Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Hangover

Boy do I have one. I finally started feeling normal again a couple hours ago when the talking stopped, the family disbanded, and I could think again.

I've been having what one would call a Movie Renaissance. For a long time I didn't watch any movies and instead focused on TV. However, a couple weeks ago I got Netflix and man has it been awesome to get back into movies.

Last night, while drinking heavily, I watched the Hangover. Even though it came out over a 1000 years ago, I won't spoil anything for people who've not seen it.

What I did want to say is that the movie is incredibly derivative. I loved it, thought it was hilarious, and wanted to immediately watch it again, but I honestly didn't think it had an original bone in its body. It was interesting that they woke up from a hangover and didn't know what happened, but I've seen in in at least 5 movies like it over the course my life. The most prominent being "Dude, Where's my Car?". The Hangover could easily have been named "Dude, Where's my Doug?".

That aside, I find it funny that most people in Hollywood consider the Hangover a new concept; waking up in Vegas after a bender and not knowing what happened. Well, I hate to tell you, it's not. Whenever I talk to executives, managers, or agents, their mantra is "Make is something so unique it's never been done before". However, more and more I am reinforced in my belief that it's not about originality at all, it's about execution. I understand what my manager and others are saying (when you pitch the idea, the executive must believe that it's something so new it's never been done before), but I've probably read double the amount of script for Hangover type movies over my career than I've seen. In my mind, that makes The Hangover UNORIGINAL.

So, over this holiday, while you're getting ready for the New Year, take a moment and stop worrying about coming up with that killer concept and think about honing your writing skills, making your structure sharp, breathing life into your characters, and making your script an experience in which the reader can immerse themselves, and less time worrying that the concept is so great that no one can say no to you. After all, in Hollywood, there are no original concepts, just people who can write their scripts better than you can write yours.

Now, go back to drinking your spiked, spiced eggnog.

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