You know… Hollywood kills me. Hollywood executives kill me even more. Apparently, they’ve forgotten what storytelling and screenwriting is all about.
Yeah I know… We already knew that.
But exactly one minute ago, the same sack of rotten potatoes was thrown at me again…
I just read the following article over at the New York Times — Enough With the Elevator Pitch. What’s the Concept? Maybe you can read it over and tell me that I’m wrong.
But I doubt it.
The article is about “Concept Modeling” as discussed with Winston J. Perez of ConceptModeling.com and I will be the very first to say that I take my fucking hat off to Mr. Perez… He’s found a niche, he’s supplying the resolution, and he’s getting paid. You gotta love FREE ENTERPRISE.
I just took at look at the “Is Bond Still Bond” case study which attempts to point out what happened to Quantum of Solace. Before I go any further, let’s point out that according to Box Office Mojo, Quantum of Solace did $586,090,727.00 in worldwide box office receipts… Anyway, according to the case study, the site points out the following:
“So what does it mean for a film to be off concept?”
“It means an underlying concept is missing that makes his character work.”
Okay… So far so good. The site goes on to point out that the REASON the James Bond character didn’t fly in Quantum of Solace is because Bond Movies must have gadgets:
To be ON concept, Bond movies must have gadgets. Unlike every other 007 movie, there were no gadgets in the Quantum of Solace. It is one reason his character didn’t fly.
I should point out that this is a direct quote from the case study web page… Now I am sure there was a hell of a lot more to the Quantum of Solace case study that isn’t on the web site that Mr. Perez came up with but I’m going to assume that Bond’s lack of gadgets in QOS was the most important reason his character didn’t fly… At least according to the case study.
Unfortunately, I haven’t even seen QOS but I’m going to have to default back to the fucking box office receipts… $586,090,727.00 in worldwide box office. Based on the $200 million production budget, I’d have to say that QOS was a box office success. I’m also sure that much of the box office was laid down by 007 fans who definitely would have liked to have seen more gadgets but let’s face facts… Bond’s lack of gadgets didn’t hurt the film.
Let’s take this a little further and compare QOS to Casino Royale back in 2006 — pre-economic meltdown.
According to Box Office Mojo, Casino Royale did $594,239,066.00 in worldwide box office. That’s $8,148,339.00 less than QOS. It also cost less to make with a production budget of $150 million vs. $200 million but that production cost is the fault of the studio and I know these are not exact numbers because if you know anything about studios, you know they fudge the numbers big time but let’s go with what we have access to… Based on box office alone, Casino Royale made $58,148,339.00 MORE than QOS but I still have to say that based on what I am reading, QOS was still a box office success.
What I find interesting about this entire “concept modeling” perspective however, is that this wouldn’t even be a problem if Hollywood didn’t have so many screenwriters putting their mark on on the script. When you look at that aspect of the business, it completely makes sense that the studios call in Mr. Perez but let’s be honest… They could just as easily call in a screenwriter who knows his or her collective SHIT to do exactly the same thing.
Herein lies the motherfucking RUB.
Studios don’t like screenwriters PLAIN and FUCKING SIMPLE. If they did, they’d have one or two screenwriters write the fucking script and then MAYBE have a couple of other experts with a track record take a look at it just to make sure their investment is covered… Instead, they call in a CONCEPT MODELING EXPERT!
Of course I understand the the QOS case study was a simple exercise and that Mr. Perez was not called in to consult but according to the article, he was called in to consult on the following films…
- Catch Me If You Can
- I Robot
- National Treasure
- National Treasure: Book of Secrets
Wow. I like this… I like this a lot. Instead of becoming a screenwriting consultant, one can become a concept modeling consultant. Something tells me that a concept modeling consultant might even make more money.
And don’t get me wrong… I find no fault with Mr. Perez… He found a niche requiring expertise from the studios — even though THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE THE EXPERTS — and he FILLED it.
I guess screenwriters don’t know what the fuck concept or theme is… I guess they can’t tell if it’s missing from a screenplay or not.
But what if we can?