Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Rated R

At this point, I haven't settled on a title for the new comedy script yet. However, I do have a completed first draft. You'll have to forgive me if I don't go into too many details about the plot at this point, but this is such an early stage where details like that can switch before I even hit "publish" on this blog. I'll get more into the first draft later, but right now I want to write about what I'm going for.

This movie would be rated R, for language, nudity, and sexual humor.

So I wrote in some "mature content." It actually played well with the plot and characters. The problem is the F-word. Fuck. It is so easy to accidentally go overboard with the fucks.

Here's the thing. It costs $2,000 to submit a movie to the MPAA for an official rating. If you're not happy with your rating, it costs slightly less to resubmit for a new one. I want an R rating, but I don't even want to chance getting an NC17 because I overdid it with the "fucks" in a movie that already has two nude scenes in the first draft.

I try to write like people talk. Some people drop the F-bomb after every other word. I'm one of those poor souls that think curses are funny, so I use them to amplify a lot of statements. Before you know it, you have four, five, maybe six fucks on one page. Seems okay, right? Well let's not forget the first thing they teach you about formatting a screenplay...

"One page of type equals one minute of film time."

Suddenly you're cranking about six fucks a minute, and you're left with the sequel to "Scarface" (which uses the word "fuck" 207 times in all - an average of 1.22 "fucks" per minute, according to IMDB). The MPAA is a fickle entity. They originally gave Kevin Smith's "Clerks" an NC17 based only on dialogue (no violence, no nudity...nothing put potty language). We don't have the money to fight ratings with lawyers or re-submissions. We have to get it right the first time. But we have to make it dirty enough to be marketable. And oh yeah, somewhere in there we have to make a good movie.

This was all the stuff on my mind as I wrote the first draft. Here is another thing I wrote into the script in an attempt to have production foresight: I set the bulk of the film in one day. This way we save time and money on wardrobe. The bulk of the film is also set to one location to save set-up and commute time. No other reason. I like the idea of getting to a spot, settling, and spending the day there. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of other locations too. But there is one primary location in this draft.

One day, one location.

It's been done before, usually with low budget stuff. It's not a new idea. But it works, and our budget is as low as they come. I'll just have to work extra hard to give the script an original, solid foundation.

I'm currently revising the first draft. After this, I see myself allowing some close and honest friends to see the script and share their feelings. When I have a draft that I'm very comfortable with, I'll show it to my potential investor, as well as the owner of the location I'd like very much to use (if the owner turns me down...well, I don't want to think about how much that would suck yet). So right now, it's all about writing. I'll have some excerpts for this blog in the near future I'm sure.

If you're out there working on your own screenplay, keep writing! And the best advice I can give you is to keep watching movies and taking note of the structures. No matter what the genre of the film, you'll eventually notice a solid pattern when it comes to acts and plot points. Watch enough movies and you'll follow the same pattern in your script without even realizing it.


Brian Webber said...

Good luck with that dude.

Mike V said...

I think this blog is rated NC-17.

Caleb said...

If you need someone to be a boom mic operator during the nude scene of a really hot girl I will be there for you buddy.

...No seriously please let me know if I can do anything to help out.

Except for the money part...I ain't got 10 grand lying around the house.

Anonymous said...