An excerpt from my script review for Shadow in the Cloud which will be available 01/04/21:
1.) Marketability of the Idea
Contained horror thriller.
We’re starting this year’s first review off with marketable advice.
A few years ago, I wrote a bit on where to find contained ideas for thrillers with the primary suggestion being The Twilight Zone.
There we took a look at various episode plots and I gave examples of how to “make it your own” for potential scripts.
(There’s also a video if that’s easier, but apologies in advance for my voice narration which is probably the reason I lost interest in doing videos.)
Max Landis did exactly that with his take on Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, a classic starring William Shatner.
Before we go further, we’re setting aside the #MeToo stuff concerning Max, both the accusations against him and his silence in response.
Personally, I don’t know him, but having watched interviews with him, he is certainly a “child of Hollywood” who appears to have been indulged growing up. Part of me thinks, similar to Bill Burr’s argument to white women, we as parents are responsible for how our kids end up as adults, and should sit down to take a portion of the talking to when our kids fuck up.
But for the sake of this review, we’re separating the man from the script, to focus on the merit of the initial concept.
(Which was built upon and rewritten by the director and you can read an interview with Roseanne Liang about that.)
Gardner is stuck not only inside the confines of a B17 bomber, but the turret underneath the plane, a space so small that when you see one you’ll question if a person was ever meant to go in there.
This is good, with tension relying heavily on the actors to create via dialogue and Gardner’s response to it, both visual and audible.
This is similar to Buried, a concept so well executed in my opinion, that it led me to my philosophy that writing a decent concept in a contained setting is an amateur writer’s best shot at getting noticed.
It’s taking a simple location…the airplane.
Adding in a monster…the gremlin.
And injecting tension between characters…a stowaway young woman on an all male WW2 flight.
There’s nothing in that above combination that’s absolute “genius” that you couldn’t come up with your own similar horror thriller.
Think about it…please.
As I keep telling the children, “New year. New you.”
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