Steal my screenplay ideasLet’s face it, you want to be a filmmaker but you’re just not clever enough to come up with a good idea. Maybe it’s not that you’re not clever enough but you stare at the screen in a darkened theatre, numbed and dumbfounded by the shite passing before your eyes, yet when you sit down to write your own epic, we’re talking creative constipation. Then you throw on Stars Wars (the original before computer graphics) and you say to yourself, ‘I could have made this movie’. But the problem is that you were too lazy, or too drugged up, or only five years old that year.

Everybody’s got their excuses. So why not steal other people’s ideas? Everybody is doing it, it’s all the rage. Think of the wealth of ideas out there. Kings and Queens, phantoms and warlocks, children with spikes in their heads chanting verse from the sacred text of Clifford the Big Red Dog. It’s all been done before, at least in practice. So here am I, alas, publishing an idea that I’m pretty sure would make you at least $1 million (Canadian). At the bare least it should get you deported. Hey, you’ll get a free trip home though. Think about it, so many people get rich off of other people’s ideas – Elvis Presley, Bill Gates, Thomas Edison, Steve Guttenberg (probably). So why not you?

Here’s the problem.

I’m a lazy bastard. Kind of. Well maybe that’s a bit harsh. I have these ideas for films I’d like to see but in the end, I’m just too damn indifferent to go out and get the shit done. So I was at the Raindance Film Festival last year hanging out at that party where you pitch ideas and win money if the panel selects your idea and if your pitch is good. I think it’s called Live!Ammunition! but I’m not sure as I was on the verge of death that night and very busy spreading some bio-warfare around (American flu). But anyway, it dawned on me that anyone could have been sitting in that room and picked up a couple of the few good ideas and stolen them for themselves. And then I realised that I would be perfectly okay with that. A good idea should be owned by nobody. A shit idea is the only idea someone should put their name to. So if one thing is that I have this idea for a film that I think is good and another thing is that I don’t have the willpower to make that film, then why should I protect that idea? I’m publishing this idea in the hope that the people who read it will take it from me, do what they want, and gimme a call when it’s finished because I really would like to see it. Oh yeah, I would like a cameo in it too. But I am the worst actor in the history of cinema, refer to the epilogue of The Toxic Avenger Part IV.

Lo To No Budget Filmmaijng with Elliot GroveHere’s my concept:

My concept stripped down to one line presents God and the Devil as rival capitalists – the way I understand them – with two competing companies, Heaven and Hell. We’ll need a tagline. I’ll try to think one up by the end of the article. Something like ‘The road to Hell is paved with -‘ or ‘The road to success is paved with – ’ I’m usually real good with those things.

Here’s the treatment: the film is dedicated to the workers of the world who wanted nothing else in life than to be the best they could and instead met nothing but adversity on their way. This is the story of God and Lucifer. God is the CEO and owner of Heaven Inc. His number one VP is Lucifer. Lucifer has proved himself to be a very cunning businessman and has brought Heaven to a new and very prosperous level. Lucifer is very excited about his position and because he has worked his ass off for a million years, he makes a humble proposal to God to let him be a partner. God listens to the proposal very seriously and when Lucifer has finished he mockingly laughs his ass off. It’s a really exaggerated laugh implying that no matter how hard he works, there is no chance of further advancement.

Lucifer leaves the office sad and dejected. He sulks. In the days that pass, we see a decline in his attitude. He has shifted from ace employee to the ultimate disgruntled worker. He gathers with his pals and spreads rumours about God and the coffee girl and how Heaven is doing real bad and unless he takes it over they’ll all be out of work. They are convinced that unless they take God out of the chairman’s seat, they’ll all starve.

One of Lucifer’s pals knows of a room on the 13th floor where the ‘The Truth Files’ are kept. In this file they find years of scandal that could bring the company to its knees. Stories of God’s masochistic relationship with a minimum wage worker named Job, another story where he’d asked one of his janitors, Abraham, to kill his own son. Then they strike gold. They decide to blackmail God with photos of him and his client, Mary, whom they say he raped and impregnated.

Unfortunately, Michael, a goody-two-shoes, overhears them and warns the boss. As they put their plan into action God shows up with his guys and cuts them off. When Lucifer confronts God on his blackmail claim, God is smirking. He explains that he and his henchman Gabriel have convinced Mary to go along with his version of the story which states that they planned to have a child. He has even twisted the story so that he comes out as the hero and claims her pregnancy a miracle. Heaven’s stock is doing better than ever. Having a son can only be good for business.

Kicked out onto the street, Lucifer’s followers are upset with him but he tells them not to worry. He plans on starting his own company to put God out of business. They start a campaign for their new company, Hell. They promote themselves as the first alternative to the monopolised morality market. Their image is much edgier and more proactive then the stiff and corporate approach of Heaven. At first Hell appears to be a failure. Lucifer can’t get anyone to switch over from Heaven. On the brink of economic ruin, Lucifer comes up with a new angle. He discovers a way that he can get people to switch companies involuntarily by creating a new product. He calls the product Sin. People are buying into Hell without even knowing it. Hell slowly begins to put God out of business. This starts a major product war between the two. Feeling the capitalistic crunch, God counteracts Sin with his new product Punishment. It seems to work well but Lucifer, ever cunning, puts out a huge campaign for his latest product Fear. Because people are only buying into Punishment out of Fear it winds up cancelling out all of the good fortune God had earned.

