hyperion: the movie?

Holy Crap.

Hyperion - by Dan Simmons
Hyperion - by Dan Simmons

I guess this isn’t news… this project has been in the works for years, it turns out. But somehow it wasn’t on my radar.

The Hyperion Cantos, one of the most amazing, brilliant, Literary works of science fiction known to mankind, is being adapted to film by Warner Brothers.

Hyperion Hyperbole, you say? I think not. Hyperion investigates issues of humanity and society alongside the best of Gibson, but without the (sometimes) overly conscious punk edge that can make classic cyberpunk “too uber-cool for school”.

It creates mysterious worlds, frightening mythologies and psychological challenges for its characters, and its readers, like very little else.

It is far and away more Literary in the most fundamental sense than any of the fetishism of scientific specificity that mires the Clarkes and Asimovs and yes, occasionally, even the Heinleins of Golden Age scifi.

And its foundation in classical Literature (Hyperion is clearly modeled on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales) makes it all the more rich for those with an awareness and appreciation for it (and merely having a character quote Shakespeare from time to time – hello, ST:TNG – is not the same thing).

The Hyperion Cantos is easily on par with such watershed works of scifi as Herbert’s Dune (which has yet to have a proper theatrical interpretation, though I liked the miniseries just fine), or Card’s Ender series (which is also in development with Warner Brothers)… and in many ways, most clearly stylistically, it surpasses them. And while a few scifi films have been based on the works of P.K. Dick – one of them even good (Bladerunner) – Dick’s books have dubious Literary value at best but rather are merely good ideas poorly executed.

The trick is, in the end, Hyperion is a fractured travelogue, a collection of campfire tales shared by a group of travelers quietly working their way across a dangerous planet as a war rages in space above them. The stories are intense, and fantastic, and heart wrenching, and personal. And the war, for the most part, remains in the sky as an occasional light show, reminding the group of the importance of their mission. The book has very little to do with the 3-D trickery, unfolding automotive robots and blood-thirsty aliens of typical contemporary Hollywood scifi.

But it’s this unique, sensitive, artful brilliance that will make the film profound and timeless, so long as the source is respected.

It’s being adapted by Trevor Sands, whose work I’m unfamiliar with but who seems to have written exactly one produced short and one produced feature (note to self: get feature produced).

I would love to see this done right. I’d love to see something like The Cell meets Bladerunner meets Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Please. Please do this one right. For me.

write club screenplay challenge

WriteClub_squareThere’s a new blog in town… Write Club Screenplay Challenge is a simple little blog that sets up mini-challenges for screenwriters. It’s like one of those 48-hour filmmaker’s challenges, but you don’t have to make a whole movie. You just have to write it.

The site is designed to offer motivation to get writers to write; it allows for socializing with, and feedback from, your peers; and it’s good fun.

Write Club was inspired by the John August website. Although John is a busy busy man, he occasionally finds time to offer his blog readers a “scene challenge” — wherein John sets up parameters, and invites readers to post “entries”. Similarly, Write Club will set up new challenges, with professional “referees” who will not only define the challenges, but judge the results, choosing a winner and a few close seconds.

THE FIRST CHALLENGE has been posted today, September 1st 2009.

This should be good fun. Pass the word around…

ron jeremy's one eyed monster

In a darkly comic homage to “Alien” and “The Thing”, the cast and crew of an adult film, stranded in a blizzard, must band together against a mysterious and deadly alien, which has possessed the actor with the biggest part–Ron Jeremy (naturally). Now, with the monster on a killing spree, the race is on to trap and destroy it before there are more victims of its peculiar skills.

Starring Amber Benson (“Buffy The Vampire Slayer”), Charles Napier (“Silence of the Lambs”, “Rambo”) and introducing Ron Jeremy

For more info and other goodies, go to:

http://www.oneeyedmonstermovie.com

Why do I want to see this? It’s the kind of project that elicits a cascade of reactions:

  • Why didn’t I think of that?
  • That’s a title and logline that sells itself.
  • Hey, the production value is pretty good!
  • You could write this with a fictional porn star, and hope you get Ron Jeremy. He’d only have to show up for one or two days.
  • I wonder if they pulled it off (pun intended).

It’s got me intrigued. It can’t be any worse/sillier/campier than Slither right?

coen brothers "a serious man" trailer and script

The trailer for the Coen Brothers new film “A Serious Man” has been released…

and the script is available at their site (pdf).

God I love these guys. Big, sloppy fawning unmitigated man-love these guys.

When you look at a list of their projects — Blood Simple, Raising Arizona, Barton Fink, Miller’s Crossing, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, O Brother Where Art Thou?, No Country for Old Men, and Burn After Reading (and that’s not all of them) — it’s just stunning. I mean holy shit. They’re not just good movies. They’re not just really good movies. They’re experimental, brave, complicated, unique, and varied. They’re almost all brilliant in some aspect of the word, and certainly none are “average”.

My writing partner and I had a conversation many years ago, that went something like “Would you rather be Isaac Asimov and write 200 or more mediocre books, or Kurt Vonnegut, and write far fewer really amazing and challenging books?”

We both answered “Vonnegut” (and that answer of course assumes you’re capable of writing like Vonnegut).

The Coen Brothers are my screenwriting Vonneguts. They’ve got the goods. They are what I aspire to be. Just once.

</mancrush>

grampa: prodco request

grampa was a superhero movie posterYup, it’s true.

We’ve already got one script being considered by a reputable production company. Now we”ve got two irons in the fire.

Grampa Was A Superhero is being looked at by a production company in the Midwest… East… Southeast… Hell, I don’t know. Where’s Tennessee?

Anyway, the producer has a string of recognizable titles with a string of recognizable talents and a string of partnerships with a bushel of recognizable networks and… well, you get the idea.

Interestingly, this inquiry came to us mere hours after tweaking the logline and synopsis ever so slightly on InkTip. Correlation is not causation, but it makes one wonder. Hmmm. (That’s me, wondering.)

All the same caveats apply here as they do for the Faeries connection. No chicken counting prior to hatching. Likely as not nothing comes of it. But it’s the momentum that counts… nothing makes you more confident than knowing someone thought enough of your logline or synopsis to say “Sure, I’ll read that.”

Well, maybe a check.

But other than that, nothing.

I’m highly confident that one day soon we’ll look back at our naive excitement here and think “Ah, yes, those were the days, when a mere considerate nod from a mid-size prodco would make us swoon!”

But until then, I’ll take my jollies where I can, and savor the slightest attention.

Everyone who cares at all about us, cross your fingers. And tell a friend.

And join us on Facebook! Faeries page, Grampa page, Rocket Summer page.

enigma – low budget indie sci fi

EnigmaPoster

FOLLOW UP: I’ve seen the movie. Here’s my review.

Stumbled across this series of clips today from the low budget sci-fi actioner “Enigma” from The Shumway Brothers* and Frontier Studios. Continue reading enigma – low budget indie sci fi

ucla film video interview series on youtube

Very cool series of vids on YouTube from UCLA’s film school. Interviews with producers, directors, agents on how to pitch, what you get out of film school, and more… all good stuff, and always great to get it form the horse’s mouth.

Here’s their YOUTUBE CHANNEL.

yard sale – short film, one shot

I was directed to this film by somebody on IndieClub. I believe it’s the result of one of those 24 or 48 hour film challenges.

Now it’s not long on story (it’s essentially dependent on a twisty), but it is long on good performance, production value and creativity. NOTE that the whole film is one continuous shot. Given how shitty so most indie films are, how shitty most shorts are, and how shitty most “film challenge” films are, I thought this was well worth sharing.

Color me impressed.

Here’s a better rez version on 48.tv.

robo geisha

Just thought this was awesome(ly hilarious).

Tarantino, eat yer heart out. This is what you wanted Kill Bill to be!

  • Not quite certain why the buildings bleed.
  • Does the machine girl have a dildo on her nose?
  • Interesting to see that the word “transform” hasn’t been trademarked by Michael Bay.
  • Also interesting that boob guns haven’t been trademarked by Mike Myers.
  • Chainsaw face and machine girl reveal by the folks who brought you Total Recall.

Oh! And here’s the website! Not much there though…

Faeries: prodco request

faeries-posterA minor new development in the ongoing story of our feature horror script “Faeries“.

Thanks to a lead from InkTip, the logline and synopsis were submitted to a Canadian production company with some solid success in the creature feature genre. They’ve asked to read the script, which in our book is a success. Obviously no decision has been made (we’ll post when we have a reply) but here’s why it’s already a success:

Previously on InkTip, we had posted our other feature script “Grampa Was A Superhero“. The script has been available through the site for nearly a year, and the logline has been reviewed over a hundred times. More than 10 percent of those viewers have clicked on through to the synopsis (a conversion rate we sense is good, but plan on talking with InkTip to learn more). Of those, one prodco (Ice Cube’s “Cube Vision Productions” of Are We There Yet fame) has viewed the entire script but apparently chosen to pass. So it’s still available, if you’re looking for a fun family comedy road movie (Home Alone meets Wild Hogs).

Similarly, Rocket Summer has had some success, being optioned for a total of two years (it’s now available again if anybody needs a great coming-of-age story in the vein of Stand By Me, October Sky and Breaking Away). But its conversion rate on InkTip was poor.

We see the request for Faeries as a success not because we expect a sale or option to come out of it (that would be great though – written in 125 hours, optioned within a month of completion… great ROI) but because it shows that this logline and synopsis are working for us better than those for the other scripts. Sure, it could mean a lot of other things too, like Faeries is simply a more commercial, genre specific project (true) with a simpler hook and more straightforward storyline (also true). But we’re definitely motivated to refine the synopses and loglines for the other scripts in short order, as we’re learning more and more every day.