ALLIGATORS IN A HELICOPTER

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

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Discussion: How Do We Serve Older Actresses -- and Older Audiences?

My parents are getting up there in years, but they still like going out to the movies. And they are constantly complaining that there's nothing out there for them to see.

They're right.

One has to believe that a good, entertaining movie skewing toward an older audience would make a lot of money, because don't kid yourself -- the older crowd is out there, and they are hungry.

It's one reason that "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" made so much money; sure, the main characters weren't old, but it felt like something older audiences would like. And they flocked to it.

There have been a few others examples that occasionally pop up too, in which movies tap into the older audience, and do well. "The Notebook". "Space Cowboys".

But instead, it seems that every year, Hollywood is just more and more determined to make mass-market movies that hit as many levels of audiences as they can, but of course what that really means is that they are going for the younger audiences first, and if older audiences want to go out and see Superman Returns or The Lake House, well that's fine.

So there's a need, and there's also a hell of a lot of great older actresses out there to serve it... and yet we're ignoring them too.

This is a big mystery to me (and I know it was explained a bit in the documentary "Searching For Debra Winger", but I didn't see it, and Hollywood obviously didn't care). What has happened to the great stories for older women?

And I'm not even talking old, old. I'm talking 40. Though there are actresses in their 50s and 60s who could rock a movie too.

And it's strange, because if you look at the heyday of Hollywood, there was a lot of work for actresses of this age.

But if Katherine Hepburn was 40 and in Hollywood now, what would she be acting in? What about Bette Davis? Claudette Colbert?

Would people be writing movies for them, because they have star power? Or would they be relegated to character roles and guest shots on Will and Grace?

Meryl Streep is getting work, but the substantial roles are becoming few and far between even for her. Julianne Moore seems to have pretty much cornered the market on playing housewives age with any meat on the roles at all, but what will she be playing in the next five years?

Glenn Close is doing cable, Geena Davis is doing network TV, Susan Sarandon can't find a decent part.

Julia Roberts can't even find good roles. Julia Roberts. And she's only 38.

So let's talk about this. A lot of the people who wander over to this blog are writers -- do you find yourselves automatically writing characters younger than yourselves, just because that's what Hollywood wants? Have we become so indoctrined toward writing for younger audiences that that is all anyone does any more?

(I have to admit that, on reflection, I'm guilty. Though many of my specs have female leads, they are inevitably in their 20s, or younger).

If you were told that you had a chance to pitch a movie to Julia Roberts' production company, what kind of story would you pitch her? What kind of movies should Hollywood have a 40-year-old Julia Roberts starring in?

Otherwise, I'm sure everyone reading this goes to the movies a lot. What is it about today's films that you can't make the kind of Tracy-Hepburn mature comedy that they used to make 50 years ago? Why is it only rarely that older actresses can be in romantic comedy-dramas, and even then apparently only if Jack Nicholson is in the movie too?

What is it going to take to reinvent the older female film to reawake Hollywood to its potential?

Talk to me.

31 Comments:

At 8:09 AM, Blogger Cathy Krasnianski said...

What's required here is an attitude change. But, I don't see that happening any time soon.

Until Hollywood - and America, for that matter - wakes up and realizes the vast, untapped potential of today's fast-growing older population, they will continue to use these cookie-cutter actresses that could never hold a candle up against the likes of Katherine Hepburn.

 
At 8:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My mom used to go to the movies. Then she got a DVD player.

Before she got the player she was constantly complaining about how the moviegoing experience has degraded over time. Commercials, cellphones, people talking more. She actually got the player after an incident where someone behind her made a call during the movie.

I think a lot of the aging population feels the same way. They still love movies, but they don't like the theater experience (Of course it would probably be better in a movie aimed at more mature audiences.)

I think eventually Hollywood is going to have to get over its prejudice towards box office revenue. It's going to have to realize that it can make top notch high quality movies and sell them on DVD, and people will be okay with that. Now most straight-to-DVD stuff is either total crap or aimed at kids, but I think pretty soon there will be markets who just refuse to go to theaters.

The theater experience is still worth it for huge visual thrillrides, but if you think about it, how much do you really lose by watching Capote or Good Night and Good Luck (My mom's two favorite movies from last year) on a high definition television with surround sound?

 
At 8:31 AM, Anonymous Victoria Ellis said...