At this point, Mary has given birth to their son, Jesus – the perfect thing to boost God’s business. It’s just what he’s been waiting for, a newer, younger face and voice for his company. Though God is not actively involved in Jesus’ life, the kid feels obligated to his demanding father. God sends him to mingle with the public and do some market research.

Lucifer spots the shakey, dysfunctional relationship the son and father have and does everything he can to exploit it. Lucifer wants nothing more than to hire Jesus. Jesus is well- liked amongst the people and he is gaining real political clout. But despite all his success he is a bit angry at his father because, though his father is leader of a powerful force in economy, Jesus is still poverty-stricken and relegated to the dregs of mankind. He is basically the abandoned bastard child of a very rich man. But for one reason or another, he is subservient to his father and therefore averts Lucifer’s temptations.

At this point, using his father’s good name, Jesus is rising the political ranks very quickly. He is billed as a good, clean, honest politician and things are looking up for both him and for his father’s company. But political rivalry has caused a decline in his popularity. Remaining true to his ethics, his popularity begins to fade, and furthermore, animosity begins to take shape toward him from the public. One night, while out at the bar with twelve of his closest friends and advisors, he’s getting pretty drunk on wine. He is reaching a low point and is clearly depressed. When he leaves the bar, his party hear a gunshot. There then lies Jesus, victim of a political assassination. Lucifer reads the news and is stunned. Right away, he is blamed for this travesty. He is clearly moved by this accusation and explains that he had nothing to do with it. God is in Heaven and takes the position that while Lucifer might be the prime suspect, the entire public should be ashamed. Very soon God realises that he has the perfect product to get his company back on top – Guilt.

The Directors Vision in me

And as for style: a film like this could really benefit from a surreal look about it. The overall feel should be what hackneyed critics might call ‘off-beat’. I was thinking very opulent sets and stage settings. For example, when Hell release their first product, the city should have a post- modern look to it with old fashioned Times Square (Piccadilly Circus) style billboards advertising ‘Sin’. Everything should have a dreamlike feel to it.

Also it’s very important to be clever with the dialogue. Picture Satan being played by James Cagney. The script should be funny, outrageous and offensive, keep that in mind when you start writing it. Check out a movie called Motorama to get the mood correct.

Maybe for a tagline – ‘Success has both a high road and a low road’. But I’m not married to that one. I’m sick so my brain ain’t working to full genius potential. Maybe ‘The road to Hell is paved with good publicity’ – yeah I like that one a lot better. I dunno – anyway, I hope there’s someone out there who’s willing to run with this idea. I really think it’d make a good film. And if you don’t like this one you can always try one of the less intellectual ideas below. 

MR BUBBLES


A convicted serial killer is used as a test subject for a new government weapon called The Ultra-Pneumatic Raygun. When shot by its ray, the killer turns into a bubbling pile of festering mush. When the government scientists dispose of the ‘waste’ in a local river, they don’t realise that the mound of mush is actually a living blob. As the blob kills and devours various people, it regenerates and begins to reform into a super-human killing machine. Will special agent Jim Tigger be able to stop this bubbling menace before he takes over the world?

DEMON MULCH


Jealous of humans, a young demon in Hell asks Satan to let him go up to earth and live amongst the humans. Satan agrees, but upset by the fact that the demon wished to leave his dominion, he sends him directly into a wood chipper. The demonically possessed mulch then finds its way into a small town and demons begin to grow out of the foliage. It’s up to special agent Jim Tigger and his beautiful girlfriend Tammy Tits to take down these flowers of ultimate deception

THE MIND WANDERS


After getting into a fight with his girlfriend, this kid speeds away on his motorcycle. Driving recklessly, he hits a wall and cracks open his skull. His brain is thrown from his skull and by a miracle, functions as its own entity. The problem is, it needs a home, and by home I mean a new skull to live in. Using telepathy, the brain commands innocent people to perform unspeakable acts, and by unspeakable acts I mean it makes them chop open another person’s head and put the brain in there only for the brain to find out that it doesn’t really fit. And so a slew of grizzly murders catch the attention of special agent Jim Tigger. It’s down to him along with a little help from his live-in girlfriend Chesty McBoobs to find this metal menace. The tagline: ‘The most thoughtful horror film ever made’

COMMANDER COMA


Having just finished his vocal demo and hoping his musical career is about to take off, young Petie is caught in a random shootout. He is rushed to the hospital and put on life support while his body falls into a deep coma. Then because it’s a very slow news week, the media decide to make a hard luck story out of Petie’s situation, exploiting the demo tape (which is indescribably awful) and playing it every half-hour. Petie, while in the coma, becomes an overnight success. The media create a huge star out of the unlucky singer. As time goes by, people become very sick of the one-hit wonder and like all flash-in-the-pan artists, the public begin to turn on him. After a while Petie wakes from his coma and while perusing the record store, sees a CD with his portrait on the cover, titled simply ‘Commander Coma’. When he brings it to the counter, the salesgirl thinks its some kind of joke and explains the history of the song and its artist (Petie). Thrown into depression at how hated he is by the fickle public, he tries to make a comeback but is met with adversity at every corner. Unable to deal with the cruel business of entertainment, Petie kills himself. After his suicide, ironically there’s a huge resurgence of interest in Petie the vocalist – aka Commander Coma. Then special agent Jim Tigger comes out and dances the macarena