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Im sorry, I know most of you don't care about musical
remakes sucess or disaster, but I keep track of these things.
As long as Hollywood can go to an OLD musical or dance musical and make a lot of money they sure in the heck arn't going to look for me. So this is kind of important for me.
One down , 3 to go (Footloose, Dirty Dancing and Girls just want to have fun).
HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL being such a hit is why FAME got remade. The others you mentioned are known "branded" products. So, re-makes. Musicals generally have a pretty small audience. Rare one breaks out. Impossible to sell as a spec.
If you want to really get outraged subscribe to HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Barbie, the movie, is on the way. Leggos. Stretch Armstrong. Anything "branded" was selling. Still waiting for DIRT, THE MOVIE.
I read that they drained off the "social comment" part of "Fame" for this remake, too. It figures. Don't wanna rock this peachy-keen, Orwellian boat as it sinks...
Isn't it a double-edged sword? A whole string of bombs for these prodcos may mean the musical as a genre sinks from sight for another generation. At any rate, I don't foresee a string of musical bombs leading studio execs to suddenly say, "Oh, God, we're losing millions. Oh! I know! Why don't we call that Janet Hogate?"
From all I can gather from my perch, Hollywood studio (corporate) execs will continue to favor anything that's been successful before, to anything and anyone new. When it comes to green-lighting projects, it isn't all about that almost-unimportant ingredient called taste, or even about the much more crucial relationships that have helped the members of successful circles attain their status. It's also about obtaining financing, if anything at all. Capital ain't for everybody; most of us are here to help supply it, not to obtain any.
So, "Barbie" is just the ticket; after all, it's a familiar, popular icon to generations of women and girls. Wow, what an asset! Mental real-estate! --a "pre-existing condition," which is a good thing in this realm. The past is prologue, so "Barbie" might be worth risking millions of dollars on.
And you don't have the legal rights to portray Barbie, even if you wanted to. A "gunslinger" will be selected from the eager, mostly also-starving ranks of the WGA to hack it out.
Still, the fact that these musicals are appearing at all means that there are some production companies currently willing to produce musicals. If you want to beat your .0002% odds of selling a sceenplay, why not write a query and a pitch, practice while getting the numbers of those prodcos, and call them to see how your idea is received? Some of them may not talk to writers at all. But, it they will, well, they have the connections you lack, and maybe, if they want to try again after these bombs, they can run a "fresh" idea up the flagpole.
Highschool musical was NOT the only reason they are remaking branded products. Musicals ARE hot right not.
MAYBE in general they have a small audience, but not right now because of other BIG recent hits like Step up,
Mamma Mia, Hairspray and dont forget the sucess of the song and dance shows on TV. They pretty much rule the Neilson (spelling) ratings.
Anyway, I think the reason they are hot right now, in say the last 4 years has been for the same reason other somewhat unrealistic type movies like YOUR TOY PRODUCT movies are hot. Economic and polictical times are bad. People really like to escape in times like these.
However, remakes in general do not do well and Im sure they know that but they are doing them anyway? Dont you think that is probably because musicals ARE really HOT right now? And they are afraid to look for NEW ones. Im just saying I think my chances, peddling a NEW one, are better if the remakes do not do well.
And....they are doing remakes because they are afraid to try new ones with new writers. I just have to be patient, keep rewriting, getting coverage, entering contests until I finally get a break. I dont plan to get worried about my plan unless a BRAND NEW musical comes out and doesnt do well.
Yes, Ron but if they bomb at remakes they will probably be more open to New musicals. I mean IF of course ALL of these people keep watching ALL of these singing and dance shows on TV. I mean good grief there is only so many dance reality and remakes of musicals you can do before DUH you have to try a NEW musical out there. Supply and Demand remember?
Oh yeah, and I heard the reason this remake is not doing well was because they made it PG instead of R like I believe the first one was. So, it seems more like High school musical than FAME.
