22 August, 2008

Mike Le, screenwriter, interview

You make an excellent point mocking the National Treasure franchise in your comic Don’t Forget to Validate Your Parking, and it seems like the studios are getting more and more desperate to rehash the same old material. Is there any purpose behind that, or is it just an example of groupthink gone awry?

"It’s not really groupthink gone awry – that would be more akin to too many cooks in the kitchen (like the old saying, “A camel is a horse designed by committee”). The trend in remakes is more about fear. Hollywood execs are motivated by fear. They are often afraid to be the first to say “yes” because no one wants to be wrong. Being wrong may lead to losing one’s job. It’s easier and safer to push a project that someone already said “yes” to, so you remake something that has a built-in audience: novels, comic books, articles, plays, old movies, TV shows, video games, etc. It also makes more economic sense. Financiers are hedging their bets when they make movies from existing properties, and audiences are only going to see more of this trend with the success of DARK KNIGHT. I think the days of just being a screenwriter exclusively is coming to an end.

Our culture is saturated with multi-media and alternative ways to distribute content — that means the screenwriter of the 21st Century has to evolve to survive. You have to be able to juggle between writing for TV, films, comic books, webisodes, animation, blogging, etc. You must create product for every venue, and if executed well, every product is a potential movie idea. Hollywood is ran by corporations, corporations are made up of many different arms, and each arm is hungry to feed the other. Consumer synergy is the magic we all seek."

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