Paramount’s PARANORMAL business model – Think Small

 Indiewire and Bartlett’s Screenwriting Tips (via John Horn) had the scoop – that Paramount, inspired by their success with PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, the film “with a production budget of $15,000…  one of the most profitable films in Hollywood history“, will not only pick up the filmmaker’s next film AREA 51; they are apparently keen on setting up a new arm for movies budgeted at less than $100,000.

“The as-yet-unnamed division’s initial plan is to finance as many as 20 “micro-budget” movies annually starting in 2010, Adam Goodman, president of Paramount’s film group, said Thursday.”

The best ones will most likely be given a theatrical exhibition in theaters equipped to show digital movies, enabling a lower cost distribution model than the expense of producing multiple film prints; and marketed without costly television commercials, print ads etc, instead relying on word-of-mouth. At the moment one will assume that the new initiative will be aimed at established talent, but there’s no reason why more breakthrough talent can’t make it. So dust off those Micro budget ideas folks!

R.I.P Dan O’Bannon!

Dan O’Bannon – ALIEN scribe is dead.  The World should definitely mourn the loss of one artist. Dan O Bannon

Until I started teaching myself about screenwriting, he was just a name on a poster. I mean I didn’t even really realise that people wrote screenplays; before I was first told that in order to make a film I needed a screenplay. I mean you just went to the cinema and the films just magically happen. Right? They all just show up on set and make it up as they go along. Right? At least that is what Hollywood often wants us to believe, with the cult of the Director and the purported talent of certain actors. God forbid, the stories are crafted by artisans…

I knew he had something to do with ALIEN and RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, DARK STAR and LIFEFORCE but I had no clue as to what contribution he made, or how much of a difference he made; how significant was he?

And then one day I read the screenplay to ALIEN.  For me it was a life changing experience. I can’t really describe it, but the economic, unflowery and effective prose really spoke to me. Again, I wasn’t sure who (of all of the people involved in that screenplay) really was responsible, but I took notice and I read a few more screenplays that he had a hand in. Each one, was its own piece of work, but each had a unique power and economy that really spoke to me, even if the end film didn’t really have the same effect. Inspired by that, by the power of his prose, I tore the hell out of two feature screenplays trying to cut each one down to its purest and most economic form. But they were pale imitations at best, when compared to this man’s work. It is something I find myself continually revisiting and constantly chasing – an elusive muse.

It will be a crime if others do not mourn his passing. I know I have lost an unofficial mentor. I will still revisit his scripts and chase a fraction of their power.