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Forums Index -> The Terror Tube -> SHARK SWARM!
Messiahman
PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 5:25 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 21 Jun 2006
Posts: 3019
Location: Hollywood

I just answered you via PM, DSIC.
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Ultimo Franco
PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 6:02 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 20 Jun 2006
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Thanks for linking to that review Filmcritic. I hadn't seen it yet. Good or bad, I always enjoy reading them. At this point, having literally written the movie about two years ago, it doesn't bother me when I read a lousy review. It's in the past already for me and David. We've written so many things since then. It kind of feels like a really cool memory now, regardless of what the reviews say. That's not to say I don't prefer good ones, of course, like this short review from a site called Pop Syndicate.

Didn't See It Coming wrote:
I have question for you guys. How much of this was your own and how much was changed/mandated/forced upon the script by the studio?

That's a difficult question. It was a project for hire. Based on other work we had done for them, we were offered the chance to write a miniseries called Shark Swarm. Right there, it becomes slightly less "ours." It already had a title, and the rough log line "a bunch of sharks attack a bunch of people." It's specified as a mini-series, which requires a particular kind of storytelling, which again helps dictate the final product. A mini-series can't be a small, intimate horror tale. It's got to have some size and heft to it if possible. It's got to have a certain number of characters in order to fill out the damn four hour running time. Remember, although the DVD may come in at roughly three hours, the script we wrote was obligated to be a four hour movie for TV. That means that at least one full hour's worth of material we wrote got tossed or condensed in post-production. Those are very real changes to the script.

We set our initial treatment in Hawaii and it was an entirely different story. It involved myths about ancient shark gods, treasure hunters, volcanic activity that uncovers a mineral deposit that sets off the sonar of all the sharks in the surrounding waters, and a bunch of other side stories to help flesh it out as a four hour miniseries for television. It was our original take on the material, but it already had a number of studio dictated aspects to it, even at this first treatment phase.

The notes we got back after that first treatment were simple. Set it in California. We need a clear human villain. Lose the crazy priest who acts like a demented Captain Ahab. Make him a nice priest if you're gonna use him. Try to add some element of a ticking clock into the story. We need some romance. We need things to be as clear at all times as possible. We need more characters, fill up a whole town's worth, more shark attacks, more shark attacks. We re-wrote the treatment a few times until they gave us the go ahead to start first draft.

Then we write the first draft. Some things make it directly from the final treatment into the draft, some things change as we fill out scenes. Once we hand in that first 240 page first draft (remember, it's mandated to be four damn hours), we get notes back for the second draft. Now we're told to lose certain scenes entirely. Certain characters have to be changed for whatever reason the producers dictate. Due to budget, due to casting, due to the director, due to locations that fall through at the last minute, all kinds of things have to be changed to makes everyone happy.

The other thing to remember is that we're also getting notes from the financiers, not just the production company. Sometimes the notes made perfect sense and really helped us focus things. Other times, the notes made no sense, but still had to be addressed in a rewrite. Someone in charge of something wasn't quite clear on some aspect of some scene or whatever. Change it. It doesn't matter how clear you think it is, it doesn't matter how good the scene is the way it is, if someone in charge says to change something, you have to change it as best you can. You have to try to make it work somehow. You have to balance their notes and changes while still writing something as cool as you can make it. We've also got to think about Hallmark's audience on top of everything else. This was a project written for a specific network, known for a specific type of programming. That had an influence on our ideas and the notes we received, certainly.

We also get something called tracking. That's a color-coded graph that shows the appearance of every character in the script. Part of our job is to make sure that we never loose sight of any of our main characters for any length of time. It doesn't matter if the story doesn't require us to check in with those characters, we simply have to do it because that's part of the rules of TV movies.

In the end, the idea of an exposed mineral deposit that turns the sharks into killers was killed by the production company. Toxic dumping was suggested as the method of choice they preferred. So it changed again.

