Thursday, June 11, 2009
Guess the Plot
1. e. e. cummings is back . . .
and this time it's personal.
2. ((Ida - sister)/(grief + rage)) * mistrial + 3months*((new evidence + trial)/(shooting range + sniper rifle)) + 2years*(appeals /martial arts training) + (murderer free / training complete) = justice/vengeance: A Vigilante Mathematician Story
3. The telecommunication industry is in a shambles, having been targeted for reprisals by a renegade band of philologists who blame cell-phone texting for the younger generation's appalling disregard of the established rules of capitalization.
4. Danielle Mallory, family expatriate/private detective, teams up with her father/ex-con to search for her missing/dead? younger brother/drug user before the unthinkable/indescribable happens. Also, a deep conspiracy/race against the clock.
5. Strunk and White arise as zombies and slay all those who neglect proper capitalization. White considers it vengeance, but Strunk considers it just.
6. Dante Cherish is a criminal lawyer with a knack for keeping her clients out of prison. When one of them turns on her, assaulting her and burning down her house, she has to decide whether to pursue the case through the courts or don spandex and mete out some street justice as Red Janus, the Avenger.
7. A series of episodes in the life of little Miss Holly Day, who continually falls prey to an evil madman in an act of unimaginable cruelty that simply must be avenged by Coyote Jones and his flame-throwing sidekick Mungo Bean.
Dear Agent/Producer/Person whose Roommate [/Butler/Plumber] is Friends with the Coen Brothers' Assistant: [The main duty of the Coen Brothers' assistant is to keep the Coen Sisters off the set. Or so I hear.] [You'd think the Coen Brothers could afford to each have an assistant.] [I'm thinking of getting an assistant myself. How much does an assistant make? The Coen Brothers' assistant probably makes enough to hire an assistant. Then when the Coen Brothers summon their assistant to do something vile like give them foot massages, the assistant's assistant has to do it.] [My assistant's main duty will be to inform me when I've run a topic into the ground.]
All her adult life, private detective Danielle Mallory has distanced herself from her family - until her younger brother sends a frantic call for help just before disappearing in the middle of a drug deal gone bad. [Because there's no better time to rejoin your family than right after your brother swindles a Colombian drug cartel.] Against her better judgment, she teams up with her ex-con father to find him. In a race against the clock – and against her father’s short fuse – Danielle is forced to compromise her own moral code to unravel the threads of her brother’s life. But when the unthinkable happens and she stumbles into a deeper conspiracy, Danielle realizes too late that nobody can escape their past. [That last sentence could use some specificity.]
"justice/vengeance" is a smart, stylish noir that can be shot for a low to medium budget [unless you can get Julia Roberts to play Danielle, in which case we can still come in under 100 mil if the Coen Brothers are willing to give up their assistant]. I myself am a recent USC graduate with several completed screenplays under my belt. Currently I am an assistant [to the Coen Brothers] and occasional copywriter for a movie advertising company.
Aren't you supposed to start with one or two sentence log line? Not that I've ever figured out how that can convince an agent you have a viable project.
I hear it's even harder to get an agent for a screenplay than for a novel. Have you considered the many screenplay competitions? They aren't free, but many do give feedback, and winning scripts sometimes get put before producers as part of the prize. At least a winning script would look good on a resume. I say this only because it's such a tough field to break into. Right now all screenplays that get produced are written by the same five people.
Another way to break in that's much easier than sending your screenplay to agents is to convert it to a novel that becomes a runaway bestseller.