A comic day in the life of our fictional Hollywood super developer, framed into five minute online satire. Part of 5M Projects. Written by Rogue Saint
I admit, I’m not a big reader of comic strips—only a few of them interest me. I do watch superhero movies, but only a few have earned high ratings from me. I don’t own any toys or memorabilia aside from two shirts and two pairs of pajamas. So it may sound strange that one day I decided to visit Golden Apple Comics store.
I wanted to see how it looked and what I could find, and most importantly to soak up stories of superheroes and their powers so I could create villains. I like fictional villains. I think we need more of them to counter this recent superhero tsunami we’ve been seeing in the movies.
So I was going through some reading material, getting visuals on a few heroic characters and their powers, when you emerged: a promising writer/director who looked and sounded like Billy Walsh from the TV series Entourage. You were picking comics up and slamming them down again, one by one.
“Commercial garbage. More commercial garbage. This is why new generations can’t scrape up a decent script.” Then you turned to me.
“Can you believe these attractive, mushy magic wielders are the only ones suits will green-light in a heartbeat? It’s all visual for them. Millions of colors, explosions, speed, action scenes, twenty cuts in two minutes. Where’s the plot? Where’s the conflict? Character development? I’ll tell you where it is. It gets limited release, while this retina-blowing junk gets four thousand screens.”
You paused your vent. It was my moment to jump in.
“Okay, so what is it that you want?”
You made a screen with your hands, like a film director, then spread them as you sounded the following words.
“Sony Picture Classic.”
“Sony Picture Classic?” I repeated, confused.
“As my distributor, of course. What I really want is a Sundance-winning film. Art. Story. Character. No blowing up the sets and the budget to please the masses.”
“Why don’t you make it?”
“I have a block.”
“A writer’s block?”
“No. I’m a writer/director/producer, so it’s a more complicated block. I need an idea.”
“And you’re looking for such an idea in a comic store?”
“Creativity feeds on anger.”
“So? Has it hit you yet?”
“No. What about you?”
It took me a moment.
“Art? Story? Character? Sundance? Sony Picture Classic?" I repeated. "Have you ever traced your origins?”
“Look at me. I thought my origins were obvious. Why would I trace them?”
“It’s becoming a trend in modern society to get DNA testing.”
“Sure. But what does this have to do with making a movie?”
“Almost all—maybe all, I haven’t checked—Sundance award-winners are quirky comedies or dramas that deal with social and cultural issues. So find your weird family with parents in their fifties or early sixties and children in their late twenties, possibly early thirties. You can add grandchildren if you want.”
“What kind of parents are we talking about here?”
“Ones who are intelligent, likely introverted, with strange hobbies. They drive hybrid cars, recycle, read the news and are socially conscious. He can be a quality-control guy at a large company, and you can make her a college professor with political activism on her resume. That’s just an example, of course.”
“What about kids?”
“Two of them is an okay number. A boy and a girl. Educated. Well mannered. Both with careers in front of them. You can have one of them in a serious relationship, planning for marriage. That would actually be a decent moment to introduce your conflict.”
“A DNA test?”
“Let them take it for whatever reason; it can be even silly. Young, modern families usually submit to DNA testing to find out if their unborn children are at risk for carrying a genetic illness. But depending on the genre, you can tweak that.”
“And the DNA results don’t match?”
“For the child who initiated the DNA testing. A few options open up for you then. Either the DNA testing got mixed up, or...”
“The hospital switched the babies at birth, or one of the parents isn’t exactly as shy as we thought.”
“That’s your art. Your story. And your character development. Even more important for you, it won’t be commercial and will get a limited release.”
“Fuck commerce,” you quoted Billy Walsh as you walked out.
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