing interesting characters who aren't getting screentime in the current storyline.).

The pluses? I've always wanted to write a comic book. Again, I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do and sketches and outlines for it stretching back a couple years. There's a structural advantage here, too. Since comic books are episodic, I can focus on writing one twenty-odd page book at a time. Write just a few of them and I'll have hit the magic 100 page mark. The cons? Formatting for comic books isn't quite as set as that for a script. A minor complaint but it means I'll have to hunt down a template for Celtx or figure out a workaround. Also, although I have a lot of background material a lot of it is contradictory and none of it is anywhere near even a skeletal outline. It's more like a vague sense of characters and what I want to do with them (Although, since I'm not trying to overly prepare this go around, that might not actually be a bad thing.).

The third is a new movie that I'm having troubles coming up with a title for. So, in lieu of anything better, the working title is Between the Stars. It's a sci-fi story set in a world where humanity made contact with a spacefaring alien species who stopped in the solar system to refuel (At Jupiter. None of that siphoning off the oceans nonsense or anything like that.) and then left, peacefully. A short time later, they came back unexpectedly announcing that they'd found a third sentient species (Humanity being the first they'd encountered, of course), a pre-industrial race on a nearby star, and proposing that they and humanity establish an outpost for scientific observation. We agree and set up a space station in orbit - the first joint venture between us and our newfound allies. The movie would take place on that station and begin with the hiring of its newest security chief, its top cop, and his family, as part of a new wave of workers for an increasingly stable station starting to admit whole families hoping to settle instead of the young and unmarried transients. Shortly after he arrives, however, there's a murder, the station's first (Unless you count industrial accidents and the occasional bar room brawl misfortune as a premeditated killing. Which I don't.). His chief suspect? One of the aliens. There's more to the story, of course, but it's a murder mystery, a police procedural, set in outer space.

The pluses? It plays on my pet themes of communication and bridging cultural gaps. I already have some really strong - thematically, visually, if not dramatically - scenes in mind. The cons? I've never written a mystery before and I'm not really sure how it's done or if it's something that's right for me. But the biggest problem is that I don't know how I want the story to end yet. You'd think that would be a deal breaker when it comes to something like a script where you need to know A to B fairly well but it's not.

So, that's a fantasy script, a sci-fi script, and a superhero comic book. Why, yes, I am a nerd!

At the moment, I'm leaning towards the third, my sci-fi script. If only because it's novel and new and a challenge. I'm not sure how it plays out but I have a few more days to figure that out so I'm not overly worried.

I think, then, that I'll make that script my primary plan. Try to mull it over work out the kinks. While keeping the others around as back-up plans.

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