Invent


Phase 3

Like Marvel Studios, we all need a convoluted yet impressive sounding plan. I have completed the first two phases (Phase 1: don’t be lazy. Phase 2: Pay credit card on time) so now it’s time to shift up a gear and enter Phase 3: make stuff. And as I’m working on separate projects, I need to update my online presence to reflect that – I’m going to split up my various skill sets on to different sites so that they’re not all mish-mashed in one place. Going to break it up like this:

jameshutchinson.la = Screenwriting

crashlanderstudios.com = Design portfolio

ionwolf.com (coming soon) = Games company

extra.solar = Character design

Hopefully that makes sense.

Got some exciting stuff coming up shortly and it all seems to be converging in a certain direction, so I’m going to follow that and see where it leads. Hail Hydra.

Comment


Nicholl Near Miss

I received a pass latter from the Nicholl Fellowship yesterday. It was close:

…your script placed among the Top 10% of all entries and fell short of advancing to the quarterfinals by two-to-six points.

Two points! Not bad for a loopy sc-fi script. Oh well, there’s always next year.

Comment


Another Blacklist review

crystal01Title:
THE AUGMENTED GEOLOGIST

Era:
Victorian Era

Locations:
London

Budgets:
High

Genre:
Action & Adventure, Sci-Fi & Fantasy

Logline:
When JOHN HALDANE is tasked with researching a mysterious crystal found on a dig along the coast of Victorian England, he quickly realizes that the object is not of earthly origin — and that his life will never be the same.

Strengths:
The blend of Victorian-era settings with science fiction storylines is always a fun way to tell a story, and this script does a great job of combining the mores and trappings of that era with the strange new realities that Haldane encounters. Scenes such as those where Haldane is in his lab examining the crystal are particularly easy to envision in this context. The reader spends almost every moment of the script following Haldane, so it’s crucial that the author is able to maintain sympathy for him; and, while it’s never quite clear if Haldane is a ‘good’ person or not, his adventures and actions are never boring. Also strong is the presentation of Haldane’s slow acclimatization to his newfound powers. This is reminiscent of superhero stories in which the protagonist finds himself entering a new reality, but, set in Victorian times, it feels fresher and more fun. The script’s final scene, with the alien ships arriving one hundred twenty years later, is a great moment that vastly expands the world that the story inhabits, and opens up the door for more stories set in that world.

Weaknesses:
While the final scene is a great moment that contextualizes the story, the reader spends a great deal of the script with no idea of what Haldane is trying to accomplish (or even, particularly, why Colleton is trying to stop him). In a way, that makes sense, since Haldane doesn’t particularly know himself, but what’s lacking is a sense of urgency; it often feels like Haldane doesn’t even have a sense of what it is that he’s trying to discover. The script also presents a couple of plot points that feel unnecessary. One of these is the reality of Haldane’s affliction with polio. While this serves to heighten the transformation that he undergoes, the reader doesn’t get the sense that it particularly impacts his life; it’s a fact that is described early in the script and referenced at the discovery that Colleton has been having an affair with Haldane’s wife, but it doesn’t seem to play into Haldane’s sense of self or even his functioning. Also, Haldane’s wife Helen feels more like a plot device than a character, serving only to give Colleton necessary information; the script would be well served to better develop her as a character and her relationship with Haldane.

Prospects:
While this is a well-written piece of material, it’s hard to envision a path to production for it. Given the combination of a period setting and a reliance on special effects (especially towards the end), the script will demand a very high budget to be made, a fact that will limit the number of buyers; and those buyers will be leery of a script with such a high budget that has no underlying material that audiences are familiar with. From a strictly financial and marketability standpoint, this will be a very difficult project to get made.

Pages:
95

Comment


New Pitch: Bacon Spacehorse

baconspacehorseI recently sent a pitch in to the Nickelodeon Shorts Program. The requirements have increased over previous years (if memory serves) in that you have to send in a thumbnail board along with the concept and character designs. I jammed that sucker out nice and fast, hopefully translating some of the energy on to the page. Once I got going, this was the most fun drawing I’ve had in a while.

It’s called Bacon Spacehorse and it’s about a magical horse who answers kid’s questions about space.

BACON SPACEHORSE
A naive and magical horse that lives in space. He can do anything he wishes and loves to learn so much, he will tear you apart if you get in his way of his search for answers.

ASTROBEE
A selfish space explorer who left his hive to sting planets. Real name Colin Santana. Wanted to be a spaceman after watching Flight of the Navigator as a larva.

CHARLES RAND
A TV astronomer who knows very little about what he’s talking about. He has undisclosed financial problems.

bacon01

bacon02

STORYBOARD: WHAT’S INSIDE A BLACK HOLE?

Bacon Spacehorse and Astrobee zoom around space in search of a black hole. What they find inside surprises them.

bsh1 bsh2 bsh3 bsh4 bsh5

Comment


Guided by Forces

Comment


The Fellowship of the Nick

patrickI sent my submission to the Nickelodeon Writing Fellowship today. Two copies of a comedy spec, a one page resume, a half page bio and the application form and release. Ended up being quite a stack of paper. Satisfyingly hefty.