Then parts of it changed during shooting. Certain actors refused to say certain lines. Certain casting choices meant entirely new scenes were shot that we had no part of. Scenes change, evolve, vanish. Effects screw ups mean that scare scenes are abandoned at the last minute, changing the entire reason certain characters exits. David and I wrote tons of scenes where the sharks were seen simply as fins cutting through the water toward victims. We figured, every Jaws movie had a least one cool big fin cutting through the water like a speedboat, so our movie should have a dozen of them! We wrote those scenes. You can read them for yourself. Unfortunately, the effects guys could not manage to put together one single friggin' fin cutting through the water! We wrote it, but it's not there in the final product. That changes what people see on screen. It changes the scenes themselves, not being able to make use of a damn fin in a damn shark movie! That's one of my biggest regrets. If the effects had been as cool as promised...

Scenes that were written to be satire were directed as straight as can be. Countless more things alter the final product. We lost our entire climax. Just cut. Money was gone. No more time. Go with what ya got.

Then, during editing and post-production, the script goes through another change. Literally, the very first scene in the movie Shark Swarm shows F Murray Abraham talking to a class of students about the danger of tampering with nature. That's the first scene in the movie, but the final scene in the script. Literally. Our script opened with the death of two fishermen. That was our opening stinger. We go from day to night in a short opening, they don't catch anything, we learn that fishing is drying up, night falls, they go below and get drunk, they feel something strange bumping against the side of the boat, they investigate and die. We've seen the footage. The entire day to night sequence was shot and given a rough edit. It looked great. Classic way to open a film like this. The actors were great. Total character actor pros. It was a fun, character driven stinger scene. The two drunk fishermen were written with a sense of honest humor about them. They were likable and colorful, so that when they died it almost mattered a little. We at least liked them. In the movie version of Shark Swarm, these two characters are shoehorned into the movie about an hour in, and their scene is shortened to just the night portion of the sequence. Basically, our opening stinger was cut in half, stuck in the wrong section of the movie where it makes no sense according to the narrative's time-table.

Then there are entire characters with arcs to them, who simply got cut for running time. My favorite side character was Brenda the bitchy barmaid. Almost all her stuff, all the nasty scenes between her and Daryl, got cut. She was a full extra villain in our script. She had a reason to be there. Not in the movie version she doesn't. And she's just one example, The list is long.

All of these things change the script. All of these things help explain what it is you're watching on screen. Don't get me wrong, however, in spite of it all, I like the movie. I'm very proud of it. It's big and has tons of sharks and boats racing across the water, and it moves at a pretty good clip. I'm proud that our first produced script was a three hour shark movie. That's just fucking cool to me.

Film is a collaboration. Duh. Everyone knows this. Well, so is professional screenwriting. It's collaborative in the same exact way as every other department on the project. When it comes to actually writing the words down on paper, dialog, descriptions, actions, all of it, the job is still left up to the writer. Aside from the brand new scenes the producers wrote and added for themselves, we were expected to do all the writing. It's our work. They paid us to do it for them, so they didn't rewrite anything for us. We came up with the bulk of the story, based on their wants and needs. The cool thing is, whatever we write down, they do. I mean, whatever we write. It's like magic. The power is kinda wild. We describe a certain kind of sign, or a certain kind of tool, or a particular type of location, then a crew of super-talented craftsman and artists get to work building the stuff into reality. It was such a blast being on that set and seeing it come to life.

The nice thing is, the producers were really good guys to work with/for. They listened to our ideas when we disagreed, they took our suggestions when we were right, and they treated us with total respect. They loved the final script. They told us so after they paid us for it. It pleased them to no end, so we knew we did our job as screenwriters, regardless of the actual finished product. We'd made our bosses happy. Job done. We've worked with them again since then. We knew that these kinds of changes and alterations and collaborations to the script would be part of the process, so we tried not to let it bug us. It's become an even easier part of the job since then.

There are plenty of scenes in the film that are exactly as we imagined them. Plenty of scenes that are line for line what we wrote. However, what we wrote was a product of many notes and decisions made by the producers, the cast, and the crew. There are scenes that are completely new to us. In the end, the whole thing belongs to the producers and the money men. They owned the title. They wanted a script. They made up their minds as we went along, based on tons of different variants. Chance played a role in what ended up on screen. We were hired to write a movie for them. We did that, while trying to make ourselves happy as much as possible. We always tried to keep the pace moving fast, to keep things happening, to keep it moving. We wrote it, according to notes, while trying to make ourselves laugh. We wrote it while hoping reviewers might get the basic idea that the whole thing was just supposed to be a fun killer shark TV miniseries, not something to rival Jaws.

