At the story conference for the Lone RangerI read a review of “The Lone Ranger” by Leonard Maltin that highlights most of the things that can and do go wrong with big summer movies. I’ve trimmed it down to Maltin’s key points. In italics I’ve written what I imagine might have been said at the script conference:

Why bother making a film called The Lone Ranger if your intention is to turn the famous hero into a doofus and his noble Indian friend into a wisecracking Greek chorus? You still ought to provide the audience with someone to root for…

The Lone Ranger is corny! Let’s make him a big lug and the joke is that Tonto is actually smarter than him.

He [Tonto] is played mostly for laughs, like Jack Sparrow. Except he’s not all that funny.

If we just leave Johnny Depp alone he’ll do his funny voices and funny faces and stuff. For God’s sake, don’t let anybody stop him from doing his shtick!

Helena Bonham Carter turns up, briefly and inexplicably as a dance-hall madam with a high-tech shooting device for a leg.

There’s gotta be a girl in there somewhere. And we gotta give her a gimmick!

Nothing much makes sense—like Tonto dragging an unconscious Ranger through a fresh pile of horse dung.

I got a great idea for a joke: The Lone Ranger is unconscious, see, and Tonto has to drag him out of the way, so he drags him through this huge pile of horseshit! Hahahahahah! What do you mean that doesn’t make sense? It’s funny!

Everything is impressively staged on an enormous scale…

Kids don’t want to see just a bunch of guys riding around on horses! It has to look like an action picture! Think big! Think explosions! Think loud!

The long, climactic chase scene is jammed with the kind of overblown CGI stunts that render everything unreal and, therefore, unexciting.

We need a big chase scene for the finish! Pretend you’re writing a Die Hard movie, but more, longer, louder!

There’s nothing remotely genuine or sincere about The Lone Ranger [movie].

I am genuinely convinced this thing will generate huge bucks! I sincerely believe in these characters, this story, and especially in you, the writers–without you, we’re nothing! Now get outta here and write a masterpiece! (The writers leave the room. To an assistant:) Get me a list of writers who can replace these assholes if they don’t do what I tell them!

Jurgen Wolff has written more than 100 episodes of TV, the mini-series “Midnight Man,” starring Rob Lowe, the feature film “The Real Howard Spitz,” starring Kelsey Grammar, and books including “Your Writing Coach” and “Your Creative Writing Masterclass.”  His next online Massive Action Day, on Sat. July 27, is free to Raindance Premium members.

mm

About 

Jurgen Wolff is a writer whose credits include "Family Ties," "Benson," "Love Boat," "Relic Hunter," and the film, "The Real Howard Spitz," starring Kelsey Grammer. I also wrote two TV movies for the Olsen twins back when they were just millionaires instead of billionaires, and the mini-series, "Midnight Man," starring Rob Lowe. Jurgen has been a script doctor on numerous projects.

His books include, "Focus: the power of targeted thinking" (Pearson 2008), "Your Writing Coach" (Nicholas Brealey, 2007) and "Do Something Different" (Virgin Business Books, 2005). He has two more coming out in 2009, "Marketing for Entrepreneurs" and "Creativity Now" (both from Pearson). Previous books also include "Successful Scriptwriting," "Successful Sitcom Writing," and "Top Secrets: Screenwriting." My ebook Time Management for Writers, is available from my website, www.TimetoWrite.com.

Jurgen teachs writing workshops internationally, and divide my time between London and Southern California. He teaches Script Coach at Raindance