But I dont think thats the reason. I think its simply because its a remake and its a really worn out dance story. I mean good grrief Step Up is about a school of the Arts too. Not all of us dancers went to a " dance conservatory" and their are a lot of dancers out here with unique stories so duh, how bout trying a new one. That ones really old and tiresome.
Good grief musical remakes do not do well. Did any of you happen to see the Music Man remake? It was terrible. The only one I can think of that did well was Hairspray. So Actually that ONE was probably the reason they are doing it.
Sure sequels do well or OK but NOT remakes. There is a big difference. So I guess I never really understood why Hollywood leans towards REMAKES instead of new ones from cheap little new writers.
They're not going to think that it bombed because it was a remake. They're going to say "no one wants to see a musical." So, you want musicals (even bad remakes) to do well if you write musicals.
I would bet money (any script bookies out there) that the scripts the producers are going to be wanting Monday morning are zombie scripts.
Films are 2 to 3 years in development. Producers are looking at long-range trends/whatever other companies are doing/what's a best-selling novel or, lately, hot graphic novel.
If you are marketing a musical you want ALL musicals to be successful. Musicals doing poorly means less will be made.
I've never heard of anyone selling a musical as a spec script. Has it happened? Most are Broadway successes that are being adapted to a film. There's an existing fan base for the project (people that saw the live show) and a track record of making money.
Look at producing it at a theater and get some great reviews. Or get to work on a new spec script and keep it as a future passion project.
I saw that one because the kids wanted to. And I think you're right. I kept wondering back and forth from Zombies to Fame and The ladder had 3 people in it whereas the former was packed. Ok well Ill work on Zombies "the musical". Yeah right.
But I dont think you're right about producers giving up on musicals just because the Fame remake did not do as well as the new ones did. TV is busting with proof that audiences young and old loves singing and dancing right now.
Then concentrate on tv producers/production companies.
Look, you're a Hollywood development executive in a terrible economy. You greenlight branded stuff like Stephen said. If it bombs, you say, "But it was a proven commodity! Must have been the director, the marketing, etc." On the other hand, if you greenlight something really risky--something new from a first-time screenwriter--and it bombs, you find yourself out of a job.
There's the real bottom line.
I'm all for people working on the 'passion projects.' Do that. But create a body of work and recognize that project may be on the 'to do' list after you've broken in.
The drama/biopic/historical epic/period piece may win a contest and get you meetings. It selling? Very difficult.
Comedies, thrillers, and horror sell from first-time writers. Have a high concept spin so that you're bringing something unique to the table. You don't want the script description to be 'execution dependent.' A unique twist that gives you a a strong logline and if the script isn't 100% they buy the concept and hire a rewriter. That's the way most writers break in.
Or go raise the money and do your own thing.
Wish everyone the best of luck in their careers. Enough negativity out there already.
I have said this many times, your really really good, but you got to give us something here. Pony Girl, a dance musical, and the other one, another dance musical gives us very little. Write a logline, or start a thread and give us 2 pages to look at your work. Im not saying I know anything about this biz however.......
I understand that. But what's the old saying? No guts , no glory.
Stephen, This isnt a passion project for me its what I know (music and dance that is). I started script writing when I saw that (what I know) was popular again. Thats all.
Paula, I dont have a problem with my script going MOTW.
James, Thank you. And the most distinct thing about my scripts (as compared to everyone elses on the board) is that they ARE dance musicals. I dont think there's any one else on the board writing a dance musical. So I magnify it in my logline... as much as I can. Because ITS what sets me apart from the crowd.
I have a detailed outline of my script in my synopsis so dont worry. If someone wants to know what my DANCE MUSICAL is a bout (besides dancing) they can read the synopsis or my 10 page excerpt.
Brief story related to my comment about creative executives:
About a year ago I sent a query letter to an exec at a production company. He called me about six months ago. After talking to him for awhile, I was able to glean that he had lost his job at the production company, and he was now trying to sell me his services as a script consultant. My point is that it's tough out there right now. Incidentally, I didn't use his services then because I thought he was charging too much, but recently he sent me an email indicating a reduced rate (again, it's tough out there). I decided to give him a try, and I found his services to be uniquely helpful. By unique, I mean that so many contests, coverage houses, script consultants, etc. focus on aspects of writing (structure, etc.). Since he was coming from the perspective of a development guy, his perspective was more along the lines of: "Is this a story I can sell? Will people pay to see this? Can I get a name to star in it?" I found his perspective more helpful than whether I hit plot points on page whatever.
