#Screenwriting:#Television Reboots – Strikes One and Two For the Aspiring Screenwriter

I saw this in my Twitter feed about an hour ago. I’m not entirely surprised and I don’t think many others are, either. We’ve been seeing a lot of reboots, both on television and in the theaters as well.

Even as an aspiring screenwriter, I am not the type to automatically dismiss the idea of a reboot. I also don’t blame folks for the occasional rolling of the eyes as I do that myself at times. Speaking just for myself, I think the longer ago the original television show or movie was last seen, the longer the eye roll. I’m not a huge fan of modernization, especially for reboots. Maybe I’m just goofy in that way, but sometimes, it just ruins the experience.

The latest “Peanuts” movie is a great example to me where it was not modernized and I absolutely loved it. Not necessarily a reboot per se, because it’s a cartoon and it doesn’t often have the “dated” appearance as a rebooted television show would, if that makes sense. It’s a little hard to explain. It’s the same reason, I feel, The Simpsons doesn’t look horrible after 27 years (You don’t have to be a fan of the show to say this). There isn’t a sense of “growth” in animated movies/television shows, so each time you watch, there isn’t much expectation of the characters maturing in any way. Now, The Simpsons does stay with the times, but it being episodic (as opposed to the Peanuts franchise), this is more expected. It’s sort of like the Looney Tunes cartoons and characters. It would look weird to see them all talking on cell phones, using iPads and things like that, even if we got new installments of the original versions today. However, if it was shown once a week over the course of several years, not so much.

If all that makes sense.

Anyway, back to this quote about reboots being easier to market. I don’t disagree with that. I’ve read about that many times. It’s the same for movies. From what I understand, reboots are easier because the success has already been proven. Notice the abundance of the superhero remakes? It would make perfect sense to attempt to capitalize on prior success. It’s not a totally ridiculous concept.

Just think about buying something from the store. It could be anything. If you’re happy with it once or twice, there’s a much better chance you’ll buy it again.

However, sitting in the seat of the aspiring screenwriter as I am right now, I feel that the reboot is strikes one AND two against us, just from my perspective. Here’s why.

Strike One: We are unknown. There’s no way around that part of it, at least for the time being. I’m not pouting about that, because it’s something we all have to go through. We have to start somewhere. I understand that. Think about taking part in a road trip and you are flipping through stations to find good music to listen to. At that point, when you need to hear music, are you more likely to stop on a name you recognize, or someone you’ve never heard of? It doesn’t speak to the quality of the unknown singer, but many of us are simply that way. We’re comfortable with what we’re familiar with. This is part of what makes this journey toward becoming a screenwriter difficult; because we have to work our way to get people comfortable enough to want to be familiar with us as well.

Strike Two: We are encouraged to write original material. While that makes perfect sense, it goes against the idea of reboots being what television and movies are going for. In other words, we basically understand that this is what they’re doing, yet we’re encouraged to do something else. That makes me feel as if in some ways, we could be viewed as spinning our wheels. If a store specialized in selling, let’s say, candy. Yet, we are encouraged to create other items for that store to sell. I don’t believe it’s outrageous to feel that the story would not be quick to accept our items (quality aside at the moment) largely because for one, we’re not familiar to them and two, because we’re not developing what they’re looking for.

All that being said, I am largely looking to continue writing material as original as I can make it. And no, I don’t need any of my fellow writers to tell me that “nothing can be original.” Sure it can. But even if not, I’ll do my best to work on originality or put an original twist on a pre-existing concept. I just feel like that’s my best option as a new writer. Plus, it allows me to work on and enhance my creativity.

Good thing I absolutely LOVE writing, huh?










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