A.K.A. HOW DO YOU MAKE YOUR STORY STAND OUT FROM ALL THE OTHERS?
The very nice gentleman who agreed to read my script, is back from his trip, and has just declined. But I thought that what he said was very interesting, so I am going to share part of it with you:
"I can see what attracted you to this idea, updating a local legend and giving it a novel twist.
Unfortunately I don't think this is right for us at the moment. Part of the issue lies in the sheer volume of supernatural/horror scripts that are in circulation and are being made. With that in mind, it's critical that any additions to the genre have some aspect that make them noticeably stand out or distinguishes them from other similar stories."
I find this feedback extremely positive. Hoorah! - - He didn't tell me to eff-off, he said "at the moment".
But the thought provoking aspect of this is (a) That I write quite a lot of horror of various types, and (b) that it's critical that any additions to the genre have some aspect that make them noticeably stand out or distinguishes them from other similar stories.
Now I thought I'd at least partially achieved that with The Grim, okay it has some vampire-esque qualities, but this is a monster I've never seen before ... novel twist on the legend, and all.... [And IMO has a built in marketing strategy - which is one of the reasons why Producer No#1 got so excited about it (he said as much) before he fell off the planet while searching for funding]
So, what does make one supernatural horror film stand out from another?
Obviously the monster is only part of the story.
Maybe I am too in love with The Thing, and Alien for my own good?
Character - I probably need to watch it again (or even read the screenplay! Yes, I really should have done that already, very remiss.), but Kurt Russell's character in The Thing could have been any of them, he was the leader and had a bit more grit than the others, but no memorable stand out qualities as such (other than his beard? LOL). Kurt Russell is eminently watchable: Snake Pliskin anyone? Jack Burton? Pretty much everyone he's ever played - but those two are stand out characters.
My script doesn't have a Snake, or a Jack, or a Ripley - apparently. I was kind of heading towards Ripley, but I obviously didn't pull it off. *gnashing of teeth* Grr.
So, next rewrite I need to go back and revisit the characters...? (I'll add that to the back burner)
Noticeably stand out or distinguish themselves from other stories in the genre.
Other similar stories. ... *more gnashing of teeth*
Maybe I shouldn't have brought in my hunter? No. He's needed. Do I need to change him? Possibly.
Maybe I need to kill off one of the familiar characters up front - anything can happen! Make the red-shirts a lot less obvious.... ? (Another one to add to the back burner)
Setting? I'm totally happy with the setting. I don't think that's the problem. I could move it to a city, but that would be a different story. IMO Predator didn't work anywhere near as well when they brought it to civilisation, not like The Hidden. Predator's a hunter and needs a location we don't know intimately, somewhere where we feel vulnerable, where we don't know all the rules. Whereas The Hidden is a parasite that needs access to prey, the city is its natural stalking ground. Fallen, similarly needs a population in the near vicinity in order to allow the monster to hide.
So setting gets a tick.
The monster itself? One of the consistent bits of feedback I've had from the majority of people who have read the screenplay in its various incarnations is that they love the monster ... Which leaves me a bit stuck: I could reduce the vampire-esque and increase the demonic, but I think it would loose something if I made it less creature-feature and more spook central. I dunno.
Maybe I should just chuck the whole screenplay in the corner to laugh at me until a later date? - - Then there'll be two of the b*ggers smirking at me every time I look around the room. My Fantasy screenplay laughs at me hysterically every time I cast an eye into its corner. Can I stand two of them doing it?
B*LL*CKS! I'm off to get on with the Science Fiction screenplay.
Time to type.