Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Da B-Movie Rules

Yes, I made the deadline, came up with a climactic ending that did what I wanted, finished the script. My producer called me after reading most of the script (why don't they ever wait to finish the whole thing before passing judgment?) to tell me that he loved it. LOVED IT. Granted, it's not a Herculean task tog et this particular producer to love something, but he HAS not loved things of mine in the past, so anything positive is welcome.

That out of the way it is time to switch gears.

I've promised my wife that I'm going to begin work on the one script of mine that she has ever really liked, a family-fantasy project currently titled Untitled Family Fantasy Book Project. Catchy, no? This should be an eye-opening experience for me, because I am most definitely NOT writing a B-Movie with this one. And I've been writing a lot of B-movies lately. A lot. That's the market I've been able to tap into. Got my first film produced (check out The Eliminator (not my title) on IMDB- order it from your local video store today!) and The Installation is another B-movie, as are other films I have in the pipes. B-Movies are bringing me money (very small amounts, but money, none the less). B-Movies are what I know.

And it's not so easy as you might think.

There are rules.

Fact: most B-movies make their money in International markets. They just do. Ever wonder why these things even exist? It's not like you walk into your local Lowes and see the latest C. Thomas Howell/Sean Young thriller (currently in post-production). But overseas? I was driving through the streets of Jakarta, Indonesia when I noticed a billboard for a brand new Sylvester Stallone film I'd never heard of. D-Tox. Did you see it? It was in all the theaters in Jakarta. But in the States? You're lucky if you can rent it at Blockbuster.

Why? Dunno. Don't care.

So without further ado, here are the official "Rules" of the B-Movie.

1) No Blood. You can kill and maim and plunder all you like, but nobody should ever bleed profusely. Sometimes this is specified as "Moving Blood" i.e. Slasher slices Victim's neck and blood splatters over the walls. Nu-uh. Try slasher slices victim's neck and then lets him drop down off-camera, dead. No blood. Why? Many of the International markets have their priorities straight, and realize that's exposing people to buckets of blood may be a dangerous thing to do. So they don't let you do it. Meanwhile, in America, we have no problem watching people disembowel each other in a frivolous romp. And then we wonder why there's so much more violence here than in other countries.

2) No swearing. Two reasons. First, the obvious. Some countries won't pay money for films that have foul language in them, because they can't sell them to family markets. But also, American cursing doesn't always translate very well overseas. Think about it. Austin Powers 2 had to doctor their title when they opened in the U.K. because "shagging" has a slightly different meaning over there than it does here.

3) Action, action, action. Have you gone more than 10 pages without someone getting beaten up? You're slacking. Lots and lots of countries are inhabited by people who, believe it or not, don't speak English. So they just don't really get witty banter. But they sure as heck get a guy being tossed through a window. That's International.

Those are the three biggest rules, but there are many other, "unofficial" rules. I'll bring those to your attention in my next post.