Steampunk Star Wars and Why Movie Writing Can Suck

It’s a busy time here at Live Granades, what with March Madness and work and playing Caribou with my son, so in lieu of real content I give you links to other people’s content.

First, Steampunk Star Wars. Eric Poulton, an artist for computer games, is busily re-imagining Star Wars as filtered through the lens of SF in a Victorian England milieu. His art is great and his descriptions of the characters fun. And plus a million points for Lord Vader’s Phlogisticated Aether Torch, better known as the phlogisabre.

Second, John Rogers explains arbitration letters, which help determine who gets writing credit for a movie. I’ve been reading Rogers’s blog since I saw the unaired Global Frequency pilot that he was showrunner for and loved it. His blog is insightful and fun to read, and often gives me glimpses into what it’s like to write for TV and movies. But if you look at his IMDB page, you’ll see that he’s credited with the scripts for The Core and Catwoman.

Catwoman!

So when I introduce his blog to people and describe John Rogers, I’m always a little apologetic about that point. No longer.

The main reason people want credit on a movie is not for bragging rights or employment; everybody in Hollywood knows what kind of writer you are based on your scripts circulating through the studio system. Which is the answer, by the way, to the question I get on an almost weekly basis in my e-mail: “How the hell are you still working?” Nobody in Hollywood blames me for CATWOMAN, because they all like the other scripts I’ve written. Particularly the unmade ones. Hell, I’ve gotten hired on stuff because of my early, unmade version* of the CATWOMAN script. So there you go. Welcome to Oddsville.

I always knew that in the arbitration stage people’s names could be added to or taken off the writing credits. That’s what happened to Joss Whedon for Speed, after all. But Rogers’s article underscores what a strange, screwed-up system arbitration is.

So, two links for you. Go read them. Be entertained and enlightened.