Hello from fabulous New Zealand. Travelogue to come when I get home. In the meantime, it’s Friday where most of you are so here are some Friday Questions.
Kirk D G asks:
Do you think the movie title is important? I ask because I saw a trailer last night for the upcoming Liam Neeson movie about a group of men stranded in Alaska being chased by wolves.
I thought that it looked like a good popcorn movie then came the title "The Grey". I felt my interest lessen instantly.
I guess I was expecting a really cool title.
Is a lot of thought given to titles?
Titles are hugely important. A lot of studios will do audience testing on titles.
But that’s not always the case. When we wrote VOLUNTEERS, we basically just slugged that in as a temporary title until we could come up with something better. The studio liked the title and so it remained. To me it’s way too generic.
There have been cases where a studio will change the title of a movie even when or after it’s been released. A couple of examples: The Billy Wilder film THE BIG CARNIVAL was changed to ACE IN THE HOLE. And a long forgotten little movie from the ‘70s that I always loved, CHILLY SCENES OF WINTER became HEAD OVER HEELS.
I’m still hoping to change to title of VOLUNTEERS to GONE WITH THE WIND.
Among actual movies that should change their titles:
The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies (1963)
Can Hieronymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness? (1969)
The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (1966)
Rat Pfink a Boo Boo (1966)
Fat Guy Goes Nutzoid (1986)
I Dismember Mama (1974)
Freddy Got Fingered (2001)
To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar (1995)
And of course, Patton Oswalt fans all know:
Death Bed: The Bed That Eats (1977)
Thanks to Odee.com for the list.
Steve Crooks wants to know:
I presume, perhaps incorrectly, that TV writers know how to correctly use "who" and "whom". Yet 90% of the time I hear "who" when it should be "whom". What's the deal? Writers hate "whom" and feel it's antiquated? Writers feel like no one uses "whom", so why would a character say it? The actor doesn't memorize that accurately and drops in "who" and no one cares or notices?
It drives me bonkers, and probably my wife too, since I always correct the TV like an idiot. Whom's fault is this????
Personally, I blame Mrs. Palepolerritopolis, my 8th grade English teacher. She’s in the Whom’s Whom of crappy teachers.
But seriously, when I’m writing dialogue all I care about is that it sound conversational and true to the character. Diane Chambers and Niles Crane would know the correct usage of who and whom. Klinger and Carla (and most of the known world) would not.
Most people don’t speak in perfectly grammatical sentences. So unless you’re writing comedy for say George Will I believe it’s more important that the dialogue sound natural even if the grammar is wrong.
From David S:
You mentioned earlier that at the end of the day, it's best to have two sample scripts: One spec, and one original pilot.
If I have a spec that I wrote by myself, and an original piece I wrote with a partner, are there any problems that arise with both of these being part of the same submission package to an agent, producer, etc. (either submitting as an individual, or as a team?)
Yes. If you’re being submitted as a solo you can not include a spec written with a partner. Sorry but when partnerships break up, the specs they did together are no longer viable.
What’s your question? Leave it in the comments section. Thanks. And…
No, I didn’t forget SNAKES ON A PLANE. I happen to think that’s a great title.