Posted by: steveonfilm | September 7, 2010

Well Rested And Ready To Go

Took a few days off for R&R and am ready to get back into the swing of things.

I’ve decided to go with one of my “non-horror” options. At least for the time being. Don’t get me wrong, I think a modern day take on “Little Red Riding Hood” would be a blast to write, I’m just a little more interested in exploring my other idea first. Who knows, maybe it won’t work out and I’ll end up going back to “Little Red Riding Hood,” but for the time being it’s getting shelved.

So what am I going to work on?

I’m going to take a whirl at my “kidnapping” story. Kidnapping stories have been done to death, along with just about every other sub-genre story out there. So why attempt something that’s been done so many times before?

Consider this…

I had a conversation with someone at work on Friday about what I was thinking of writing for my next screenplay. I mentioned the kidnapping story. They didn’t like it. The conversation went something like this…

“Kidnapping has been done to death.”

My response, “So?”

“So, write something original.”

“You tell me what’s original.”

“I don’t know, write about a kid who has an evil brother who tries to kill him.”

“I could.. but they already did that with ‘The Good Son.'”

“How about a guy who has a horrible boss.”

“Already been done with ‘Office Space’, ‘Swimming With Sharks’, and ‘The Devil Wears Prada.'”

He wasn’t following me, so I clarified, “All three of those movies have the concept of a horrible boss. But all three have a completely different take on the idea. What makes a screenplay isn’t the idea, it’s the take on it.”

Then it started to click with him.

“You know what the difference is between ‘Man on Fire’ and ‘Taken’?” I asked.

He shrugged.

“In one movie the bad guy is a Sultan, in the other he’s a drug dealer. That’s really it. They’re both kidnapping movies but each one has a completely different take on the idea. Hell, ‘Avatar’ is just a different take on the same idea as ‘Dancing With Wolves’ or ‘The Last Samurai.'”

That clicked.

I added, “I’m not looking to write the next Best Original Screenplay. I’m writing because it’s fun. And I think this will be a fun story. It doesn’t matter if someone has already written a kidnapping story. What matters is my take on the idea, and if I enjoy writing it.”

And that brings me to my point. I know a few other people who obsess over writing “the great American screenplay.” In the end they spend so much time obsessing of what that is they do very little writing. On the other hand, I write three to four screenplays a year. Hopefully each one better than the last. But the point is that I’m writing, and they’re not. How do you get better at something if you don’t practice?

Really that’s what this is all about, practice. This isn’t a job for me, it’s a hobby. A passion. Something I do because I enjoy doing it, and I like to see myself getting better at it. I don’t lift weights because I want to be an IFBB professional bodybuilder. I lift weights because it’s fun. I like seeing my progress in the mirror. People don’t play gold because they want to be on the PGA tour. They play because it’s fun. They like to get watch that handicap go down and down.

Sometimes you can make a profession or a living out of your hobby. You get so good it’s the only option left for you. But you don’t go into a hobby to do that. You go in because it’s fun. And if it ever stops being fun, you either need to take a step back, or move on to something else. Maybe I’ll get good enough that this will turn into a profession for me. Who knows? But in the mean time I’m moving on to my next screenplay… and it’s a kidnapping story.

So suck on that one, fatty.

Until next time, keep writing!
-Steve

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