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E.C. Henry

Using explatives is a MAJOR turn-off to a vast audience. I like it better when the dirtyness is inferred like in "A Fish Called Wanda" or "Fierce Creatures." Why can't today's screenwriters strive for those hights instead?

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

Scott Ware

Loved this: "As we readers await the arrival of Fuckin' Fuckity Fuck Mc-Fuck-wit's Fucking Fuck Fest..."

I think that got it out my system for all time as well. Having a cigarette now.

Christina

Heh. I enjoyed that. Personally getting sick of this trend, but not until after I write my masterpiece HOW FUCKING ZOMBIES RUINED MY GAY WEDDING.

mernitman

EC: What you said.

Scott: Wish I still smoked...

Christina: Now THAT is a selling screenplay title, dude!!!

Emily Blake

That's a lot of wrong assumptions you're making.

mernitman

Emily: Thank you for the comment, and for opening the door to what I hope will be a fruitful conversation.

I'm sorry if you've been offended by my use of your title in this context. There were many other titles I could have cited, but yours stayed with me.

I really do want to hear your point of view on this, and I'd guess that the first "wrong assumption" I could be guilty of is: assuming that you consciously sought to capitalize on some current trends. If so, mea culpa, totally, as mine is a glib take on a complicated process. Maybe you wrote a wedding comedy with no regard to the current popularity of same, maybe the colloquialism of the title simply came naturally to you, and clearly - since it's one of the first things you say on your own blog - you "cuss a lot," so the f-word's been in your vocabulary for decades.

But all I can say in defense of my response is - whether your process of getting to this title was organic or not - it IS quintessentially emblematic of a current trend in screenplay spec titles! And while I'm willing to apologize for the implication that the crafting of said title was of a tacitly cynical or mercenary bent... don't many of us try to craft titles that are meant, in fact, to catch the eyes of the industry?!

Anyway, I'll shut up now and get out of your way: Please do, if you have the time and inclination, set the record straight from the screenwriter's point of view.

Emily Blake

I don't like anyone assuming I'm a writer who does nothing but chase trends. The cuss word in the title has gotten very popular, but I just wish I'd thought of it first. I used to cuss in my query letters.

So here's how I got that title:

I almost got married many years ago, and have always wanted to incorporate my experience in a script. I also love wedding shows. I watch ALL OF THEM. One day I was watching Bridezillas, and I decided as an exercise to think up an idea based on weddings. They're usually so cutesy - so how do I turn a wedding into an action movie? I immediately came up with the image of a bride running around in her dress, fighting people. I thought it was actually a neat idea, so it went from being an exercise to being my next project. I am an action writer, not a romantic comedy writer. I don't generally pay attention to what's trending in the romcom world. I was just trying to come up with a good idea for a script.

I named it How My Wedding Dress Got This Dirty because I spent like a week trying to figure out some kind of wedding phrase that had never been used and came up empty. Finally I gave up and decided to be really literal because I just wasn't creative enough to do anything else. And to be honest, once I came up with that title I realized I needed this to be from the bride's perspective, so I added the arrows and the voice over and freeze frame AFTER I figured out the title. The title is what launched me into the hyper-real world of the story.

As for the cuss word, well, if you'll look at the TrackingB announcement of my script as a finalist, you'll notice there is no cuss word in the title. However, I think it was an excellent idea. Wedding scripts - Bridesmaids excepted - are generally cutesy girly affairs. The cuss word in the title indicates that this is not a girlie story. This is a wedding script with bite. This ain't no 27 Dresses.

And, trendy or not, you read it. And now you're talking about it. And that's what a title is for.

mernitman

Emily: Thanks so much for providing us with these insights on your experience in developing the script and coming up with the title.

Your closing comment makes perfect sense - "...now you're talking about it. And that's what a title is for."

Indeed. So, mission accomplished!

The "trend" issue is simply an unfortunate reality for the industry. It's unavoidably true that certain ideas and sensibilities tend to surface in the zeitgeist and/or arise "out of the ether." We've all seen it happen - three "Big" (i.e. kid getting his wish to be in an adult body) movies being released within the same 18 months, two asteroid movies nearly colliding...

I myself am currently feeling the pain of having been beaten to the punch on a story concept. I was adapting my first novel ("Imagine Me and You") into a screenplay with a writer/director friend, about a writer who made up an imaginary woman - who then came to life... and learned that Zoe Kazan's project (now titled "Ruby Sparks") was finishing production - it's about a writer who makes up an imaginary woman, who then comes to life. "Ruby" has effectively killed our project (for now), and the irony is, anyone reading our script from here on out is likely to think we're imitating Kazan - even though my novel preceded her movie by three years!

Such are the vagaries of the business we have chosen. Just to say, "I feel your pain," and I'm sorry to have caused it.

All of this said, I do wish all those OTHER screenwriters would get the fuck off the fuck bandwagon, already. ;->

Judith Lewis

Hey, what the fuck's wrong with 27 Dresses? I fucking love that movie.

Seriously, I love the way Emily came up with her story idea. I can see a whole genre of women slugging out crooks in their Vera Wang white silk.

Willie T. Stoke

Regardless of the reason, I think putting expletives in your title is really lame in a try-hard kind of way.

Willie T. Stoke

And Christina, change your title to HOW GAY ZOMBIES RUINED MY WEDDING FUCKING and you've got yourself a movie.

Christina

Seriously, 27 DRESSES is one of my favorite rom coms. The two lead characters are so cynical about love and I love watching it sucker punch them. :-)

mernitman

Judith, Willie, Christina, et al: This is just hysterical. What do you suppose I was handed as my first spec script read of the day when I showed up at the studio this morning? "Fuck My Life." I'm NOT MAKING THIS UP!!!

TR

I have to say I'm also really tired of this stupid fucking trend, and it does scream, Trying too hard.

Laura Reyna

I read the title of the Black List script I WANT TO F*CK YOUR SISTER a few yrs ago and rolled my eyes back then. But can't deny these titles get attention.

I also have an action script involving a wedding (no dress involved) and Emily's recent success has encouraged me to keep going with mine.

So continued good luck, Emily!

Christina

Billy - LOL. I read about that spec.

Laura, I read SISTER when it was on the Black List and thought it was fun read (writer has a great voice). I think it was the trendsetter.

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