Archive for the ‘Spec Tracking’ category

Spec Tracking, Week of April 12th, 2010

April 14, 2010

Sorry, folks, that it’s been such a long time since I posted loglines of scripts that are circulating in Hollywood right now. This so far has been the most popular feature on this blog, so I’ll try to remember to post them frequently. At some point in the near future I’ll be doing a week-long blitz with several dozen loglines for your reading enjoyment, so keep an eye out for that.

This week, we have a CIA action thriller (always a perpetual favorite; if there’s one thing people love to write about more than hit men, it’s spies), a supernatural horror period piece, and a rom com with a mediocre premise. People, if you’re going to write a romantic comedy, either your premise or your writing had better be pure gold. Oh, and for good measure, I’ve added a logline for the latest addition to the oversaturated “dance competition” sub-genre.

MORE IS NEVER ENOUGH
By Brandon M.
Logline: A formerly brilliant CIA agent, now a washed-up has-been, reconnects with his long-lost true love and estranged teenage son on a cross-country mission to save the world from imminent disaster.

EMPIRE OF THE WOLF
by John P.
Logline: Upon inheriting the empire, a Roman prince turns to his former bodyguard to escort him safely back to Rome, but on the journey they must survive six rogue Praetorians cursed with demonic powers and hell bent on killing the prince before he’s crowned `Caesar’.
The story is loosely based on a young Roman prince who inherited the throne after his father’s death.

GUITARS WICKED AWESOME DANCE CREW
by Philip S. and Chad D.
Logline: When Lance Guitars, a depressed and fame-starved choreographer, finds himself hounded by goons over a gambling debt, he assembles a rag tag crew to compete for the prize money in the national dance competition.

THE SUGAR DADDY
by Flint W.
Logline: A romantic comedy about a mild-mannered suburban dad who, in an attempt to lure back his ex-wife, decides to become the sugar daddy to an independent-minded but down-on-her-luck younger woman.

If you have to mention in your romantic comedy’s logline that it’s a romantic comedy, it’s probably not a good sign — the movie’s description should give the genre away without needing to explicitly specify what that genre is. Of all four, the one with demonic Praetorians is the only one that sounded even mildly interesting, but I predict it’s the first script that will sell the fastest. What say you?

Spec Tracking, week of March 12, 2010

March 12, 2010

Every so often, I’ll post the titles and loglines of scripts that are currently being shopped to producers. It’s a great way to familiarize yourself with what scripts are getting attention based on their loglines alone. You’ll notice running trends with these specs — most importantly, there are a few genres which are perpetually popular. Action thriller, comedy, romantic comedy, crime drama — you’ll see a lot of these. Sci-fi, romantic drama, biopics and other genres tend to be harder sells, for various reasons (men won’t see romantic dramas, sci-fi costs money, etc.) but you can always count on a cheaply-produced buddy comedy to take in some money at the box office or, at the very least, on DVD.

This week, we have a two-hander buddy comedy (cheap to produce), a graphic novel-inspired crime thriller, and a by-the-numbers horror/thriller.

THE LEGENDS
By Dax S. & Robert S.
Two dudes who were the most popular guys in school 20 years ago are hired by hired by a former classmate in a misguided attempt to teach his 18 year old son how to become popular.

THE LAST VIGILANTE
By Allen W.
A cross between THE DARK KNIGHT and TAXI DRIVER, it’s the story of an unbalanced pawn shop owner in East LA who decides to fashion a costume and clean up his neighborhood after the woman he secretly loves is hurt. Told with a surreal visual style as most of the story is shown through the main character’s eyes.

SPRAWL
By Jordan G. and Alex P.
Suburban teenage misfits out for a wild night in Hollywood throw a bottle at a car and provoke the wrath of a faceless psycho who
hunts them down through the urban sprawl of Los Angeles.

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Spec Tracking

March 3, 2010

Every so often, I’ll post the titles and loglines of scripts that are currently being shopped to producers. It’s a great way to familiarize yourself with what scripts are getting attention based on their loglines alone. You’ll notice running trends with these specs — most importantly, there are a few genres which are perpetually popular. Action thriller, comedy, romantic comedy, crime drama — you’ll see a lot of these. Sci-fi, romantic drama, biopics and other genres tend to be harder sells, for various reasons (men won’t see romantic dramas, sci-fi costs money, etc.) but you can always count on a cheaply-produced buddy comedy to take in some money at the box office or, at the very least, on DVD.

I AM ROSE FATOU
By Ted M.
A lonely California man responds to a exotic woman’s phishing email and an unlikely romance blossoms.

SPRING BREAK ZOMBIE CRUISE 3D
By Matt P.
A virus from a top secret government island has accidentally infected a spring break cruise ship in the middle of the ocean. With most of the partying students turned into zombies, it’s up to a soldier and a group of co-eds to contain the virus before it reaches land…and before they are eaten.

THE TRADE
By LaRon T.
A decorated NYPD Detective is on the run for stumbling on to a desperately needed drug, much to the chagrin of the Government and New York’s finest, all of whom are now gunning for him.

THE ARCHITECT
By Craig S.
When an architect sent to Dubai unwittingly loses the encrypted files he was secretly meant to courier, he must expose the conspiracy to save himself and his fiancée.

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The Return of the Spec Market?

February 22, 2010

It’s long been spoken around Hollywood that the spec script market is dying. But a recent bidding war over Shawn Christensen’s script “Abduction,” followed by a hot, million-dollar sale to Lionsgate, has suggested that maybe things are ready to perk up again.

A script written “on spec” means that the writer has written it with no promise of compensation, as opposed to it being written on assignment (a company is paying the writer to write a specific idea or story). An agent, manager or other representative of the script will circulate it to buyers (in industry parlance is this known as “going out with the script”) in hopes of making a sale. The attachment of a high-wattage star, or an A-list director, will often sweeten the deal.

Obviously, having a spec sold for a million dollars is the dream of any hopeful screenwriter. But in recent years, that dream has become more and more distant as fewer and fewer specs are sold. Buyers are hanging onto their money, developing more projects in-house and then hiring already proven writers to adapt them on assignment. It’s dreary news for writers hoping for a big break, because as the spec market dries up, fewer agents and managers are willing to take a chance on circulating the work of a new talent. Success stories like M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Sixth Sense,” or Michael Martin’s “Brooklyn’s Finest,” which inspire bidding wars and huge sales, are few and far between.

That’s why it’s welcome news that “Abduction” became such a hot commodity. Every studio wanted it; Lionsgate finally got it. (It helped that Taylor Lautner, who plays Jacob in the “Twilight” movies, is attached.) Because Hollywood is a place of trend-following, another spec, by writers Sonny Lee and Patrick Walsh, was just picked up by Montecito Pictures, which has a deal at Paramount. Could we be seeing the return of the spec market? For the sake of the new, undiscovered talent out there, let’s hope so.

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