Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Assist Me Please!

Help me here. What's wrong with this script? Not the logline so much, 'cause people have requested it after reading it:

The cast and crew of an independent film production have more to worry about than the budget when a psychotic extra snaps and begins killing them off.

My basis of the script was dealing with an annoying extra on my own movie, called WAIT A MINUTE, the we made a trailer for 3+ years ago. After that, he would NOT stop bothering me. condtasntly asking if the trailer was finished, over, and over. The dude was BARELY in it (he was in a crowded dance club scene). If he's lucky, his shoulder might be glimpsed in a nano-second long shot. That's another post though - Extras.

So, the script is called HEADSHOT. Basically, as the premise suggests, an actor lands a gig as an extra on a small movie, but this guy is the most annoying person on Earth, gets on everyone's nerves, fucks up shots/scenes, etc. So he gets fired and bascially kills most of the cast & crew in his crazed revenge.

Now, it's not straight horror. It's really 75% comedy, 25% horror I'd say.
People have read the script, and their main concern is that we know who the killer is (his name is Dagnus Todd). SO? I mean, my point is NOT who the killer is, we know the guy is nutso at the beginning, I feel that the entertainment of the story is how/when he's going to snap, and who's going to survive. Nightmare on Elm St, Friday The 13th, Halloween, Chucky, etc - We know the killer.

Thoughts/reflections on this?

16 comments:

Nanda said...

Hello!!
Hows u?
My name's fernanda,i'm 17 and I'm from Brazil..
i was visiting some blogs and then i found your!... i like it too mch!!
but.. forget my english.. i'm not so good on it!! hahaha
in your free time, stop by my blog and send me a comment too!!
have a nice week!
xxxXXXxxx

aaron said...

Maybe the problem is that there's too much comedy. I mean, even Child's Play 1 was meant to be scary (I think). Maybe with so much threat missing, people get confused?

It makes me think of something like THE ASSASSINATION OF RICHARD NIXON... though, that film has no comedy. We know he's gonna freak out but it's watching him slowly go mad that is interesting. I wonder if taking the comedy out would make things clearer.

If you want to keep the funny then I'm not sure. It just seems to me that those films you listed aren't exactly heavy on the comedy and I think that's why we can know who the killer is. Now, the later installments don't count because then the audience is showing up for the camp. And camp isn't comedy.

citygirl said...

I'd have to read it to know for sure, but maybe the problem is with your nutso lead.

In all those horror classics you mentioned, the lead killer was a strong enough character on his own to make the audience love to hate him. At some point we shouldn't be scared for the cast he's picking off, but cheering his brutal killing methods.

I'm a script consultant, and I'd be glad to read it and give you some ideas. Send me an email at rockette74@yahoo.com if you'd like.

deepstructure said...

to be honest im trying to figure out what your idea really is. is it a story about a spurned extra seeking revenge (revenge of the nerd?), or is it about a film production being terrorized by a killer (12 little p.a's)?

both have humorous potential, but your logline claims one and your post says another.

Optimistic_Reader said...

I think maybe the logline is the problem, in some ways - I think you might simply have a problem with expectation here. When I read the logline first, it was the horror rather than the comedy that jumped out at me, yet you say the script is actually more comedy than horror. I'm sure the script itself works fine because you have time to set the tone, but maybe producers are requesting it because it reads like a horror, and aren't prepared for how much comedy there is? If you could find a way of injecting more humour into the first half of the logline, that might help balance out the expectations?

EM said...

The logline made me think straight horror, too. The 75% comedy would definitely throw me.

EM said...

Oh yeah, forgot to say I completely agree with fernanda's points.

Patrick J. Rodio said...

Maybe you're right about not mentioning enough comedy in the logline. Whoever reads it is naturally expecting horror based on that and then might be like "What the F?" when they read all the one-liners, etc. Hmm.....

Robert Hogan said...

I would say it’s probably one of two things. Either the script doesn’t deliver on the expectations presented by the log line or you are missing a strong polar character. Judging from your log line I would say it’s the latter. The extra would be your antagonist (or more interestingly your protagonist?) but I don’t see a character in your log line that would be his protagonist. It’s fine if he’s going around killing all the people who have wronged him, but if he is the antagonist then the audience needs one strong character that is the ultimate target of his vengeance. Conversely if the killer extra is actually a protagonist you need one strong character that embodies everything that is wrong with the crew he is killing (the A-list leading man?). Of course, I’m basing that on the log line and what you posted about the story. You can drop me the script if you want me to give it a read.

Patrick J. Rodio said...

I might just do that, Rob. Actually, in the script there is an opposite....our hero is the screenwriter!

deepstructure said...

oh well then no wonder no producer likes the script! ;)

taZ said...

Hello PR!

It's hard to know for sure, but maybe you give the idea that the cast gets killed in a mysterious way, which may be annoying since we already know who is killing them.

I don't know if you do this, but maybe by showing the killer/extra sometimes in between planning/setting up the murders will balance that.

Best luck ;)

wcdixon said...

yes - start by writing a new logline...one that reflects the movie you want to make. There is the expectation of 12 Little P.A.'s (...lol) in what's there now. However if you shift it to more of a revenge comedy, who is the protag - the killer/extra? If so, it would seem the crew/cast need to be pretty dispicable (in an amusing way) to want us to be cheering him on. And then I'd want to know - how does it end? He gets away with it?

Tavis said...

I can see the humor in the logline -- "The cast and crew of an independent film production have more to worry about than the budget..." At least this seems to have a seed of humor in it.

I think a true horror/comedy that isn't overly campy would be awesome-- I don't know if there has really ever been one.

On an unrelated note: What do you think of the article in Variety about itunes and Amazon distributing movies digitally?

Brett said...

I think the problem isn;t one big problem but more the confluence of several smaller ones-- the 'death by ants" situation.

The disconnect between what you describe in the log vs what you describe in the synopsis is one thing.

Another is that I have *no* idea who or what this character is supposed to be based upon either the log or the synopsis. When you describe the inspiration for the tale, I start to get a better feel for what you are aimning at, but it's not really suggested in your "official" stuff right now.

Also, if the killer is the protag, then let's get him front and center. As is you seem to be trying to tell the killer's potentially darkly comic tale from the POV of the writer-- one of the guys who would find the situation the least amusing.

The title seems vague, too. Something like "SECOND KILLER FROM THE LEFT" or "NUTJOB #2"-- some odd play on the screen credits given to extras-- seems a fun idea.

I like the synopsis, but then, I'm insane.
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B

Moviequill said...

"A psychotic movie extra snaps and..." I'd just re-arrange the logline a little