My sister and I were talking about this just the other day while watching, "It Happened One Night," one of our favorite films. We were wondering if there are any Clark Gables of our generation. Will there be any? I don't think so. But back then we didn't have millions of kids striving to be stars come hell or highwater. They have youtubes to post their homemade videos, they get mtv to show their mediocre skits. They get their parents to get them deals for their own reality tv shows. No matter their lack of talent.

The reason older actors don't get jobs and actors today are getting younger and younger is because the industry is wanting to get out the next big thing. The next great discovery. Julia Roberts? They're thinking: been there done that. There's nothing there that will surprise the people.

And the "older" actors today are beginning to realize they were just a product of their time and they're finding more worthwile things to do. They are realizing the reality of their lives are not the characters they play on the screen.

I'm not condoning the fact that it's done. I'd much rather watch Julia Roberts than the millions of other Lindsay Lohans.

But the masses feed the machine. And right now that machine is making, as one poster noted, cookie cutter actresses and actors. And the masses are eating it up and licking the crumbs off the table.

 
At 8:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sneakers was a good movie - but pointed out the problem as far as Hollywood is concerned. Most of the 'older' stars couldn't do the action features that seem to be the current staple (not counting the endless remakes, of course).

I think the way to make Hollywood more 'oldie' friendly is to write a bunch of 'grandpa/grandma' and their friends helping out or working with the target teen market - let the kids do the action and let the older actors/actresses provide the means and know-how (particularly the neat gadgets or weird gizmos).

Like, um, - okay, hero's parents (reporting team) die covering launch of new weapon - or something similar (wonder cure?). Hero(teen) has to go live with perceived fuddy-duddy grandparent. Said grandparent has a life, thank you, and doesn't really want brat-teen-hero around. Fact is, grandparent thinks something funny's going on, and wants to go round the retirement homes, getting the inside story on development of weapon/drug. Teen, bored, uses laptop to keep in touch with friends and while surfing finds something that, when added to grandparent's info - reveals sinister plot. To foil sinister plot - teen must get reluctant grandparent together with former spouse/partner (and helped by assortment of friends of both generations) and they must sneak into secret government facility for the final piece of evidence that nail the bad guys. (Who, by the way, are also in the elderly range and controlling sons & daughters with dire threats of financial ruin)

Yeah, I know, sounds a lot like one of the Spy Kids things, but I was thinking of making it a lot more 'Heath Robinson' - where the teens and the grandparents have to cooperate to update gadgets in garages.

Your oldies could have been just about anything in their youth - circus performers, spies, soldiers, cops - take your pick.

If you start with that kind of thing - you can then have ...SEQUELS...that could feature each generation with cameos from the other.

That's my thought...

Shell

 
At 9:05 AM, Blogger Dave said...

I believe that part of it harkens back to Scott's other post about the repetitive character types.

At age 40+, life is different than 20-30 and even 30-40.

The stories of old that folks are referring to were probably written by folks older than the majority of writer's getting sold today.

Also, the times were different. You could have a movie with Cary Grant and Kate Hepburn and there was no nudity, no extreme foul language, no stunts required. That movie is rated G now (or no rating at all).

Honestly, I put those movies in for my 7 year old because they're great movies and I'm not worried about what's in them.

Who is your audience for a film like that now? It's not how we are as a population any longer, it's how we were.

Hollywood doesn't make films for 40 and over folks because IF they go to see the film, they'll go once.

If they get a success on an under 25 film, they'll go see the film several times.

If you look at the life cycle in general (and this is really general) - in your teens to 30 or so, LOTS changes in your life. It's the most tumultuous time ever. Once you hit 40 though, things are pretty settled. Typically, you're where you are for awhile - barring unexepcted and probably unwanted upheavals.

All this leads me to the point that if you're writing a movie for a 40+ audience, what they'll relate to currently are more emotional issues - it's probably what hits the Lifetime channel and other venues.

There are other stories, but just not as many that are as repeatable as they are for the under 25 audience.

They'll flock to see just about any action movie, but just how many emotionally sapping movies do you want out? And how many can you really take?

I have no issues with older actors/actresses working, I know they're better now than they've ever been, but it starts with writers.

I agree with anonymous who says that many folks watch films at home. I, for one, only go see films that deserve the spectacle of the big screen. Even then, sparingly. I have a big screen TV and surround sound and the experience at home is every bit as good as the theatre to me.

I suspect that we won't see stories for older audiences until more of our writers believe our 40's to be our "good" years.

