a pro script reader ponders movies, reading, writing and the occasional personal flashback

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Sometimes, Everyone Just Has The Same Idea

There are times when I read a lot of similar projects, though often they are in reaction to something being successful; when Quentin Tarantino was hitting big, everyone was writing, or dusting off, their Tarantino-esque screenplays.

But there has been a recent trend that has sort of hit me out of the blue, because I don't know where it's coming from.

In the last few months, I have read no fewer than 4 projects that are modern-day King Arthur stories. 4.

One was Meg Cabot's just-released novel Avalon High. The others were screenplays.

Similar elements abounded. All of the characters skew fairly young, except for the Merlin figure. Generally, the main character was unaware he was Arthur (or Lancelot), only to find out along the way that this is so. The main character was usually a meek man, who realizes that he needs to seize the responsibility that has suddenly been thrust upon him, to defeat villains whose evil plots seemed a bit muddled.

Everyone seemed to have similar names to the characters that they represented; the female lead was usually Gwen or Gwyneth. No one, in any of these tales, asked their parents why they gave them these names.

Excalibur usually popped up along the way; so did something called Avalon, whether it be a school or a corporation, and there is usually a big round table somewhere (and yes, one was in a pizza place).

Some of the stories deal with Gwen cheating with Lance. Sword fights and horseback riding usually come into play.

The general idea has a lot of potential, though none of these projects really fulfilled it. There may be a small opening for a really good modern day Arthur script to sneak in and be the one that actually makes the story work.

But just be aware, if you are writing a script like this, there may be a lot of modern-day-Arthur burnout going on among execs, while some of these (or some other project I haven't even read) are liable to catch someone's fancy and block the genre for the near future.


At 2:30 PM, Blogger shecanfilmit said...

This happens with short stories also. At Zoetrope, we had a run of serial killer stories and then a bizarre run of sci fi porn pieces show up in the slush at the same time from all over. Weird.

At 4:15 PM, Blogger taZ said...

Yes, I've also seen that happen. Even to myself (although I do notice it afterwards).

I think it comes naturally, without even notice it. You get inspired and write the same stuff.

At 6:31 PM, Blogger The Mu said...

Do great minds really think alike?

Maybe single-headed minds.

At 6:38 PM, Blogger The Awful Writer said...

There was a series on Canadia TV called Guinevere Jones with this very idea. I think it only ran for 2 seasons. Here's a link wih more info:

At 12:16 AM, Anonymous Leif Smart said...

Would the recent Jerry Bruckhiemer's King Arthur have inspired the trend at all?

At 5:57 AM, Blogger Thomas Crymes said...

I read an interview with some movie execs who bemoaned the fact that they were getting flooded with scripts about Vampires in the Old West. Then they talked about being flooded with Mob scripts because of the success of the Sopranos.

If there are a plethora of albino cake decorator scripts out there, I'm hosed.

At 7:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am tossing my lesbien bronco rider script now... Broke Water Hill

At 7:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is entirely unrelated to this post - but I thought you might like this true tale of HORRIFYING SNAKES ON A PLANE!!!!!

see here in the Snakes on a plane photo group dicussion:

At 7:42 AM, Anonymous Snakes on a plane discussion said...

Here it is again - hopefully it'll link now.


At 8:37 PM, Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...

A friend of mine a while ago threw a DC comic from the 80's that did a good job tackling the premise initially, but it was no Excalibur and I never finished it.

I figured that this would've been one of the first comics to be optioned after the success of the first "Spiderman."


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