The lack of creativity and originality that is today’s Hollywood makes for some serious head shaking for those in the spec screenwriting industry. Now that I am no longer toiling in that arena, I now find it amusing to see remake after remake, reboot after reboot, sequel after sequel and re-imagining after re-imagining emerge from the cookie cutter factory. It used to bother me – a lot – to see sequels and remakes announced and appear. Unfortunately, in the fear that has encased the halls of Hollywood comes mediocrity and ultimately, disinterest.
Hollywood is running scared. As I have written about before in this blog, they are terrified of taking a chance. They are terrified of success. Original ideas are the bogeymen hiding in the dark. As long as they have butts in the seats watching sequels and reboots that bring in money (The Lone Ranger anyone… anyone?) they will continue to churn out the latest gelatinous blob of cookie dough.
Someone in Hollywood is going to have to wake up pretty soon. One day there is going to be a mass audience revolt against the latest reboot-remake-re-imagining and there won’t be a single soul in the theatre to watch it. Hollywood is on the same track as the music industry: change or be left behind. The simple solution is to put out original, compelling stories that speak to people. Right now, the only sliver of the industry that is doing that is independent film which often is left behind or drowned in the Hollywood tsunami of marketing and distribution.
I’m sure there are a lot of writers in Hollywood who are very talented who have written the screenplays for all of these remakes, reboots and sequels. I don’t doubt their talents. I just have to wonder what is going through their heads as they get attached to one of these unoriginal films. I wonder if they think ‘ another sequel, oh well, at least I’m working and making a living’ or ‘ will the day come when my original ideas replace the films that have already been written that I am writing again?’
Whenever I see leads for screenplays that producers or production companies have put out seeking a screenplay for ‘Batman meets Stand By Me’ or ‘_ meets _’, it elicits yet another laugh. Don’t these people have any kind of imagination to describe the film they’re looking for without marrying their idea to something that has already been done? They’re falling into the trap of the cookie cutter – putting out something that looks familiar to appeal to the lowest common denominator. When I was screenwriting, it would have irritated me. Now, I just laugh and shake my head.
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