Right now, too many are young and writing for characters their own age or 30-50 and writing young characters because they perceive that to be a fun time.

Problem is that once writers get older, nobody wants their writing any longer. Just like the whole country, once you're older, it's time to put you out to pasture.

 
At 10:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Old people don't go to movies. Teenagers do because they have nowhere else to go. Hollywood realized this in the 50s, spawning the drive-in and saving the industry from threat of dwindling audiences caused by the competition of television.

 
At 10:24 AM, Blogger Thomas Crymes said...

Couple things at work here:

1) A significant portion of the population is now getting in the 40 to 50 year old range. It is just a matter of time before someone finances a movie that skews older and make a bajillion dollars. Then all the studios will jump on the train.

2) Problem is that writers just don't think old. We have this story filled with action and romance and people acting out in defiance. These are all things that logically skew younger, and our characters reflect that.

Hamlet was young. Romeo and Juliet were teenagers. Being relatively young, we imagine that the most fruitful and volatile time in life is the teens or 20s.

This is not to say that important things don't happen to older people. It is just that the young tend to be blind to it.

Good part is that by the time I actually sell something I'll be in that new demographic and might be inspired to write: A Trip to Bountiful II.

 
At 10:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also teenagers as a concept and therefore as a market didn't exist until the 50s. So before that most movies were essentially family movies aimed at the widest possible demographic. I think the later split into niche, specialized markets is a good thing that has diversified the movies overall, even if it means the majority of resources are targeted at a teen audience. Maybe instead of asking how to get older actresses back into theaters we should be asking how to bring Lifetime and Hallmark movies up to the quality of theatrically released films and to collapse the artificial high/low distinction between TV and film.

 
At 10:42 AM, Blogger Cathy Krasnianski said...

I think we need to stop here and ask ourselved exactly what the term "old" means?

If you're in your teens, then ANYONE over 28 is considered old.

Exactly where do we draw the line(s)????

"Old", to me (being in my late 40's, myself), means Senior Citizens, and don't be fooled into thinking that they don't go out to the movies. They do. They just want to see something more than limp sex jokes and cartoons.

 
At 10:54 AM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

For the purposes of movie audience, I think "old" can even be described as over 50.

Maybe even over 40. I'm 43, and I don't see Hollywood really focusing on tales of people my age, particularly women. Obviously there are a lot of male actors over 40 working, but they mostly have female leads a decade or more younger.

For women over 40, what are the stories that call to you? What's a great example of the kind of movie that you wish they'd make more of?

 
At 11:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved 'The Mother' small Brit movie - anyone see it? Brilliant script.

And what about 'A Woman under the Influence'?

At +40 we definitely want more than fluff & fairytales

 
At 12:16 PM, Anonymous Laura Reyna said...

I used to belong to a forum where this subject came up aaaalll the time. It's been a problem for yrs & yrs & yrs...

When FIRSY WIVES CLUB hit big a few yrs ago, some thought we would see a slew of movies featuring older actresses. Didn't happen.

Then after SOMETHING"S GOTTA GIVE we were supposed to see movies geared for older audiences. Hasn't happened.

The population is getting older and older & they're seriously under serviced. Hollywood just hasn't gotten the message yet.

I thing what might get results is the suggestion of mixing the ages of the actors in the story. Pair younger & older actors together, like in THE NOTEBOOK. It's kind of a stealth way of telling mature stories & giving older actors good parts.

But it's tough for us writers (esp. newbies) when all we hear is "write young, it's what SELLS!".

 
At 1:08 PM, Anonymous bianca said...

I think an assumption has been made here that isn't quite true: that older people want to see movies with older actors in it. Older people like movies with young people in it just as much as young audiences do. What the older audience wants are movies with good stories and compelling characters WITHOUT the profanity, the nudity, the violence, the explosions and the defeaning sound effects. This is the primary difference between old movies and recent movies. A lot of old movies (surprisingly) dealt with mature, grown-up even graphic subject matter but without the explicitness. It's the explicitness that older audiences shy away from. They want a PG-13 or R story without the graphic elements that make it PG-13, R. Unfortunately, the only movies that don't contain some sort of offensive material are either generic (most rom-coms) or for children.

