Quote of the day


There was a period in the 90s where I was writing a lot of science fiction screenplays because it was a popular genre. For the most part, a science fiction movie is really just an action movie that takes place in the future. Sure, there are exceptions like GATACA, but mostly you have TOTAL RECALL and JUDGE DREDD and TERMINATOR and I ROBOT and MINORITY REPORT. In a science fiction script you start with what one big thing makes the world different – Apes have taken over? Food shortage plus population boom so we all eat Soylent Green? The Zombie Apocalypse happened and now you are the Last Man On Earth? There are psychics who tell the police who to arrest before they commit the crime? There is one big change, which is tied to the theme (point) of your story.

–Bill Martell, screenwriter (and practical man)

4 thoughts on “Quote of the day

  1. Greg

    I think the time constraints on stories produced for the silver screen are one of the big reasons that this perspective 1-is largely true and 2-you don’t see that much variation in story structure and techniques in SF films. SF epics really work better on TV than they do as films.

  2. They work on TV as long as the structure is episodic. The traditional TV series needs self-contained stories that new viewers can jump into at any point in the season, or else they get themselves cancelled.

  3. Greg

    I agree, although for some reason certain series get away with less self-contained episodes (Stargate: Universe – I watched an episode and had no idea what was going on or why) while others with more episodic content get canceled (Firefly, though that cancellation was more likely due to other factors).

  4. I tried to get my buddy into FARSCAPE, but three seasons had already gone by and the backstory was just impossible to penetrate.

    Of course, things should be different now that people can watch whole seasons on DVD.

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