February 17, 2004

indykids.jpgGetting your article optioned by a film producer is the goal of any good journalist. Just ask New York Times Magazine writer (and frustrated blogger bugbear) Peter Landesman, whose article, The Girls Next Door has been optioned by Roland Emmerich. What, you didn't read Landesman's article? Doesn't matter, sucka: it's gonna be made into a movie. (Which you can also not see—but the ads will be everywhere!)

Here's the trick: make it easy—exceedingly easy—for the low level D-girls who read it to see the film as they read your article. Short of sub-heading your piece "It's Pretty in Pink meets Set It Off!," here are some simple tips for getting your article optioned, using Jim Windolf's great Raiders of the Lost Backyard, the story of three boys and their amazing quest to recreate Raiders of the Lost Ark shot-by-shot from this month's Vanity Fair:

Make your subjects 'types' (or better yet, stereotypes):
"On the surface the two boys were opposites: Chris [Stromopolos], whose parents had divorced when he was three, was a class clown; Eric [Zala] was a quiet, brainy kid who had never been paddled. But they shared that tendency to escape into fantasy."

Write a funny set-piece that jumps off the page and onto the screen:
"The two of them stayed up way past their bedtimes in Chris's room, constructing [a giant boulder] out of crisscrossed bamboo stalks from a nearby swamp and cardboard. It seemed almost as large as the original boulder in the original. Too bad they couldn't get it out the door."

Create some colorful atmosphere and supporting characters, maybe a role for Henry Gibson:
"The Zalas' big house remained in disrepair, its cracked plaster and peeling paint telling of its losing battle against the seaside elements. [Eric's mother] Mary put any extra cash toward maintaining the income-producing cottages in the backyard, home to a revolving cast of eccentric tenants."

Throw in some teenage romance for the girls:
"Chris and Angela [Rodriguez] took their places on the narrow bed [...] Chris, now 13, was jittery. This was going to be not only his first screen kiss but the first real kiss of life."

Show conflict, the better to create meatier roles:
"Chris admitted he had tried to steal Eric's girlfriend that time and Eric admitted he had hated Christ for years."

Make a cameo for a famous person who can also exec. produce the film:
"In February, Chris, Eric, and Jayson each received a letter from the director of Raiders of the Lost Ark himself..."

Toss in an uplifting ending that will make audiences cheer!:
"After the lights went up, Chris, Eric, and Jayson—all three truly shocked that the film they had made over their adolescent summer vacations had found a large audience of strangers—took the stage and basked in a standing ovation..."

It's Rushmore meets Waiting for Guffman! Too bad those Culkin boys are all old now.

Hey Hollywood, option this story now and let's see it next summer!

Posted in a Shallow fashion.

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