Sunday, March 02, 2008

The Road to Divorce

Haitian Divorce is the fifth feature-length screenplay I have written and the first one that I consider close-to-good.

I listen to the Creative Screenwriting podcast and in almost all of them, the screenwriters say, "This was my fifteenth screenplay. None of them were produced until now."

"Will you ever make your old scripts available online?"

"No. They're all crap."

"Aw, come on. I'm sure they aren't all that bad."

"Yes. Yes, they are."

Before I actually wrote a screenplay, I was all on the side of the journalist. If there isn't a chance of the screenplay getting produced, then what is the harm in posting it online? People (like me) love downloading and reading screenplays. Adding more to the stack wouldn't really hurt.

Then I wrote a bad screenplay. And another. And another.

I like the concept of white out. I like totally obliterating what has gone before when I don't like it. But if you've ever actually used white out, you know that it doesn't really hide your mistakes, but instead makes them all the more obvious thanks to the huge chunks of white goo surrounding them.

So, instead of pretending the Haitian Divorce is my first screenplay and it magically turned out to be sort of good (or, at least, not-all-that-bad), I will devote the rest of this blog entry to the big pile o' crap that has gone on before.

The four previous feature-length screenplays penned by myself are as follows:

Comicon Pimps - This was my first screenplay. I tried to be both funny and geeky and it didn't come out all that right. Basically, it was about a pimp contest at a comic book convention. Pimpin' ain't easy, especially when the potential clients would rather have a Star Trek Collector's plate instead of the company of a good woman dressed up as Catwoman.

It was pretty much a one-joke premise. I cut out all the filler and rewrote this feature-length monster (about 100 pages) as a four-page short film script. It is much better that way, and, in a way, oddly similar to the movie Gyuss Baaltar posted on his blog the other day, although (in my opinion) my script is a little bit funnier. It is filled with all sorts of pottymouth language, so I don't recommend it for anyone too young to be impressionable and too old to disapprove of my childish actions.

Zombie Prom Queen - I have new respect for the Troma Film guys. I tried to write a Troma-esque film and failed. Miserably. And, to add insult to injury, after I finished it, I found out that there was a short film named Zombie Prom already out there.

Hell Breaks Loose - Demons terrorize a small West Texas town. But they're in the fight for their lives, because everyone in West Texas is armed. Yeah. You heard me.

Scablickers - I wrote this one for the Slamdance Horror Screenplay Contest. This one is another horror film that involves a lot of people licking each other's scabs. And, no, it is not very good, unless, of course, you are into that sort of thing. I thought maybe David Cronenberg would like it.

So now you know why I don't share all of them. The next batch is going to be better, I promise. For one thing, I think I have the whole "cheap horror film" thing out of my system. I'll talk a little about the current batch of creative projects tomorrow.


Gyuss Baaltar said...

My kid brother spends all his days and nights locked in my Grandmother's spare bedroom trying to craft screenplays.

He had one optioned and they went as far as making a fake trailer for the film to shop around to studios and was really scary.

Now I wonder if his screenplays are giving me new insight into what's going on in his head.

What are your screenplays saying about you?

M. Robert Turnage said...

These screenplays say that 1) I watched too many horror films as a young man, and 2) being creative when stranded in an airport means a lot of anger goes into your projects.

Cyber D said...

I like the idea of Hell Breaks Loose... did I read it right that the demons are the protaganists in your work and the townsfolk are the villians, sort of a flip-flop of your typical zombie flick where everyone in town is a zombie. In this case everyone in town is a terrifying right-wing gun-wielding baptist fanatic out to gun down two loveable demons who were just looking to make friends.

M. Robert Turnage said...

I considered going that route, but isn't that already the plot of Romy and Michele's High School Reunion?

Gyuss Baaltar said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought that was a horror movie.

Cyber D said...

touche roberto... touche