We’ve all heard it so much; ‘there are no original stories’. Writers who are keen enough to dig down and do some heavy lifting come up with a gem of original hooks and characters within their genre. This is what really sets apart the writers who succeed and those that just aspire.
I am currently juggling reading for two high-profile competitions, both of which received around 15% more scripts this year than last. Unfortunately, so far that has not translated to the same percentage of good material. After about 40 scripts that run the gamut of rom-com, drama, satire, period, western, action etc… the one that has received the highest score and was the most compelling read was a small zombie pic. Ugh. I’m not opposed to zombies as a concept but I think it’s a given that we’re all sick to death of them and their undead cousins the vampires.
So why do these somewhat stereotypical films continue to get made (and make money)?
5) The best horror or zombie scripts are short and action packed with sparse dialogue, all which makes them a quick read a plus for any recommendation.
4) The audience is always one step ahead of the protagonist.
3) The production cost CAN be kept extremely low which makes it much more likely to be produced.
2) There’s built in sequel potential with EVERY undead story.
#1) – the climax is a juicy pummeling courtesy of the hero’s pent up frustration and sheer will to survive. Let’s face it; it’s a pretty universal emotion to want to pulverize something into pink slime when they have pissed you off beyond the limits of rage and you want to move onto the next phase of your life – that’s a satisfying character arc FOR THE AUDIENCE as well as the hero.
Now, in the case of the one I just read, I don’t believe it’s ‘a winner’, however I was very impressed that the characters actually had some depth – they had baggage that helped drive their decisions and relationships, particularly their tendency to overlook the zombie in their lives.
You can have your very own zombie garden gnome at: