(aka: Percy Jackson: The Story Thief)
“Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Lightning Thief” – a review about mismanaging story
*** NOTE: Spoilers galore. ***
I am not one of those “the movie is never as good as the book” guys. Ever read Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (the source material for Blade Runner)? You couldn’t help but make a better movie than book, as the book is laughably bad. And Blade Runner is one of my all time favorite films.
And I’m not in love with Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief as a book. It’s engaging enough, and full of big ideas, but somewhat lacking in story structure.
So why am I so struck by the failure of Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief the movie?
I think, the more I ruminate on it, it’s because the mistakes seem so rooted in fundamental story issues, and seem to favor the weaknesses of the book over its strengths.
IF YOU DON’T KNOW THE BOOK *** spoilers ***
Got an offer to option your screenplay? Here are eleven terms you should know when talking to your attorney.
[See PART I – 10 things to think about when optioning your screenplay]
Okay, so you’ve gotten an option offer, you’ve thought about the 10 things, and you still want to do it. Now it’s time to talk to your attorney, and make some decisions about the negotiation points. Your attorney is going to toss some notes back to you for consideration, and chances are these things are going to be included. (There’ll be lots more than this… from simple typos to wholesale rewrites. But these are the top contenders for “things I think you should know”.)
Ask your attorney to spend some time with you to explain what they mean in the context of your deal… but here’s my take, based on my experience.
DISCLAIMER: I shouldn’t have to say this, but: I Am Not A Lawyer, I am not offering legal advice, and none of the numbers used as examples here should be considered recommendations or as examples of my personal previous contracts (which are none of your beeswax 😉 ). They are provided as hypothetical examples only. Talk to your own attorney about your particular deal.
What does it mean to have your screenplay optioned?
A producer wants to option your script. Should you do it? What are the considerations? Here’s one guy’s opinion.
Part I of II [Click for Part II: Eleven More Things To Think About When Negotiating Your Screenplay Option]
Now that I’ve been through the option gauntlet a couple of times, I get asked about the experience and the process. It’s a little humbling, cuz I’m just a lucky guy with one indie sale and a few indie options, but I know how much I appreciate when I stumble across some good first-hand info, and figured it would be a good idea to share what I know. So I thought I’d gather my notes together here, in the hopes that it’ll prove useful to others. This is no substitute for having an attorney, mind you… more on that later. But I wish I’d had this list.
[Become a fan of Grampa Was A Superhero on FACEBOOK]
Writing duo’s family friendly spec script lands option deal with Epiphany Productions.
Santa Cruz, CA – January 31, 2010
Chip Street and Sean Meehan have had unlikely good fortune in their short spec-screenplay writing careers. In an industry where newcomers are told that it’ll take 10 years of writing 20 lousy screenplays to finally get it right and earn any recognition, they’ve beaten the odds three for three.
Their most recent success? The family friendly screenplay Grampa Was A Superhero has been optioned by Mitchell Galin at Epiphany Productions. The story centers on 12-year-old Jesse and his Grampa, who thinks he’s a TV super hero. The elder drags his grandson on a cross-country road trip to confront his imaginary arch enemy… accidentally thwarting crimes along the way and fast becoming a folk hero.
It’s official… Miss Julie Brown is attached to the Rocket Summer project in the role of Mercy!
Rocket Summer is great, I love it and would love to be in it!
– Julie Brown
Julie and I worked together a few years ago on the film Fat Rose and Squeaky (where I was Art Director), and I couldn’t be happier to have her involved with RS.
For those of you living under a rock:
The following is excerpted from my Paranormal Activity review… it’s a portion of the post that I find myself referring to and wanted the passage in its own post for reference.
THE LIMITATIONS OF AUTO-CHRONICLING
The “auto-chronicled narrative conceit” has its innate issues. It creates a single camera situation shooting in real time (Blair Witch circumvented this by having two cameras available, but didn’t really leverage it), with one character nearly always off screen, that does away with (or severely hampers) all the established film vocabulary tools… the wides, the two-shots, the over-the-shoulders, the singles, the cutaways, the inserts. All the film tricks that directors and editors use to subconsciously establish relationships between characters, to control tension and mood in dialogue exchanges, to communicate unspoken subtext, to control and structure our experience of the story into a narrative that works, are suddenly wildly restricted if not impossible to leverage.
Let’s get the news out of the way right off the bat: Faeries did not bring home an award in the screenplay competition. But the good news is, the grapevine tells us that we were a very close runner up, and an unofficial judge ‘s favorite for commercial appeal and shootability. Moreover, we walked away with two producers interested in reading the script, and one well-respected studio reader itching to rep it to a few prodcos. So we’re still chuggin’ along.
But we did make it to Hollywood for the Shriekfest Festival, and win or lose, what a gas! Founder and fest director Denise Gossett, her most excellent husband and a bevy of dedicated volunteers put on a really fun, intimate, quality fest on the grounds of Raleigh Studios. Denise is a certified Scream Queen in her own right whose next project, the horror comedy Crustacean, is already in post-production.
A History of Violence screenwriter Josh Olson seems kinda pissed.
Apparently he gets asked to read a lot of scripts.
Apparently most of them are crap.
And apparently nobody really wants his honest feedback.
So he wrote a scathing essay over at The Village Voice, outlining just how much this all sucks.
Well, I told you just days ago that our horror screenplay Faeries had made it to the semi-finals of the 2009 Shriekfest screenplay competition. The news just got better. Faeries has now advanced to the finals, baby! Looks like we’ll…
I had a hell of a birthday last month… it’s been nearly three weeks, and now I’m finally getting around to writing about it. Marvin Acuna of The Business of Show Institute (BOSI) invited myself and 9 other screenwriters down…