Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I had just finished a 104-page draft of my latest action story which started with the basic idea of bounty hunter chicks who blow a lot of shit up. Typically, what starts out as something that simple and I start reading, researching and mapping out a plot, it usually evolves into something more complex. As a spec writer, it seems like we have to worry much more about character, structure and plot than what we finally see as a final product in movies these days. It’s not that everything out of Hollywood sucks, but scripts usually devolve into something more simplistic to appeal to a mass audience. I suppose it also helps that they have the millions of dollars in their arsenal and the external gimmick of action and effects will supersede everything that spec writers have to prove they can do on the page. It’s not like I don’t like simple action movies, but it just better be one kickass action flick if the structure and everything else is going to suffer.

The tough part about writing an action script and trying to make it look exciting on the page is that you don’t have the visceral imagery to pull you in. Most of the time you have to pull back on how it would actually be shot or seen so you can minimize black pages because at this point in screenwriting you have to appease the readers who theoretically should be concerned about the basic 3-act structure because much of the time their knowledge on that is only limited to the Syd Field’s Screenplay 101 paradigm to every dotted I and crossed T. Unless we’re producing and directing our own projects, the struggle of a spec writer is writing something that can get past those underpaid readers. So, in some ways you have to convince them you know what you’re doing with the first page.  

The plus side is that I can write whatever the fuck I want and the way I want.

[ This was a like to download the first 30 pages, but since I'm redrafting the script, it's no longer available.  Sorry, but will repost soon. ]

The Crackerjacks. At one time this was called The Collision Twins because originally it was about two women who were so similar in behavior and dialogue that they would seemingly be best friends, but just couldn’t stand each other at all and fumble through the plot. As a conceit as a spec writer I then realized that when readers would read the dialogue one of the responses I could get, “The dialogue between the two women are too similar that they seem like twins.” So, I did the buddy thing and decided to differentiate them in ways to make them separate entities. This also expanded my plot and more characters were added. With a wide array of characters who were all the best at what they do, the story became about all of them—the crackerjacks.

The Heroes:

Caroline Gravenhurst. She was an ex-CID special agent who had been unjustly blamed for a slush fund conspiracy that got her kicked out of the military along with the resident villains (Uncle Brickface and Buck Naked) based on the false testimony of Colonel Charles Bruckner. The only line of work that she could remotely find that had anything to do with law was a fugitive recovery agent where she did well for herself.

Sheena Bruckner. Originally named Betty Bruckner, but because of my disdain for Betty Draper on Mad Men, I changed it. So, you may see in my Facebook page a lot of art where Sheena is called Betty. But in the end, the script calls for her to be named Sheena. Anyway, she’s ex-Army Colonel Charles Bruckner’s daughter who has gotten mixed up in Whitley Bruckner’s (her brother) bail fiasco that was supposed to be kept out of the press, but when Caroline is hired to track down Whitley Bruckner, Sheena is a step ahead to try and keep her brother out of jail. Then Whitley goes missing Caroline and Sheena are forced together to track him down before the likes of Uncle Brickface gets to him.

Brunt Tabernacle. The young rookie who was originally used to communicate to the audience how the bounty hunting game works, but he became more useful as the plot started to develop.

The Villains:

Uncle Brickface. Uncle Brickface was a character I wrote about before back in 1999 in a script called The Flies of MegaWatt Lounge, but I’ve retired that script as I realized it needed a major re-write especially how my writing style changed not to mention so many movies have come out that have either have completely similar scenes like the freeway chase in The Matrix Reloaded or the basic plots. He was a gangster who had stolen a lot of money from gangsters to become this criminal mastermind to rule all over other criminal entities. He’s not much different here this time around either. Only he’s stealing money from government slush funds to go after a corrupt colonel who used these funds for his illegal purposes.

Buck Naked. He was originally a subordinate character to Uncle Brickface, but as his character fleshed out he became much more of a reluctant villain as his family is held hostage to hunt down the son of the colonel that burned Uncle Brickface.

Versus. She evolved as well. She was originally a sniper that accompanied Buck Naked and would take out undesirables from a distance if Buck Naked ever gave a certain signal. But then working her into the plot became much harder because of page count, I kept her close to Uncle Brickface’s security team.

Stuff I Read and Researched While Preparing to Write The Crackerjacks

I read Modern Bounty Hunting by Rex Venator and You Can Run But You Can’t Hide by Duane “Dog” Chapman. The Helicopter Pilot's Companion: A Manual for Helicopter Enthusiasts by Helen Krasner, Principles of Helicopter Flight by W. J. Wagtendonk and much of my research was done through articles on certain subjects online. I watched Family Bonds and a lot of Dog the Bounty Hunter. Also watched a lot of strange CID investigation videos that I happened to acquire while visiting their official website. 


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