When I was working on that student short a few years ago, the director was concerned the way a scene was playing out was too similar to how things worked in INCEPTION, and that people would think he was ripping it off.
I assured him it wasn’t on both fronts. It may share some similar aspects, but it was totally different.
Jump ahead to now, or at least last week. I finally got around to watching DJANGO UNCHAINED. It was great and a lot of fun. I loved it, especially the writing.
(Side note: Christoph Waltz fully deserved Best Supporting Actor, and I found King Schultz to be a much more interesting character than Django.)
So as I continue work on my western spec, I can’t help but think “But this isn’t how Tarantino did it. Would somebody hold that against me?”
I’m inclined to think “probably not”, which is actually a good thing, and may even work in my favor.
He writes in a certain way, which is totally different from mine. Nobody’s going to read my script and say “not grindhouse enough”.
Our two stories may share some similar elements, and that’s where the comparison ends. It’s a western, so there are going to be the unavoidable elements (horses, shootouts, etc.), but that comes with the territory. My challenge is to put my own spin on them.
Same rules apply to UNFORGIVEN, the vastly-underrated OPEN RANGE and the forthcoming LONE RANGER (which in theory may be the closest to my story in terms of rip-roaring, dime novel-type adventure).
This script is my opportunity to work in a genre I love, tell a story I’m excited about and create its world the way I want to. The whole time, I’m striving to be as original as I can, and present stuff that hopefully hasn’t been seen before.
There are countless ways to tell a story, and there’s no reason mine can’t be one of them.