Indie scripts and new technology?

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Posted by bedii at on April 28, 2002 at 20:21:33:

Original screenplays seem to be where View Askew is strongest, but
since the "Non-Askew Summaries" lists various adaptations that
Kevin Smith has worked on I'll ask my question here. There are vast
amounts of script adaptations from books that don't get made for
various reasons. (The one I've heard the best things about but not
seen is the "Childhood's End" script from the '60's, the best one I've
read was Ellison's adaptation of Asimov's "I, Robot".) Disney's
attempts to do The Lord of The Rings but abandoning the project
when they "couldn't get a script for a film that wasn't rated PG or
higher" comes to mind.

Occasionally you find a book that odd enough it just goes out there
and sinks like a stone, so I'm glad that Kevin Smith was able to get
"Sex and Rockets" to the attention of someone willing to option it.
The other problem, it seems to me are the books that would take too
many resources to do.

For example: one of the best fantasies of the last quarter of the
Twentieth Century in my opinion is "Bridge of Birds" by Barry Hughart
which, as his first novel, won the World Fantasy Award--pretty damn
good pedigree. It's funny, heroic, a *wonderful* read, and the main
reason my wife-to-be took a second look at me after I gave it to her. (I
fit in the catagory of "Pleasantly Ugly.") Anyway, as I see it, it's got
three strikes against it as a American studio movie: It's set it China, it
takes place in AD 600, and there are a few hairsbreath escapes that
make Indiana Jones look like Encyclopedia Brown which woud be
hard to eliminate.

I can't picture a major studio in the U.S. making material like this
currently--they wouldn't want to spend the cash to make the
necessary "eye candy" to adapt it faithfully, and it's not something you
could throw the box office hunk or cutie of the year into. While View
Askew doesn't make effects pictures, and is well out of the
"struggling independent" phase, I'd like to know if anyone there thinks
the support technology level is getting cheap enough to allow
independent film folk (who take more risks than studio films do as far
as subject matter) to handle more visually elaborate films, or if
independent film needs to stay "quick and local" as most have in the

And, no, I am not related to or in the pay of Mr. Hughart. Although the
accounting department at DelRey Books must wonder why there's a
sudden peak in sales just before Christmas in the Seattle area. (His
luck with publishers is supposed to be the reason he's quit writing--
it's certainly why the trade paperback of his third book sells for up to
$75.00 a copy if you can find one.) Hell, if I buy and give away enough
copies maybe Hughart will make enough in royalties to get a car
wash or something...

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