Mistake. Not learning. Doomed. (repeat)

You’d think I’d get it by now

Sometimes I do things that are counterproductive. Almost even stupid in their execution.  Practically on a level of “what the hell was I thinking?” And apparently I’ve done it again.

I went to the internet seeking somebody’s opinion on my work. Yeah, I know.

I posted my logline on a few message boards, curious to know if it works. Some comments have been positive, while others…  Let’s not call them negative, but there does seem to be a strong critical-without-guidance vibe. Do some of them realize they’re coming across as snobbish?

It’s also important to remember that these are public forums, which means the public is responding, which means there are varying degrees of experience out there.  Probably some with even less than me, of which I suspect there are more than a few. Curious to know if any of them are actual working screenwriters.

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate every single comment (albeit to a certain degree), but don’t like feeling like I have to keep changing my stuff to make them happy.  I also have to remind myself it’s my script, and it ultimately comes down to what I think works best.

And at this point, it’s probably time to stop using the message boards as much and start seeking professional feedback. Guidance from somebody with actual industry experience seems like it would be a little more reliable.

*side note – it’s fascinating to see how people interpret what they read. Some of the revamped loglines focus on key words and take a sharp turn from there.

-Movie of the Moment: It’s been a while, but I’ve seen three new releases in the past week.

BRAVE – beautiful to look at, but haven’t we heard this story before? I was really expecting something a little more different from the folks across the Bay in Emeryville, although the bear subplot was unexpected.

MADAGASCAR 3 – surprisingly funnier than I thought it would be.  Especially nice how they wove subplot threads throughout and wrapped them all up in the end.

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN –  okay, but not as fun as THE AVENGERS, but I did like the Spidey POV shots while he’s swinging around New York. Also impressed with how they made the Lizard an actual formidable bad guy, but really felt they could have done more with it. No great desire to see it again or own it. Hope they use Raimi’s Spidey #2 as a guide in terms of fun and quality for the sequel, but please: stop taking off the mask, and NO VENOM.

Regarding THE DARK KNIGHT RISES: the trailers are doing a phenomenal job in increasing my desire to see this. I may even be so bold as to consider seeing it in IMAX.

Does whatever a spider can

I’m trying to figure out a couple of major story details on DREAMSHIP, so the rewrite is on hold.  No way this thing will be done for the Nicholl, which I’ve come to terms with.  But the way things are developing now, this is going to be all kinds of awesome.

So while the creative side of my brain works things out, the analytic side has also been busy.

Like writers are supposed to, I try to read as much as I can. Granted, most of my most recent stuff has been comics-related, partially due to going to WonderCon a few weeks ago.

Since money isn’t exactly free-flowing, I splurged and spent $20 for the hardcover edition of KICK-ASS. I saw the movie when it was in theatres, and enjoyed it. Not a lot, but just enough. I knew it wouldn’t be a huge hit. The target audience was too small, and comic nerds are notoriously picky.

But the book itself is great.  The story for the most part is the same, but a few of the subplots are completely different, which actually works in its favor.  For example, in the movie, Dave hooks up with the girl. Not here.  And most likely to placate Nicolas Cage, Big Daddy’s part in the movie is much bigger, which also works.

Basically, I have no problem reading the book again, but not much desire to see the movie again.

The first issue of the second miniseries, KICK-ASS: BALLS TO THE WALL, was available at WC, but I’m opting to wait until the whole thing’s collected in a book again.

I’m more a DC guy than Marvel, but a few years ago, I picked up the first two volumes of THE ESSENTIAL SPIDER-MAN, which are basically small phone book-sized tomes reprinting approximately 20-some issues of said title in black and white.  And this one company is always selling them for half price, which is usually about eight bucks a book, which is a bargain.

I’d seen reprints of the first issue, and introductions of some of the classic villains in reprints and on TV, but this was my first chance to really take a look at the original source material.  Only drawback – no color. But still…

Stan Lee and Steve Ditko caught lightning in a bottle.  Once you get past some of the corny dialogue, the stories overall are a thrill to read.  The first issues have a raw quality, both in terms of character and execution.  But everything slowly becomes more refined as the issues progress.  Especially the art, but more on that in a second.

Lee seems to live for hyperbole, but in a weird way it really fits here.  The combination of Peter’s everyday life and Spidey’s adventures mesh really well (but the Peter-lamenting-the-hard-life-of-being-a-superhero routine does get a little repetitive after a while.).  It would be great to know how much planning went into character development before the writing and art were combined.

I’d also add that Spidey’s rogues gallery is definitely one of the best, comparable only to Batman’s. The Green Goblin (always one my faves), Doctor Octopus, the Sandman, Kraven the Hunter. Each one original and unique.

I read somewhere that Steve Ditko said a hero’s costume should have some kind of true uniqueness so you can always recognize who it is, no matter how small a part of the costume you see.  Definitely holds true for Spidey.

I wouldn’t call it a problem, but Ditko’s art in those first issues is almost too hard to take.  It seems almost rough and unrefined, but gets better and more details as it goes along.  It’s a world of difference between those issues from the mid-sixties and the smooth lines of John Romita into the early seventies.

When I was in college, people would often ask why I read comics. My standard answer was pretty simple: it’s good storytelling.

Screenwriting is kind of similar. I’m creating a totally unique and original world, just in a different medium. And having a blast in the process.