Patrick, he sounds perfect to me. I've been looking for new insight like that on my script. If you can't give me info on him on the board . Please email me. Thank you.
Me too, Patrick.
Me too, Patrick. Please include the price. Thanks.
Touch me, force me, hammer me to your site!!
I started working with Michele Wallerstein, a former agent. Specifically I wanted to work with someone in the biz (she was an agent for 25 years and had major sales -- $1 mill spec craze) that wasn't a writer. Often writers' notes are what they would do instead of elevating YOUR script. That's been going well.
Like to hear who your guy is and contact info.
Ok everyone, the guy's name is Adam Levenberg, he worked for Vin Diesel's production company, and his website is here:
I was contacted by Adam a while ago. Seemed like a good guy, but I wasn't sure if his notes would be good, plus I already have 2 people I trust. Good to know that you liked his notes.
Patrick, Thanks for that. Saw that promo site at one point but a bit leery to go with anyone absent references.
In the past, The Script Department, Carson at Script Shadow, and Erik Bork (Emmy winner for BAND OF BROTEHRS) have given me great notes.
Can be an expensive trial and error process to find someone that elevates YOUR script instead of tries to rewrite it to their tastes.
Patrick and all of you, thanks for your insights. Stephen, your comments about writers rewriting to suit their tastes, as opposed to elevating the existing material, sums up much of what can be wrong -- and emotionally draining -- with the advice we spend our money to obtain.
Many thanks to Janet for beginning this lively discussion. What Stephen says about musical spec scripts is so true. You might try to get a local theatre to give you (at least) a reading. Here in NYC, you could actually get people to come to the phone for a musical!
The best thing about Adam is that he spends about 2 hours with you on the telephone going over your script.
Like I said before, you are really good.
Thank you and is that true about NYC? I mean, Ive already written one of my dance musicals in stage play format and I definitely don't mind calling long distance.
Is it possible you could give me a list of these theatres looking for new musicals in NYC, because I wouldn't have a clue where to start.
Work locally. You need to be available to workshop, promote your works and call people with invitations to readings and workshops.
Google musical theatre workshops in your city. Or just playwriting workshops, and join to get feedback on your libretto.
Tell me where you live, and meanwhile, I'll keep my eyes open. I lurk on The Playwrights' Center and other live theatre sites. Someone already said it, but you'll have an easier time selling a musical to a theatre than a prodco. Not that it's easy. None of this is easy.
Frankly, I refuse to pay good money to see a remake. Especially if the original was perfect the way it was. This goes for Dirty Dancing, Footloose, Nightmare on Elm Street, Death at a Funeral, etc.
Hollywood is no longer an inovator of story. It hasn't been for a couple of decades ever since the corporations took over.
Heaven forbid if they ever attempt to remake Casablanca, Wizard of Oz, or Gone with the Wind, The Sound of Music. (yeah, yeah, Wizard of Oz was made several times over before the musical 1939 version... but it would be ashamed to remake it again the same way).
Films of the Wizard of Oz before the Garland 1939 version were egregiously bad. Even if the Garland version had been straight, it wasn't a sin to remake it.
As for Death at a Funeral, that film worked so well because of its very Britishness. The powers behind the remake say they want to expand its original niche audience. To this end, they're hiring a mostly African-American cast and giving the rewrite to a stand-up comedian and a sitcom writer. Sounds like they're six feet under already.
I'm happy for you.
I'll be 19 next year, too. And, the year after that.
Love your math. Your theorum is much better than my eternal 39!
I agree with my daughter -- in many ways, the best researched version of the Oz stories is The Muppets" Wizard of Oz. It actually refers to very obscure Ozite lore.
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