Showing posts from May, 2014


Every summer, the movie studios release what they call "tentpole" movies. Normally, these are big-budget, effects-driven franchise movies, designed to prop up the studios and make them their profits for the year. I call them programmed franchises because they're not acquired with one movie in mind. The philosophy from the start is to produce at least a trilogy. So much money is invested in these movies that failure can cripple a studio. Trivia Blast!! - New Line Cinema had to merge with its parent company Warner Bros after the (relative) failure of  The Golden Compass:   Budget: $180M  Box Office: $70M ( The Golden Compass  was intended to follow the trilogy of His Dark Materials books by Phillip Pullman) Jaws   Stephen Spielberg is sometimes credited with creating the first summer "Blockbuster" movie with  Jaws .  Jaws  was the first movie to be distributed with a "wide release," meaning that it opened all across the cou

Milking The Movie Cash Cow

In recent years, yearning for a bigger slice of the money pie, movie studios have poured more resources into fewer films. Trivia Blast! - In 2012, 135 films made up 95% of the total Box Office in the United States. So, despite a huge increase in accessibility for fans (more theaters, online vendors), fear of losing profit dictates the movie slate and opportunities are dwindling to get an original idea made into a movie. Franchises Franchises are nothing new. When a studio hits on a money-making idea, they are not shy about green-lighting a sequel almost immediately. Generally, there are two types of franchise: "programmed" and "opportunistic". A programmed franchise example would be Harry Potter - a successful line of books purchased with the intent to make the entire series. Of course, if the first of these movies tanks, or even if it struggles later in the series, the franchise can be quietly buried and forgotten. (see: John Carter or The Lone Ranger)

Hold the mirror up to nature.

" hold as 'twere the mirror up to nature: to show virtue her feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure." - Hamlet Act 3, Scene 2 Why am I quoting Shakespeare? Well, I think as writers we would be remiss if we didn't take every opportunity to hold our mirror up to nature. Our characters should not only reflect aspects of our own inner lives, but readers should be able to look and see something of themselves in them too. Writers must weave their tales with effective literary devices: metaphor, simile, allegory, analogy, imagery, and mood, painting a picture with depth. And even when the stories are set in distant futures or long forgotten pasts, the reflection in the mirror is something the reader recognizes instantly.  Recently, I read “The Forever War” by Joe Haldeman. A classic of sci-fi storytelling, it follows one soldier’s journey from the first battle of a long war, all the way to the last.