Is This the Best Lovecraft-Based Script Ever?
It is called Strange Aeons.
Let me explain. Some years ago — five, I think — I got to thinking. Why is it that there aren’t really any good Lovecraft-inspired movies? Surely it’s possible to combine HPL’s terrifying cosmic horror with the bleak, snazzy 30s noir style to which it would be suited? Just write a good script, it’s not that hard!
So, I sat down and wrote it and, lo and behold: it wasn’t. This is just the regular, good movie of monster-gods and guys-in-fedoras that we’ve always wanted, and no one grows a penis out of their face.
I’m interested in, though skeptical of, Amazon Studios itself. There are a lot of hands involved here — meaning, good ideas on the one hand, not-so-good ideas on the other hand. For instance, on the one hand, making all of the script consideration public and accessible seems like a good way to get a gauge of just what movies people are going to be interested in ahead of time. But, on the other hand, fan raving about scripts has very little to do with the movie’s performance — remember how excited we all were about Scott Pilgrim? Or how my threats to stab someone in the neck for casting Keanu Reeves in Constantine didn’t really affect the movie’s box?
Likewise, the fact that they’ve got a producing partner in place is good, because it takes this a step farther than just “hey, here’s a funny idea.” But there’s going to be a huge institutional resistance to a program like this from the many, many people who make a LOT of money in the system the way it is. On yet a third hand, though, if the system is actually functionally superior, the law of the Hollywood market is absolutely the law of the dollar — if it makes money, Amazon Studios will eventually corrode the current model for getting scripts to screen (maybe it will take longer, though).
A program like this is going to want to make a couple successes very early on, for fear of getting confined to a fan-fiction ghetto (which, really, the place is kind of begging to be). That means that if I get in fairly early in the process, I’ve got a better-than-zero chance of getting the script picked up, before the whole thing is flooded with crappy rehashes of Twilight (actually I’m lying; I can’t conclusively say that Amazon Studios isn’t ALREADY flooded with crappy Twilight rehashes). However, in order to ensure success, the producing partners are going to end up picking the movies that they think have the broadest appeal: romantic comedies, bro-tastic fart comedies, Harry Potter knock-offs, something about superheroes, &c.
Strange Aeons was one of the first scripts I actually made a concerted effort to get people to look at — like, an actual effort, where I sent it out and had little reply cards printed up and everything. I sent a LOT of copies out, but no interest. This is ultimately the same reason that I don’t ever submit my books for Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel award thing: if they’re only giving out one or two, they’re not going to give them to niche-market books. They’re going to give them to fictionalized memoirs about people coming to terms with their families.
But, whatever. I hadn’t given the script a second thought in the five years since I tried to sell it, and it was just collecting dust (well, virtual dust) when I saw this thing about Amazon Studios. The script had miraculously survived four computer melt-downs, and it’s not like it’s making me any money where it is.
In the long run, this is probably just a waste of energy, but Amazon only keeps the option on it for 18 months. So, whatever. Everybody go read it, comment on it, tell your friends. I could really use some money, is the thing.