As for older actresses, that's a toughie. A few years back when Legally Blonde came out, everyone was calling Reese Witherspoon the next Julia Roberts and Julia was only 33 at the time! The main problem for older actresses is that they only carry Romantic Comedies. For any other genre, they need a male star to co-star with them. Because rom coms usually involve a naive woman, the template works better with a younger actress than an older one. Katherine Hepburn, Bette Davis and the like were allowed to carry comedies (of the unromantic variety) and dramas. Today, there is no actress who can carry a comedy that isn't a romcom and it takes two or more actresses to carry a drama without a male co-lead.

 
At 1:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really think this demographic will be a boon for the independent director. There is no reason that a reasonable budget cannot make a Driving Miss Daisy or Wonder Boys.

I agree with Bianca somewhat. I just think the movie needs to speak to the values (or perceived values) of the generation and it doesn't matter the age of the actor. Values like love conquers all, duty and honor, family, sacrifice for a greater cause, etc. Capture that and keep it clean and you'll have a succesful film.

 
At 1:36 PM, Anonymous Aaron said...

For what it's worth, my recent script and script-in-progress has women near or over forty as central characters.

I think 40-60 year olds are more fun to write than teens and twenty-somethings.

But, granted, I'm a nobody.

 
At 3:53 PM, Blogger Chris said...

My first spec was a political drama with about two characters under the age of 40. It just didn't fit the story to have the politicians young (the Constitution helps too by keeping anyone under 35 out of the presidential ring). I'd like to think, however, that the themes and situations are ones that would connect with younger audiences. Who knows.

My current script is just the opposite. Everyone except a couple CEO types are thirtysomethings. But not twentysomethings. Sad to think that Annie Hall couldn't get made today with Woody and Diane as the romantic leads. Or that if it did get made, Jessica Alba and Josh Hartnett or their ilk would be shoehorned into the roles to make it demographically pleasing.

Sometimes young works, sometimes old works. Chasing the youth market as the Holy Grail is not working.

 
At 4:03 PM, Blogger A WOMAN ON THE EDGE said...

I'm trying my best.

I have several pitches ready to go, all involving older actors.

 
At 5:07 PM, Blogger Chesher Cat said...

My characters are the age that's right for the story I am telling.

As far as what I like to see at the movies? I go to be moved - whether it be to tears or laughter or anger or shock. So for me it doesn't matter if the actress/actor is 2 or 102, as long as they ignite my emotions.

 
At 6:12 PM, Blogger sretherf said...

As a writer, I have typically written about characters close to my own age (31) or a bit younger, just because that is what is really first-hand to me at this point. I might not be the greatest architect of a charcter over 50, but I would never count it out.

I would also say that Hollywood will not do anything other than movies for young people from here on out, because that is what the theatre chains want. The key to theatres is concession sales (namely popcorn). That is where they make all the easy money (Scott is aware of this...). No play for them with older markets.
And, even though the DVD market is big, the launching pad for DVD sales is still the theatre run.... and Hollywood pretty much has a lock on those screens and isn't making stuff for "older" folks anymore. Hell, if we are honest,
they don't even make them for people above 30 anymore. What happened to those wonderful dramatic films of the past?

BUT, there is a huge business and artistic opportunity here to serve a market that Hollywood has all but abadoned.... think Sundance is trying to do this with a chain of theaters... the arthouse kind of thing. Or maybe going with the online delivery channel. Digital projection would really change everything, because historically (and still today), cost has been the biggest factor in determining what gets made and what doesn't.

I also think there is a void in the community of writers when it comes to subjects of a more mature and meaningful nature... it's tricky to write that way, and I've seen some decent attempts, most fall short. The skill isn't out there to write new, original, and decent intellectual content...

 
At 6:14 PM, Blogger Tom said...

Thomas is right on the money, someone's going to make a movie that attracts to Boomers and the money will pour in. I'm interested to see if anyone's analyzed the demographic for POTC2 to see if it's just kids or if it's an event film for families. Usually the Pixar movies are a safe bet for something that really will entertain the entire brood, but POTC2 looks like it would geniunely appeal to all (and I say that despite the fact that I haven't seen it nor the first...Maybe I'd want to if I'd seen the first flick, but I'm not rushing out). I would have thought Superman would hit all targets, but is there some bigtime falling off there?