Finally, until you've read the actual script (trust me, it exists as a finished document), structured the way we structured it, and until you understand how scripts like this one come to exist, it's difficult to answer the question "How much of it was your own?" with an answer that does it justice.

If you want to ask about specific scenes, we'll be happy to tell you how much of "ours" it is. Ask about any specific moments, or elements, or characters, or bits of business, and we'll try our best to explain how it ended up on screen.
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Didn't See It Coming
PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 11:30 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 20 Jun 2006
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First, thank you for taking my question seriously. All of your response is pretty much WHY I asked the question. David explained to me, a while back, some of the ups and downs of screenwriting for hire. I suppose that, yes, you did your job, but I imagine it can't be creatively fulfilling...Which sucks as an artist.

While you and I disagree often, I do actually respect that you have a very strong opinion and are knowledgable on screenwriting and storytelling so Shark Swarm was a bit baffling at times. Mostly because the story wasn't very good. I figured that a lot of what was on screen was what you were told to write so I didn't fault you guys. But man, that must be SO frustrating.

One part I NEED to ask about: When Daniel sends his first mate to get help while he remains on the boat, why was the first place that guy ran to the bar that Daniel's wife was in and how did he know she was there...Wouldn't it have made sense for him to call it in to the Coast Guard? The police?
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Messiahman
PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 5:30 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 21 Jun 2006
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Location: Hollywood

In our original draft, the radios were going wonky due to the magnetic anomaly in the ocean. In later drafts, they were affected by radiation put out by the toxin being pumped into the bay. Thus, no one could be called from the boat.

Clint knows where Daniel's wife is because she's there pretty much every night (it's the town's only watering hole). Also, we specifically wrote in that the Coast Guard was contacted and were on their way (surprise, that dialogue disappeared) but Kane's boat was nearer and faster.
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Ultimo Franco
PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 6:34 pm  Reply with quote



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Didn't See It Coming wrote:
I suppose that, yes, you did your job, but I imagine it can't be creatively fulfilling.

There's no need to suppose. We did our job. Our bosses said so. The people who commissioned the work said so. Then they paid us nicely to show that, yes, in fact, we had done our job. Actually, we did it years ago. And it was certainly creatively fulfilling. We were given the chance to create characters and stuff for them to do. Yes, there were a lot of parameters and rules to follow and notes to change things, but ultimately we spent a couple months dreaming up shark attacks and building a small town from scratch. We populated it, and then let sharks eat many of them. Almost 40, or so I've heard. I can work with rules. They're part of the job. I can work with notes. They're part of the job. The job remains the most fun I've had. I'm not talking Shark Swarm, I'm talking writing. It sure beats not writing!
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Didn't See It Coming
PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 12:52 am  Reply with quote



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Ultimo Franco wrote:
Didn't See It Coming wrote:
I suppose that, yes, you did your job, but I imagine it can't be creatively fulfilling.

There's no need to suppose. We did our job. Our bosses said so. The people who commissioned the work said so. Then they paid us nicely to show that, yes, in fact, we had done our job. Actually, we did it years ago. And it was certainly creatively fulfilling. We were given the chance to create characters and stuff for them to do. Yes, there were a lot of parameters and rules to follow and notes to change things, but ultimately we spent a couple months dreaming up shark attacks and building a small town from scratch. We populated it, and then let sharks eat many of them. Almost 40, or so I've heard. I can work with rules. They're part of the job. I can work with notes. They're part of the job. The job remains the most fun I've had. I'm not talking Shark Swarm, I'm talking writing. It sure beats not writing!

I get that...But you have a much better perspective on it than I do...As an outsider just trying to get into the business, I suppose I'll reach that perspective as well.
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Ultimo Franco
PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 1:16 am  Reply with quote



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DSIC, to answer your specific question about why we wrote it that Clint runs to the bar first instead of to the Coast Guard, it's because we decided that it made for a more dramatic scene to have Clint confront Daniel's entire family with the news than to have him call in the Coast Guard. Drama wins on TV.