The script I sent was a Simpsons spec, which is traditionally a hard show to write due to the fact that they’ve covered everything in known universe. I somehow figured out two ideas I hadn’t seen before, then went through TEN YEARS of episode synopses to see if they’d been done already. One had and one hadn’t, so I wrote the one that hadn’t. Oh, and I should really say thanks to Simpsons writer Bill Oakley, whose outline for an episode I found online and then shamelessly copied like a Canal Street bootlegger.

One interesting thing on the application is you have to point out how ethnically or culturally diverse you are. I put that I’m English, which is fine I guess, but just realized my mother-in-law is Indian. I should have put that! Missed opportunity.

Comment


Inspiration

With this show, I wanted people to laugh and cry… and shit themselves all at the same time.

- Garth Marenghi

Comment


Third Blacklist review for THE AUGMENTED GEOLOGIST

crystal01Here’s one more evaluation for a script of mine from the Blacklist. I find these encouraging, but I think I’ve gone as far as I can with getting feedback, so this will be the last one for a while. I should pick out some choice quotes from these like they do on movie posters, then print it out and mail it to myself, then I dunno, burn it or something. That’s my New Year’s resolution. Burn stuff. Anyway, is this encouraging? Should I keep going? I guess keep going.

Era:
Victorian

Locations:
Victorian London, England

Budgets:
High

Genre:
Action & Adventure

Logline:
A sickly geologist in Victorian London is suddenly given super-powers after coming into contact with a strange, and possibly alien, crystal.

Strengths:
With an instantly appealing steam-punk premise, this is a genre-piece that hits all the right buttons. The setting – a retrofitted Victorian England populated with gentlemen scientists, detectives and escaped convicts – is expertly painted. From the chase through the ‘Crystal Palace’, a kind of world’s fair of natural curiosities, to the final scenes at the white cliffs of Dover, the Victorian landscape is used to full and stunning effect. The plot itself is quite simple but very effective, and the action and chase sequences in the second half are exciting. The main characters, friends-and-rivals Haldane and Colleton, are perfectly matched: the one a Polio-stricken, shy man, the other a dashing gentleman, their conflict is at the heart of the story, and gives it an edge and energy it might otherwise lack.

Weaknesses:
Some of the dialogue is a little uninspired, and occasionally gets the cadences and details of British English wrong. Case in point: it is hard to imagine a prim and proper Victorian wife saying ‘He should bloody well be made to pay’. Inconsistencies like that aside, most of the dialogue is serviceable if not exactly scintillating. Beyond that, the second half of the film occasionally feels like one long chase sequence, which is par for the course in an action/adventure film but still worth pointing out. Luckily, most of these scenes take place in interesting locations, and are rarely dull, despite coming one after the other in quick succession. The relationship between Haldane and Colleton is so strong and has so much potential, but in the third act it seems like in the scenes between them lack the charge that they have in the first two. It would be nice to have a scene later in the script where they really get to air their grievances and get everything out in the open. That would add psychological depth to the last act, which occasionally feels like its just going through the motions.

Prospects:
This is a script that fits neatly into the larger steam-punk trend which has recently seen its fair share of success at the box office. In many ways it is reminiscent of the Robert Downey Jr. ‘Sherlock Holmes’ movies, in that it is action-oriented while still aiming for intelligent dialogue and plotting. Overall, with so many exciting sequences, and a strong antagonistic relationship at the center of it, this is a script that could easily get noticed. It would be a welcome – and original – addition to the endless parade of super-hero and franchise summer films.

Pages:
98

Check it out on the Blacklist here.

Comment


2013 in Review

It was shit.

Comment


Open letter to Nien Nunb

niennunbDear Nien,

I wasn’t going to write this letter, but today I have been procrastinating at work and dodging Photoshop and I have been thinking about your role in RETURN OF THE JEDI and the impact your actions will have on people. You don’t get much screen time but you certainly make a big impression with your minge face and blinky eyes. Not only that, but your skills as a pilot must be pretty great to get that job as second-in-command on the leading attack ship in a biggest space battle since BBY.

So why the jokey attitude? You don’t seem to be taking a daring raid against a superior enemy very seriously. I mean, it’s intergalactic war and you’re giggling in your little pilot suit. C’mon, cut that shit out.

I don’t know if it’s some Sullustan thing, but let me tell you those in charge don’t find your behaviour funny. They can’t even understand you. No one can. And yet you continue your mission to distract those around you with reactions of extreme surprise, total confusion or basic amusement. That is not the correct tone to set for the rest of the  Rebel pilots.

For example, the ship you were co-piloting, the Millennium Falcon, had a close brush with disaster inside the bowels of the second Death Star when it sheared off its communications dish at high speed. Going ‘WHHAA!’ does not solve the situation nor make it better. You could have avoided that collision if you were concentrating and not trying so hard to impress. And believe me, those crew mates, they don’t give an ounce of shit. They’re more focussed on A) not burning to death and B) saving the lives of their loved ones from a lifetime of tyranny.

I’m sure you know this. You don’t get put next to General Calrissian on a whim. You’re a talented pilot. People look up to you. And it’s your job to set the tone in that cockpit. Drop the facade and get down to the business of zero gravity ship-to-ship close combat.

Your friend,

James

Comment

Visit my social profiles:

Scroll to top