So, about the older actresses, I saw Prada last week and thought Streep was fascinating. As usual, a full character, even one so horrible that you find yourself stunned to feel sorry for her. That's a movie that should appeal to older audiences, it's smart and fizzy. But Streep remains the anomaly, the one actress of this generation that will work in every decade of her life. I can't see Julianne Moore doing roles in her sixties, but Streep will be popping up into her seventies. The sad fact is most movies, if we're hitting that hypothetical male 16-30 demo or whatever it is, are going to be about other men, be they young comics or older action heroes. If you continue that line of thought, who do these young men want to see the hero hooking up with? Not Julianne Moore. Julia Roberts is done with that role and so are Sarandon and Streep. Ensemble pieces are the best shot for these actresses (and audiences their age), but you won't have seven baby boomers in a cop thriller, in a romantic comedy or fighting a giant alien brainsucker (at least not in the last few minutes, you'd have seen five or six eaten by then), and when was the last summer ensemble piece you remember?

 
At 6:19 PM, Blogger Bill Cunningham said...

How do we serve older actresses and older audiences?

With fries and a side of cole slaw...

 
At 10:27 PM, Blogger Jodi Davis said...

Of the three - read to send out scripts I have:

1: 65yo, a 40yo, & a 25yo - and they get to be in the whole movie - not playing the younger versions of each other. And they talk to each other about something other than men.

2: 35-40yo main lead

3: 20ish and 30ish co female leads

Call me!

 
At 2:10 AM, Blogger Lucy said...

I don't know it works in the US, but in the UK you can't take children under 2 into cinemas and generally speaking, Brits can be pretty appalling to kids in general in cinemas (I had to have a go at a lone woman in Ice Age 2 recently for telling my son to "shut up" - you're in a matinee performance full of 4 - 8 yr olds love, get real!), so I think that may have something to do with it...I'd far rather watch a DVD at home now, less stressful - OF COURSE kids are going to ask questions when films are on, they're still forming their understanding of narratives. But that's why I think Hollywood targets younger people - they believe parents don't go to the cinema because they're not interested. They are. They either can't cos they have a baby under 2, find it too stressful because of unreasonable patrons or are too damn knackered to go out past 7pm. Thank god for DVD's - I just wish some of the people in them were older and I'm only 26.

 
At 7:01 AM, Blogger Thomas Crymes said...

knackered. Wonderful.

 
At 9:44 AM, Anonymous Franca said...

Julia Roberts might've made a good Lois Lane. Kate Bosworth was forgettable and boring. It would've also been good to see Lois age more vs. Superman.

Generally speaking, though, it seems like with the baby boomers growing in numbers in the age bracket you're concerned about, more movies are being created to serve them. Somthing's Gotta Give, and more of that ilk.

Box office vs. watching at home is probably a problem. The kinds of things that draw people to see something on the big screen (stuff blowing up, vistas, casts of 1000s) aren't things that are typically in a movie starring a 40+ year old woman.

The past Oscar season, though, was a good example of who's getting work: Of the 5 nominees for Best Actress, 3 were older, and 2 were in their 20s (Judi Dench, Felicity Huffman, Keira Knightley, Reece Witherspoon & Charlize Theron). Seems reasonable to me.

The Actor of the summer could be said to be Ian McKellan (in both Da Vinci Code, and Xmen 3), or Johnny Depp, who's no spring chicken either.

Maybe as Writers, we should ask ourselves what universally-appealing stories can be told with older people as the lead. A lot of story arcs focus on a time of great change for the protagonist, so ruling out 'coming of age' stories, what adventures can older characters undertake?

 
At 11:23 AM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

Given the vast number of screenplay contests proliferating today, it would seem natural to have one geared specifically toward films driven by female leads over the age of 40.

Not only might this encourage writers to pen these kind of scripts, it would bring attention to the kind of interesting stories that can indeed feature actresses of a certain age.

It's easy to imagine a lot of actresses' production companies being supportive of the idea too. Why wouldn't Meryl Streeps, Julia Roberts or Susan Sarandon's reps want to take a close look at the top-10 finishers of a contest like this?

Someone should grab this idea, and run with it (and if there is already a contest like this, they need a lot more publicity, because I haven't heard of it).

 
At 11:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why rule out coming of age stories???? There are many ways and stages of 'coming of age'.

What I wanted or needed - what I thought was most important in my life changed from 9 to 19 to 29 to 39 (ain't quite got to 49 yet so I'll have to let you know on that one).