Introducing the Coast Guard felt a little dry to me, anyway. Sure, it's the way the scene might play out in reality. But we're writing a movie. I know that sounds stupidly obvious, but sometimes you can forget it. Reality doesn't always work in movies, especially TV mini-series movies about killer sharks. Often times, reality just bogs them down needlessly. I wanted to avoid calling in the Coast Guard unless we were going to deal with them as real characters with a genuine dramatic purpose to the story. We weren't ready to do that. It wasn't part of the story we were telling. Plus, we wanted our characters to be as self-sufficient as possible. Calling in the authorities to save the day is kind of flat, dramatically speaking. I like to try to avoid that, until the end credits start rolling.

Writing the scene with Clint going to the bar first also gave us the chance to pay it off by having Kane be the one who offers to save Dan. It pays dramatically in a few different ways. It allows the characters to develop and change a little while they solve the problem of rescuing Dan. So we went with it. I think it plays fairly well. In the end, it fits basic "movie logic," in my opinion. It also allowed us to use an existing set instead of finding a new Coast Guard station for a thankless scene. It also allowed us to use our main actors, and not a non-character Coast Guard guy that we're never going to show again. There actually are reasons behind a lot of the choices. Some make sense, others don't.

When you're writing a mini-series, the scenes need to pop dramatically in a certain kind of way. Things need to happen to your characters all the time. Emotions need to fly. Confrontations need to be made. You need to increase the momentum. We were opting for a scene that paid off in a certain kind of way.

But, it's true, we could have solved it any number of ways. Ultimately, we had to pick one. David is correct when he said that in an early draft we addressed the fact that radios were acting strangely due to an exposed chunk of undersea magnetite. That was the main cause of all the shark trouble. It was uncovered by our main villain's illegal off shore drilling. That's how it started, then it eventually got changed to toxic waste dumping and the strange magnetite was written out of the script. I guess Clint not radioing ahead is a holdover from that earlier draft.

Personally, unless I'm writing something that's genuinely about the police, or the Coast Guard, or some other obvious authority organization, I prefer leaving them out if possible. To me, they often get in the way of the story. They fill in a kind of realism for some people, but I usually see them as scene killers. I want to deal with the story's main characters, not the various authorities assisting them.

Hitchcock demanded that his plots be air tight with no loose ends or missed opportunities. He didn't want people asking themselves, but why didn't so-and-so just call the _____ and end the scene right there? Me, I don't quite care about that as much. I tend not to ask those questions as an audience member, too. For me, air tight plots take a back seat to the drama of each scene. I'm not saying that I throw all reality out the window, I just choose to make use of the understood rules of "movie logic" that my ancestors found carved into a rock next to a burning bush many years ago.

She still has the scars to prove it. Hey hey hey!


Last edited by Ultimo Franco on Wed Jul 30, 2008 1:39 am; edited 1 time in total
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Didn't See It Coming
PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 1:39 am  Reply with quote



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Me, I'm more of the "air-tight" school of thought. Because I would want people to enjoy themselves rather than be taken out of the movie because they were thinking about things like "why didn't they just call the Coast Guard"?
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Messiahman
PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 1:56 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 21 Jun 2006
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Let's not forget that there was also a casting issue -- more cast equals more money that has to be spent, and the studio was constantly telling us to axe any characters who only had one or two lines, as they didn't want to pay extra cash for walk-ons (this was a very budget conscious production). This occurs in pretty much every production, in fact, so the people that speak, as well as what they say, has to serve the story in the grander scheme. It can get mighty tricky. So we don't get to write a Coast Guard guy who only has one line -- no big loss.

So we managed to write it off with radio interference and a mention from Brooke that the Coast Guard was on its way to tow the wrecked boat in, which of course didn't make it to the final version (although it's clear later that the boat was indeed towed into dry dock).

