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Screenwriting Help E-Mail (Previous)

Updated every Monday, one selected e-mail will be posted and answered here each week. With many years of experience in the film and television business, I look forward to providing answers to your questions about screenwriting or the entertainment industry in general.  Please send your e-mailed questions to: Script Advisor.  You may also wish to visit our Screenwriting Help E-Mails - The Archives.

This week's question: 

DcH, I know you only like to talk about the screenplay of a movie, so what's wrong with Annapolis?

Derek Conrad from Pennsylvania

This week's Answer: 

Nothing New In The Navy

Derek, I appreciate your e-mail.  I'm not sure what's wrong with Annapolis.  I haven't been there.   (I'm more marine and army and coastguard than navy.  I like green and brown better than blue.)  But if you're referring to the recent film, Annapolis, and are inquiring what is wrong with the script of the same, I shall do my best.  Answer:  Just about everything.  Well, maybe not everything.  Almost everything.  How's that?

The main problem (and it's a big main problem) is that there is absolutely nothing -- I repeat:


new in this story.  Nothing.  And, if anything has a semblance of newness, it's probably only cunningly appearing new while all along it's actually not.  My question is, "Did the writer just take "An Officer and a Gentleman," drain all the life and color out of it, mix in a little faux The Dear Hunter dreary environs, a dash of Rocky, and actually expect us to swallow this sentimental and superficial tale?"  Just how did the meeting with the writer and producer go?  Maybe it went something like this:

Producer:  I like the story.  But we're going to need a minority guy who is fat and can't make the grade.

Writer:  Great idea, C.B.

Producer:  He can pal up with the leading guy who wears white in the end and graduates to the next level at Annapolis.

Writer:  Love it.

Producer:  Have the fat, minority guy not pass his final physical test and be so upset that he commits suicide.

Writer:  Uh... That's already been done.

Producer:  Yeah, but this guy will commit suicide and live!

Writer:  Perfect.  What else should I write?

Producer:  Well, you're going to need the proverbial misunderstanding father who will finally, in the end, understand.

Writer:  I understand.

Producer:  And a female officer who falls in love with the lead, who doesn't want to fight in the ring, but finally does even though the story opens with him fighting in the ring.

Writer.  Excellent.  That'll confuse 'em.

Producer.  Yes, it will.  And that's exactly what we want..... Hmmmm.  Annapolis.  Nobody knows what or where that is.  That's a problem for the younger demographic.

Writer:  True.

Producer.  I know.  Let's, instead, call it "Mini-Annapolis."

Writer:  Brilliant!  And the sequel will be called, "Maxi-Annapolis"!

Producer:  Perfect.  Start on that today.



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