What would I like to see? Well, I still love action stories - I just wish most of the action features HAD stories or were other than comic book characters and I'm sick to death of RE-MAKES. I don't want to see the Brady Bunch or Leave It to Beaver (no, not that kind of beaver!) or Mayberry RFD on the big screen. I want to see people my own age - who DON'T think they're too old to have a little fun. To go skydiving for the first time, to use their head and a bit of good old know-how to foil the bad guy (get even with that bastard at the bank would be good).....I think it'd would be great to see someone of an older persuasion driving a car faster than they should and shitting bricks while they do it! But doing it anyway cause they HAVE to get there...

In other words, I want to see people my age doing stuff I'd love to do - just like I did when I was 20 and 30...

Shell

 
At 2:17 PM, Blogger Bill Cunningham said...

Scott - think about what you're asking these actress's production companies to publicly support and portray themselves as - older women.

No one, man, woman, or in-between wants to be seen as old. Especially in the ego-fragile area of Hollywood.

It doesn't make sense, but it's true. (And yes, there are a few exceptions that prove the rule)

 
At 5:03 PM, Blogger Abe Burnett said...

Okay, so I've read the WHOLE darn thread (as good as it was it WAS long), so I think I'm familiar with the various perspectives.

Here's one I didn't see anyone else bring up:

I don't think that age is that massive of a factor. What IS the factor is a quality, entertaining story, good production values, and likable cast. Maybe I'm just an anomaly, but I've always liked good movies--regardless of how old, young, beautiful, or ugly their cast was.

When I read Scott's post I was thinking just how much I'd love to see more movies featuring older characters. I LOVED Something's Gotta Give, As Good As It Gets, Sabrina (with Harrison Ford), and virtually every other movie I can recall seeing which was well made, with older characters.

To me the problem isn't one of any specific demographic determined ONLY to watch a cast that mirrors the demographic; the problem is that Hollywood is looking to explain the success of movies to specific, predictable factors. It's far easier to say: Something's Gotta Give succeeded because we had something for everyone in it...those younger leads really captured the younger audience for us; far easier to say that than: Something's Gotta Give succeeded because of a plethora of variables (story, direction, cast, production, timing/relevancy) which are nearly impossible to recreate in the studio factory with any consistency. The strength, and incredible vulnerability of humanity is our need to explain everything...often inaccurately, incompletely, or completely incorrect.

So then, the problem is that somehow, INCREDIBLY, Hollywood STILL doesn't understand what makes a movie succeed: story, direction, cast, production, timing... Until Hollywood gets a grasp on that reality they'll keep churning out bombs and wondering why the latest rom com failed, or the latest action flick got no action at the BO, or why the only thrilling thing about the latest thriller was the zipping sound it made as it achieved terminal velocity downward--followed by the thud at the bottom.

Give me a great movie with a cast of ANY age (seriously), and even though I'm male, and 28 years old, I'll see it in the theater, and buy it on DVD.

The reality is that I know many avid film buffs that are 50+, 60+, 70+ and they see (or want to see) as many movies as I do. Those age groups have just as much time on their hands as teenagers, and just as much love for the magic of movies.

We're reduced to the sad reality that actresses--especially--and actors--to a lesser extent--have difficulty finding work once they hit forty...unless they look like they're thirty-two. I believe that eventually, when more of the Hollywood "yes" men are in their 40s and 50s and 60s we'll see a slow, but sure, shift to a great deal more films featuring older actors. The boomer market is exploding and the teenage/tweener/etc. market is diminishing (with the fall of the birthrate). Overseas there are countries where the majority of the population is old (50+).

I don't think I've had enough experience yet to do a legitimate, respectable job writing an older character, but as I age my characters certainly will too. Sure, maybe it will mean that I won't be as commercially/financially successful if I'm sixty writing movies about sixty year olds, but I don't write because of the financial rewards anyway (at least, not yet); besides, we writers need to write from our heart-of-hearts, the most honest and truthful part of our beings. If we're contriving stories about sixteen year olds, just because that's what we think is selling, then how Honest is that story going to be? I would imagine that it'd be relatively hollow.

 
At 5:23 PM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

Well, the sad reality too is that a bad movie with older actors is liable to tank, whereas a bad movie with younger actors will often still make money, particularly an action or horror film.

Too often Hollywood just plays it safe by making movies that will still make money even if they aren't very good.... and the older demographic is a lot pickier than the younger one.

 
At 2:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's an interestng new contest for UK playwrights just announced: (see:http://www.sphinxtheatre.co.uk/index.cfm?nid=730B26A5-2DED-408F-A915-7337D32C0452)

but yes a scriptwriters contest in a similar vein - would be great!

 

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