I'm somewhat of a different mind than Matt, wherein I tend to constantly look back over scenes and double-check the logic that fuels the dramatic scenes -- I was the one who suggested the radio problems, in fact. Matt's the kind of guy who will suddenly say "Okay, I want to have a lighthouse collapsing into the sea!" And then I immediately begin to question the how and why of such a scene while planning how to make it occur organically and logically. I'm the one constantly asking "why."

And then we both get a little miffed when the entire scene gets removed.

Of course, all this internal logic tends to get even sketchier when remaining scenes are juggled around and dialogue is axed.
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Ultimo Franco
PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 2:08 am  Reply with quote



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DSIC, I know where you're coming from. I've heard you address the same thing when it pops up in other movies. It's just a difference we have. Who knows, maybe it's why I love Fulci so much. Logic be damned! Give me drama!

For me, the authorities, be they police or Coast Guard or whoever, function in a way that's similar to the modern cell phone. You need to address it, in some way, I guess. Personally, as a writer, I hate having to bother with that thankless stuff. I've written detectives before, and cops too, but those were mysteries and action movies. They were kind of about cops and detectives.

I like stories that hold water. They don't need to be air tight for me to enjoy them. They just have to keep enough water in the damn bag to last until the end of the movie. However, I understand that things like that can take certain people right out of the film. As an audience member, I've always had a huge extension of disbelief. I usually roll my eyes when someone mentions stuff like that being a big problem for them. But I see how it can happen. I've also seen people seek out breaks in reality when they don't like a certain film, however. I'm NOT including you here, DSIC. Not in the case of Shark Swarm, at least.

If you look hard enough, and poke a story enough times, you can always find flaws. In the case of Shark Swarm, Dan needed to be rescued from a sinking boat. Ultimately, we rescued him from a sinking boat. We could have done it any number of ways. We could have played it as an entirely straight, by-the-numbers, search and rescue scene, like something out of that Kevin Costner Coast Guard movie The Guardian, but to what end? It's a movie, not real life. We just needed him rescued and wanted some drama out of it.

As David said, we also figured it this way: It's obviously a small town. The bar is right next to the dock. Virtually everyone in the bar must have boats. Clint felt he would find sufficient help in there. Besides, if you remember, before he left Dan alone on that sinking boat he promised to bring him back a warm beverage. Now, I ask you, where else was he going to find an Irish Coffee but the local bar?

Radios aside, it holds enough water for me.
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Didn't See It Coming
PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 4:28 am  Reply with quote



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I get the fact that a fishing town has a lot of folks with boats. It just seemed odd to me, as such, that the first person they would have called was the Coast Guard...Now, if it were me, or maybe you did do this and it got cut, I would have used your explanation for why the radio wouldn't work with a line of dialogue or a brief moment where he had Clint go and try the radio then go get help...Those minor details are enough...And I like the Fulci I've seen but I understand that his movies exist in their own lack of reality...Yours was more "realistic" so to speak so I go in there expecting the characters to use a common vernacular in the context of their location/situation...

Believe me, I wasn't looking for anything negative...I'm one of the more forgiving viewers as long as the film is entertaining...Please don't take it as such...I'm asking these questions so that I can learn...Not very many people have the opportunity to talk with working screen-writers and get their inside knowledge. So again, I appreciate you taking my questions seriously.

And there is one MAJORLY stupid moment in the film that had absolutely nothing with you but much rather with the director for terrible staging...

When the bad girl (I suck at names so please forgive me) falls in the water and she's trying to climb into the boat...Her friggin' hand is RIGHT NEXT TO THE LADDER...I was laughing out loud at that moment.
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Ultimo Franco
PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 5:08 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 20 Jun 2006
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I have more interest in telling a realistic story than Fulci did in his horror classics. I was just using him as an easy example of a director who is the total opposite of Hitchcock when it comes to plotting.

Here's the thing. You can rack your brains trying to tie up everything perfectly air-tight, and then in editing the entire story gets taken apart again and rebuilt, often from the ground up. There goes all your hard work making things air-tight. I'd rather write scenes that move the audience right past those annoying little reality errors, that are cool enough on their own to warrant a little stretching of reality.

