Film NoiARRRRR excerpt

Yo Ho

NoiARRRRR, my film noir/pirate/buddy cop mashup film, has hit a snag: I’ve been too busy with this semester to plan out the entire thing, and it needs to be filmed by the end of this month. There’s not much time. It’s looking likely that I’ll have to rewrite the thing into a spoof trailer, rather than an actual film, and try to get that shot.

Regardless, I figured it couldn’t hurt to give you the first scene. Here’s the excerpt.

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List of possible titles for a sequel to my action hero poets film Poetic Justice

poetic justice

Poetic Justice II: Trouble at the Home Font

Poetic Justice II: Inde-font-sible

Poetic Justice II: The Sansof Time

Poetic Justice II: There’s a new Serif in Town.

Poetic Justice II: Courier New? I barely know her gnu!

Poetic Justice II: Apostrophe Catastrophe

Poetic Justice II: Punch-uation

Poetic Justice II: Badassonance

Poetic Justice II: The Last Stanza

Poetic Justice II: Take A Stanza

Poetic Justice II: Rhyme Harder

Poetic Justice II: Mora Kombat

Poetic Justice II: Quintain of Solace

Poetic Justice II: Esprit de l’escalier

Poetic Justice II: While the Irony’s Hot

Poetic Justice II: Heroic Couplet

Poetic Justice II: Stand For What’s Write

Poetic Justice II: The Metaphrast And The Furious.

Merchant of Venice: The College Years

Ideally, all these actors would be in my adaptation, and it would be filmed in 2000.

Ideally, all these actors would be in my adaptation, and it would be filmed in 2000.

“Cut us, we bleed. Tickle us, we laugh. Screw us over, and we’ll screw you over!”

~Shy, My Adaptation

I was bored in Shakespeare class yesterday and outlined a modern-day adaptation of one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, The Merchant of Venice, as set in a college environment. Shakespeare-inspired teen comedies were turned into a fun subgenre back in the late 90s-early 00s, but I don’t think anyone has attempted a version of the play that centers around one guy trying to chop a pound of flesh out of another. The play just doesn’t work well for adaptation. Which is what makes it fun to attempt.

Dramatis Personae:

Tony – The popular, friendly, good-guy jock senior.

“Shy” – A bitter nerdy senior. Nicknamed for his quiet demeanor.

Bill – Tony’s best friend, who has just transferred from another college.

Portia – A smart, driven pre-law student. She’s looking for love, but disillusioned by the self-serving guys within her major.

Jessica – Shy’s freshman sister.

Lorenzo – A dweeby freshmen. Often teased for having a name out of Shakespeare or something.

Plot:

Shy works at the registrar’s desk, overseeing the fraternities on campus. He harbors a deep grudge against Tony, whose frat voted to keep him out back in their freshman year. When Tony comes to him to get Bill into the fraternity at short notice, Shy sees his moment for revenge: he cuts a deal. Bill’s in the fraternity, but if he can’t keep his grades up high enough to stay in, Tony must give Shy his Facebook and LinkedIn passwords — career suicide.

A sub-plot follows Bill’s romance with Portia after he wins a date with her in a contest during Greek Week. He’s the least materialistic, so she picks him. Also, Jessica starts dating Lorenzo, much to Shy’s dismay.

In the end, Bill’s grades tank, and unless he aces his last final, Tony’s career will go down in flames before it has started. Tony must appeal to the student fraternity board, where Portia masquerades as a frat member in order to qualify to defend Tony. Shy is defeated. Everyone else lives happily ever after.

I have a few loose ends to figure out… like how Portia stops Shy, or how the plots can tie together better than they do in the source material. Or how to deal with the extra ring subplot from the original play. I still need a good title. Also, I might give Shy a love interest so that it’s not a totally downer ending for him.

But, perhaps most importantly, this adaptation sets up a nice mirror of the original’s line about Shylock wanting a pound of flesh in order to bait fishhooks:

“What do you want his linkedin password for, anyway?”

“To bait phishers with.”

Film review: The Cable Guy

Cable guy

Jim Carrey stars as a creepy cable guy who wastes no time in stalking Matthew Broderick and ruining his life. It’s a 90’s comedy — it takes a simple concept and plays it straight, focusing on the crazy antics and throwing in extra weird stuff, like a medieval-themed restaurant. The two stars are both likable and fun to watch, and they’re supported with a lot of other fun actors (Andy Dick and Owen Wilson are great, although Jack Black isn’t given anything to work with).

The film, however, was a critical flop.

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Friendship in Buddy Cop Movies

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Buddy Cop film genre, as you may have noticed on this blog. While attempting to script my own version of one, I realized that I needed to understand the typical structure of a Buddy Cop friendship, in order to make sure my film hit the right beats. This chart was the result.

It's a roller coaster.

Fun fact: romantic comedies follow the exact same chart.

Why You’re Creative: Be a Sports Commentator

sports to commentate on

“The ball appears to have stopped directly in front of the pins. There’s no movement at all. Still nothing. Nothing. Nothing… hey, wait a second. Is this a still? It’s a still shot! What’s with this screen?!”

To be creative, you need to emulate the sports commentator. Why? Here’s Gene Perret, a comedy writer since the 1960s, on the subject:

“I’ve always been fascinated in watching sports on television at how sharp-eyed some of the commentators are. When I watch bowling, I just see the pins “explode.” The commentator, though, tells you exactly where each pin went. When I watch diving, I don’t know how many turns and spins that diver took. My eye can’t follow it. But the commentators know.

It’s not that their eyes are sharper and quicker; it’s just that they know what to look for, how to look for it, and where to look. They’re tuned in to that sport.”

Gene was talking about the importance of tuning in to comedy in order to write it, but the same principle applies to creativity in general. After all, comedy is about creativity: you need to catch the audience off-guard in order to surprise them into laughing, and unexpected connections are the mainstay of creativity.  Don’t worry about your quality at first, because it’ll be terrible. But the more you focus on making connections, the better you’ll get at it.

Making an un-cliched Buddy Cop film

It’s impossible.

I’m currently in the process of writing a 13-minute buddy cop genre mashup that includes film noir and pirate movies. I’m trying to make it as original as possible, but I’ve found that buddy cop films are one of the worst genres to attempt “original” with. They were immensely popular during the 80s and 90s, and they’ve since been through countless iterations — they became more jokey, more self-referential, and started playing around with the genre by creating  the science fiction version, the extreme sports version, the explosions version, and many, many homages. There was even one about buddy cop germs living inside Bill Murray.

osmosis-jones-1024x576

Bill Murray is so awesome, just one of his cells can headline a film.

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