Posts Tagged ‘horror’

I wrote a short story for a client, and it turned out really good. Then, after all was said and done, my client mentioned he stole the idea from the Internet.

If all you need to do is right-click on something, why be original? Creativity isn’t rewarded, it’s just copied. People who want to copy something because they like it, but don’t realize there’s a value there.

There’s an assumption that if it’s online, it should be free. If this was the case, no one would be making any money off their creations and you’d see much less of it online.

Anything can be ripped off. That’s why it’s even more important to be 100 percent original. Don’t fall into the easy trap of generating content mashed up from other people’s ideas. You won’t stand out. You’ll be exactly like everyone else who is doing it.

We don’t revere people like Steve Jobs because he copied other people. He got the respect he did because he created something new.

When anything can be copied off the internet the only thing I have is originality. People want original content, not the same old thing. That’s why, for instance, Charlie Sheen jokes got old very quickly.

My writing might not be much, but at least it’s my own.

 

 

Here’s my YouTube channel. You’ll find some very funny and some very wrong short films here:

http://www.youtube.com/user/verylittleknowledge

Advertisements

I’ve read that Kevin Williamson wants to do Scream 5 and 6. He already has them outlined. Just waiting for the greenlight.

I’m hesitant. As much as I loved Scream 4, (my review: https://whatilearnedbywriting.wordpress.com/2011/04/24/scream-4-a-spoiler-free-writers-review/) it would kill 4 to make 5 and 6. Part of what made 4 so exciting was: “What I thought was the end wasn’t really the end! This is really the end!” If you go out to 6 movies, it’ll just be rote, boring movies.

That was the problem with pumping out 2 and 3 so soon after 1. They were OK movies, but by then we were wise to the tricks. It wasn’t as scary because we’d seen it all before, in the first one, and in second-rate garbage like “I Know What You Did Last Summer.”

In order to do 5 and 6, you actually might have to extend the time again. Not 11 years, but maybe 3 or 4.

What I Learned: There’s such a thing as Too Much Of A Good Thing. Know when to bow out. If you’re ever blessed to be in a position where people are wanting a sequel to your work, err on the side of caution.

It’s easy, sometimes, to come up with a new story, a new twist, especially with something with such a simple premise as Scream. But maybe you just need to skim the cream from the top and swallow the fact that the rest of the ideas just won’t come to fruition.

Randy did it.

That’s what I thought about Scream 3. Randy had somehow faked his death in Scream 2, and he was the killer in 3.

The characters in 3 found a video made of him, so he still appeared in that movie, but he was long gone.

But I was still holding out hope for him to appear again in 4. Maybe he was severely scarred, and wheelchair bound, and ordering Ghostface around remotely.

Then Neve Campbell’s Sidney would round a corner in a creepy old house and find him during the parlor scene.

I had it all in my head.

And that’s what made the movies successful. Any one of the red herrings could be a decent movie. The fact that you’ll never really guess the killer is inconsequential. You’re building a movie in your head.

Part 4 made me feel the same way part 1 did: Not fear, but that sustained tension for 90 minutes because you don’t know what is going to happen.

It also threw more red herrings at you than Lew Zealand.

Movie makers want to crank out sequels as quickly as possible, but Scream 4 benefited from the distance of 11 years.

It made use of technology that has made it that much easier to reach out and touch someone. Everyone has cell phones. An App that makes your voice sound like Ghostface. A GPS in a phone.

It’s a much better movie than if they had just made another one a year after part 3.

My only complaint – the only whole in the plot – was that after all that’s happened to Sidney Prescott, why isn’t she carrying a gun?

The first time she sees a killing, she charges into the house to save the person or catch the killer. Imagine if she’s got a gun at the time. She fires into Ghostface’s chest.

“Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight!”

It doesn’t matter if Ghostface disappears. Maybe he was wearing a bulletproof vest. Maybe the bullet just grazed him. The point is, she does the smart thing and shoots him.

Even better, what if she kills him. The mask comes off, and it’s some teenager no one knows. Then, a few minutes later, the killings continue. It would have been a total switch.

As a writer, I wondered what they could have done to make it bigger and better than all the previous efforts.

What I learned was that you shouldn’t rely on one thing. If it had been a huge change, you could have lost some viewers. There’s a contract with your audience that they expect certain things. You can’t change them. You’re trapped in that aspect.

Instead, they changed many little things. The killer using a webcam, for instance. Not the first time a killer’s done this in a movie, but it was an evolution that made sense. There are other little changes, but I don’t want to do spoilers.

So, if you’re lucky enough to be writing a sequel to something, control yourself. Don’t make it too big of a jump for viewers, or they might fall.

Did anyone think that Emma Roberts was filmed in soft focus all the time? Or maybe she just exists in soft focus.

Why we root for monsters

Posted: October 28, 2010 in All, Horror
Tags: , , ,

A giant bug-like slimeball drops from the ceiling. Two people manage to flee, listening to the screams of their friend and a horrible crunching sound.

Why do we like monsters more than the people they chew on?

Monsters are usually the same in every movie: mindless eating machines. Soulless killers. In fact, that’s become such a cliche that we expect nothing but that.

So much work is done by the creative team to make sure that the monster is original looking. That the special effects are believable. That its origin and intentions make (some kind of) sense.

Yet not so much care is taken with the victims. I’m not saying that every piece of fodder should be a fully fleshed character. But at the very least, the hero should be held to the same standards as the villain. The protagonist must be original. Believable. His past and intentions should make sense.

Monster movies have become formulaic because the conflict is forced. It’s man versus monster, and it doesn’t matter who the man is.

There are only two plots in super hero comics, and I’ll apply that to this. 1: Villain wants to do something and the hero gets in the way. 2: Hero wants to do something and the villain gets in the way. This second one is always better, but harder to do.

Honestly, I’d be surprised to find a story where the protagonist has the goal and the monster is getting in the way of the goal. But I see that as a challenge to movie makers.

Additionally, I’d like to see a challenge to the idea of all monsters being mindless killing machines. Considering Frankenstein’s monster wasn’t one, and he’s one of the earliest monsters, I think it can be done.

What I learned from reading and writing

While reading, I’ll sometimes pick up on a little insight that I hope will make me a better writer. A subtle nuance or something so exciting that I have to tell someone about it.
I also have a terrible memory. So these lessons might fade away. In fact, I have no way of knowing how many times I’ve forgotten what I’ve learned.
Therefore, I started this blog. As I read comic books, children’s books, literary fiction and horror, science fiction and fantasy, I’ll post my thoughts here. From time to time, I can look back, refresh my memory and refocus my writing.
And hopefully, you can find this helpful as well.
I don’t like to be negative. I will try to stay away from criticizing when a writer has done something I think is wrong, unless it’s something we can learn from. I certainly wouldn’t want someone to do that to me. Besides, it’s easier to tear down than build up.
I’ve been sending short stories, children’s books and comic books to publishers with little success. So, I’ll chronicle some of that for people who are going through the same thing. Maybe we can learn from each other.
I’ll try to post weekly, but we know how that works.
I’ve written municipal news for local newspapers for more than five years. I’m a regular contributor to TDMonthly.com, a toy industry magazine. My humor writing has appeared in Knockout, (Knockoutmag.com) and Awesdumb.com. I self-published a super hero spoof, Dave the Potatoe. One short story of mine was published in a 1996 New England Writer’s Network. I create fake news clips and other things at: http://www.youtube.com/user/verylittleknowledge
Enjoy!
~Chris Lundy