I guess I feel that most audiences aren't going to remember Shark Swarm because the characters did things exactly the way they would have in real life. If they remember it for anything, it's going to be for the crazier set-pieces, like the baptism sequence, the terrorized little girl being put in danger over and over again, the near constant shark attacks, the mixed species of sharks, the overall feel of the town, those over-the-top pulse guns, the shark cage, that scene during the credits which takes place inside the brain of one of the mutant sharks, the old guy getting his hand bit off... all that kind of stuff. That's what, ultimately, I think most people take away from a movie like Shark Swarm. It succeeds or fails depending upon how many cool ideas and scenes it contains, not how air-tight it is. IMHO.

Maybe for features I'll have to completely change my tune. That's what I'm expecting. But for now, writing larger than life TV movies, I'm spending more of my time asking "Wouldn't it be cool if..."

By the way, that female villain you mentioned who falls into the water (her name was Tia), had a much messier death in our actual script. In our script, Daryl doesn't just hit her with a bucket and knock her overboard, she tosses an entire bucket of chum at her, covering her from head to toe in bloody fish guts, before kicking her over the side where her legs are promptly bitten off as Kane tries in vain to pull her out. Who knows, maybe the actress said no fucking way are you throwing chum, even fake chum, all over me. Maybe the producers or the director didn't get why that would be a cool way for her to die and so they cut it. It's just another in a long list of examples of things we wrote that didn't make it to the screen.

The stuff that happened on Shark Swarm is common. If anything, we were lucky that enough of our stuff made it onto the screen intact. Like I said, personally, I like the movie. I think it's kind of entertaining. I think the effects needed a total overhaul, we needed fucking fins, we should have had more blood on screen, the producers shouldn't have tossed in so many scenes of scuba divers being eaten. Imagine writing a movie, and suddenly it's full of unexplained scuba divers when you see it on screen. Weird stuff. I think Daryl sucked and phoned it in. I think Brenda was a fun character you never got to really meet.

I think our shark autopsy scene, as written in the script, would have been the coolest thing in the movie if the fake shark they spent so much time, money, and energy in fabricating, hadn't looked so bad that you'll notice they never show the damn thing in the scene. We received specific instructions from the director to make the shark autopsy scene even gorier. That's what he said. Make it grosser. So we had them poking around in the mutated, still twitching shark brain. We had them inserting electric probes into it's brain to run sci-fi tests. We had them shoot the dead shark with a pulse gun just to see if it had any residual effect. Then we had the shark start twitching violently on the slab, as though it had suddenly come to life. Then we had its brain melt in a mess of smoke and organic blood-sparks. It's written in the script. You can read it yourself. Now compare that autopsy scene with the one that made it to screen. If you have the DVD, check out how little you see of the shark in that scene. That scene, as written, was going to be a highlight in the movie. There's barely anything there now.

Oh yea, and get this! The actress in the autopsy scene, although I really like her performance and find her totally charming on screen and off, couldn't get the scientific dialog to come out of her mouth. She couldn't say the words. Clearly, she's no Gillian Anderson when it comes to delivering techno-speak. I guess it's harder than it looks. But it's too bad, because we researched the autopsy scene more than any of the others, and in the end the actress just couldn't speak the dialog we wrote and ended up simply saying "Did it's brain look weird to you?" That was the solution they came up with on their own. Maybe if the writer was paid to be on set like the rest of the crew, alternate solutions could be made, one's that don't totally suck.

Think about some of this the next time you tear apart a screenwriter for the movie on screen. Or just feel free to hate them and call them hacks. I'm not making excuses, I'm just telling you what I've personally experienced. Take it for what you will.

Ask about anything in the movie, or missing from the movie. I'll be happy to explain how/why it ended up there, if I can.

Personally, I can't wait until more people see Ring Of Death when it hits Spike and unrated DVD. Formerly Death Match, it's my favorite so far. I'm really curious to hear what fight movie fans have to say about it. Consider that a plug.
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What The Cat Dragged In
PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 7:22 am  Reply with quote



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Hey guys, I put this film in my Netflix que. I go through the movies rather slowly because of work, so I probably won't get to it too quickly. This is more of a heads-up that I'm in line for a viewing.

