Friday, March 02, 2007

The Greatest Movie Ever

I just got back from another out of town job so that’s why I haven’t posted in a while. So, in the last exciting episode I issued a personal challenge to write a screenplay that was better than the crap in theaters now and for like the last year or so (with some exceptions of course). At first I was thinking I needed to keep any ideas I might have on this as hush-hush as possible, yet I reconsidered for a couple of reasons. First being that I want this to be as original a concept as possible and I don’t want any of my vast archival memory of movies slipping into this through my subconscious. That said, I also want everyone who reads this to understand that some basic principals of story telling still apply. There must be a protagonist and an antagonist. There will be familiar story concepts and motivations. However, I don’t want it to be a blatant copy of another movie, vis-à-vis Little Miss Sunshine. I want to throw every part of my working story ideas up on the net so that as I go people can critique or make suggestions etc.

Second, I really don’t want to spend like the next year working on something in my free time to find out that it sucked worse than what I was ripping on. So, please feel free to blast any shitty ideas. For the sake of not ruining the ending I may withhold some of the climax stuff, but we are a long ways off from that.

There is a great literary quote I took to heart before starting this that goes “Write what you know.” With that in mind I thought about what my favorite movies were and how I might write given the opportunity and my overriding personality. I think for these reasons my movie would be an action/adventure (duh). So, let me just give you a really bare bones plot concept I came up with and you tell me if you think its any good.

The story would start in the American past and follow a guy or small group who finds or is led to a valuable item that he or they decides he must protect or steal for some reason of ethics or greed. I’m thinking a train robbery where the loot is a little too valuable to leave in the hands of whoever it is in possession of or something like that. So it is stolen and the guy or group makes a spectacular getaway.

Flash forward to modern times where a mixed group of (you guessed it) archaeologists, out in some remote area, stumble across an item or journal that convinces all or some of them that this item is hidden somewhere they could find it.

The truly interesting concept that I liked was that there would be a flip-flop between the two times so that you could see the adventures and struggles of both groups as they go on their own yet connected adventures. A problem for one may present similar or completely different struggles for another. For example hiding or traversing something in the past may present certain logistical, geographical or time related problems for those in the future. Also, the story would be shown in such a way that though you may be stumped as to how either group may proceed or escape the previous story clip from the opposite time would guide the audience as to what may happen next. Yet the story won’t be completely obvious as to everything that will happen.

Of course as with any story there will be a love interest and some characters you will hate and some you will like. I was thinking that there needed to be a somewhat obvious similarity between two of the main characters, one in the past and one in the present. As far as the conclusion goes; I have some pretty good ideas so far, but I need to flesh out the rest of the story first.

So, there you have it, a very basic plot outline. Now, tell me what you think. I promise I will be open to any constructive criticisms and recommendations. I will start working on actual story and post that at some point in the next few months as a downloadable word file or something.


Thousandlegs said...

Mark, your idea is somewhat akin to Indiana Jones or even Goonies. I like it though. In reference to the previous blog about Little Miss Sunshine I have to completely disagree with you. I enjoy a good movie very much. Good being the operative word. I also know that there are myriad movies with the same or at least similar plot and character references. The thing that makes one movie stand out, take Little Miss Sunshine for instance, is the ability of the actor to portray the character effectively. We have all seen the sappy love story where the girl has to choose between a guy or a career but is there not one that sticks out in our minds as a good movie based on the actors' portrayal of the characters. People can go to a play in several different cities, the same play mind you, and never see the same show because of the actors' abilities or inabilities.

(sliding soapbox under chair)

Your idea is a good start. Run with it and I'll be as critical as I possibly can when you have more to present. Bring a completed manuscript when you come to my house. It'll be your rent for the evening.

Brillig said...

The previous statement was made by an actor. His opinions and views do not reflect those of normal people. Remember actors only take into account one aspect of film, television or plays and that is…the acting. Most don’t even know what “writing” is. So, if you see an actor on the street do not stair or point and never ask what they think of anything written you might startle or scare them which may lead to a long soliloquy about some topical issue they know nothing about.

Da Beef said...

Do actors really think though? Do they not just do as they are told? (I'm kidding honey!) I like it Mark. Sounds cool. Kinda like back to the future meets Indiana Jones. You have to have the comic relief character as well, unless done so by the main character. And some good fighting on your train scene. You could star in it and wear your hat! That'd be sweet. Keep up the writing!