I'm really looking forward to it.
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Ultimo Franco
PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 7:32 am  Reply with quote



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Thanks for watching it, Cat! Let us know what you think, good, bad, or indifferent.
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Ultimo Franco
PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 7:59 am  Reply with quote



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I seem to remember...

Didn't See It Coming wrote:
I know you're a writer and you feel it your duty to protect your peers.

Messiahman wrote:
Oh fucking please – I don’t even know these guys.


It's like if someone trashed singers in hardcore bands...I would feel the need to defend them...It's your creative instinct to want to protect your peers...I'm being serious....You can be annoyed, but I'm not talking out of my ass...

Messiahman wrote:
Newsflash: assignment writers don’t just get to write anything they want. They sit in countless 8-10 hour meetings with dozens of suits, all of whom have their own ideas, and then work with them to beat out an outline. Once they turn in the outline, they get copious sets of notes that they have to follow. Eventually, they use the notes and the outline to create a treatment, which they turn in only to receive more notes and take more meetings. They do another treatment, and then another – in the case of F VS. J, these guys worked in the development phase of that single treatment for MONTHS, thanks to the studio. Then they eventually move to the first draft, at which point the notes process begins all over again. (and the notes process is KILLING the film industry, but that's another rant entirely).

F VS. J went through twelve fucking drafts on that script alone (not counting the many other scripts that were commissioned over the years). It had a million hands on it, and these two guys were hanging on and doing exactly what they were told. Why blame them for following the orders of the producers and director? Why blame them for ultimately delivering the draft that the fucking producers WANTED?? If they didn't deliver what was mandated, they'd have gotten fired, and more writers would've been called in by New Line to do the exact same thing.

Sorry for them...Seriously, that sucks, but their name is attached to the script at the end of the day...This isn't news to me...I'm aware of the note process and I understand that people want to get paid so they do what they have to...But do you think because they were forced by the stupio to write crap that I should be ok with them potentially doing another bad script because of the same process?

Messiahman wrote:
Calling them “douchebags” for doing so only makes you sound naïve.

Sorry, but I don't want to call them, "Nice possibly good writers whose names are attached to a terrible script and movie"...

Messiahman wrote:
I explained to you then as now why this thinking is entirely wrongheaded. If you refuse to listen to logic and facts, there’s nothing I can do for you.

I really hope that you one day get out here and get to do some studio meetings just so I can look forward to that apologetic message that begins with "Dude, you were so right..."

I'm not saying you aren't right about the meetings...Man, why is this so hard for you to get...You're being really defensive...I'm saying that despite all the reasons/excuses for the final script sucking, their names are on it...And it sucks...So they have the unfortunate distinction of being the douchebags that wrote Freddy vs. Jason.

Thoughts?

Keep in mind, this could easily be you on the other side of the writers' table, one day soon if you're good enough and lucky enough to break in somehow. I'm pulling for you. Hell, I'm sharing my own professional experience with you, aren't I.

Isn't this part of your future goal? Working professionally. That's an awesome and totally achievable goal. How might you feel, do you think, if you were the one on the other side? Would you try to at least explain the differences between the original idea you came up with, the various treatments, the numerous finished drafts, the changes during shooting, and the changes during editing. Would you smile at being called a "douchebag" for doing your job to your bosses exact specifications? Would explaining the truth of how it all works be defensive or merely instructive?

I've heard you often take the writer to task in some vicious ways when you have little or no idea of the particulars that made what you saw end up on screen. It's just this desperate cry of "but their name is on the credits" as an excuse. Of course, this is not to say there aren't sucky writers. Hell, there are tons upon tons of them. But it's not always as cut and dry, or as black and white as you might like it to be in order to make yourself feel validated in calling someone a douchebag and defending it to the best of your abilities. I think you felt the same way about Adam and Jace, too, if I remember correctly.

Just saying... Wink

Here comes the part where you call me a tool again, right? Just a reminder, this time keep my mom out of it, please. She's not the cum receptacle you once referred to her as. She's a cool lady. I know you graciously apologized for that little slip of the tongue, but my sensitive soul is still a bit wounded.
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