WriteMovies Director Ian Kennedy explores the works of Stan Lee and why superhero stories unleash our imaginations better than any other kind of stories…
At the heart of every superhero story is a central question that fires our imaginations every time, and nobody took it further than Stan Lee. The extraordinary array of well-known characters he brought into the world, which return again and again across many formats and platforms, is testament to that.
Cosmic stories like the creation of the universe are just too big to really relate to as stories, at least in the scientific telling – but many mythologies and religions make these stories relatable by ascribing these vast events to recognisably humanized figures. Gods like Zeus/Jupiter and Odin/Woden are presented like more powerful versions of human beings, able to shape the world with their powers and the sometimes arbitrary logic of their choices and lives; ancient heroes like Hercules and Beowulf are humans but given extra powers or significance. Superhero stories are clearly following in this tradition – and grasp towards almighty powers at times (DOCTOR STRANGE, CAPTAIN MARVEL, The Phoenix in X-Men).
By bringing these forces down (or up – SPIDER-MAN!) to our scale, we get to explore how people like us would act if they were capable of so much more than we are. It’s no coincidence that the modern superhero genre and many of its biggest characters have their origins in the Great Depression – when ordinary people were powerless against global economic forces. The flimsy justifications that the storytellers find for giving these figures their powers, are really just an excuse to let our imaginations run riot, and are quickly delivered and forgotten about in most of the origin stories, so that we can get onto the fun and exciting bit.
Nobody grasped the potential of these stories more, or took them further, than Stan Lee and the teams of writers and illustrators and filmmakers who he has worked with – the list of now-famous characters he created is vast. But at the heart of all these stories is just one very powerful central question, which is deceptively simple but really fires our imaginations. “What would you do if you could…?”
Superheroes and supervillains both play out these powers and their potentials and hazards throughout every story. Here are some of our favorites at WriteMovies from Stan Lee’s creations.
If you could… move and sling webs like a spider!
On the one hand, Peter Parker is just an ordinary teenager, worried about the same kind of things as any other teenager – on the other, he finds himself equipped with the awesome powers that make him SPIDER-MAN. We can all relate to his troubles at school while rooting for him to become a true superhero as he learns an important lesson: “with great power comes great responsibility”.
If you could… fly around in an armored suit!
IRON MAN’s Tony Stark is basically another Bruce Wayne, but with much quirkier personality. As an outright arms manufacturer, he’s also more morally compromised than Wayne. While Wayne has an orphan sob-story, Stark has an ego. And unleashing an ego that size, on a suit that powerful, creates excellent conflict throughout – so much so that in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, he can fight against many of our other heroes, without losing our empathy.
If you could… use you other senses to fight despite being blind!
DAREDEVIL has found immense success on Netflix, and with good reason. Matt Murdock is a deep, conflicted character, living in a world of darkness after being blinded as a child. With his other senses heightened, the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen is so captivating because he doesn’t just overcome his physical disability but turns it into a strength, proving that anyone – even someone who is blind – can become a superhero.
If you could… shrink to the size of an ant!
Scott Lang may be a former criminal, but his desire to reform himself makes us support him all the same. As ANT-MAN, he proves that even the smallest person can make a huge difference – and all while showing us a crazy world around us too small for us to even see!
Stan Lee has given us plenty of amazing creations over the years, and the world is a lesser place without him. Take a look too at our thoughts on two films based on his other superheroes, THOR: RAGNAROK and BLACK PANTHER!
We’ve been hard at work lately having pitching scripts to industry, having pitch meetings with producers and distributors about our many projects! Alex and Ian had a productive meeting at BAFTA recently, discussing the slate and future opportunities. So, what have we been up to? Let’s take a look…
We’ve also recently had pitch meetings with many companies including Film4 and several of our winners’ projects have been going from strength to strength!
We guarantee pitching to industry for the top three scripts from our competition – so enter our Winter 2019 Screenwriting Contest today from just $44, and you can follow in the footsteps of our past winners and get your script out there!
Our International Screenwriting Contest isn’t just for full length screenplays – we accept short scripts as well! In our Spring 2018 Contest, the winner of Best Short Script also made it all the way to the semi-finals: ROLL WITH IT by Rosie Byrnes!
As most of our readers know, writing a screenplay is tough work that takes diligence, planning, and a whole lot of hours spent typing. It might seem like writing a short script is easier, but it brings with it an entire set of challenges you won’t find elsewhere. Imagine trying to cram a 120 page story into 10 pages and you’ll see how difficult it is!
Congratulations to Rosie for winning in this category; her script charmed us with its rich story, likeable characters, and colorful concepts. She now receives a copy of our Confidential Studio Manual and exclusive previews of our Virtual Film School as her prizes, plus a set of Development Notes to give her professional feedback on her work.
Read on to find out more about this short script which captured our hearts: ROLL WITH IT!
Here’s Rosie’s summary of her script…
“Max is the king of the roller disco, and he knows it—that is, until the spunky (and far more admirable) Lucy arrives at the rink. His crown threatened, Max challenges her to the ultimate dance-off. But he’s in over his head, and finds that he’s head over heels for the gal who knows what it means to be groovy.”
And a short biography of Rosie, too…
“Rosie Byrnes is a writer, a second grade teacher, and a notorious ice cream lover. Originally from Colorado but currently residing in Tainan City, Taiwan, Rosie has spent most of her life writing outlandish stories. Only after following her crush into a college screenwriting class did she realize that, hey, it’s actually pretty neat. Her most recent passion project is a feature-length screenplay about Bigfoot (who’s a big softie, deep down), and she currently holds the “Worst Female Bowler” title in her hometown’s championship.
Rosie can be found on Twitter via the username @rosiebwrites.”
Rosie has won previews of the WriteMovies Academy, and Phase 1 opens on September 15th – join now to take your work to take your screenwriting and production skills to the next level!
The winner of our Best Stageplay Award in our Spring 2018 Contest also made it all the way to the final, receiving an Honorable Mention: THE CRACK IN PEGGY SUE’S FLOOR, by John Woodard!
Our congratulations to John for this achievement; stageplays are judged on their screen potential but equally the quality of the writing. “Viability” is the deciding factor here! John now receives a copy of our Confidential Studio Manual and exclusive previews of our Virtual Film School as his prizes.
Read on to find out about the stageplay which took the prize in this category: THE CRACK IN PEGGY SUE’S FLOOR!
Here’s John’s summary of his script…
“In 1944 racist Georgia, a black drifter saves a white recluse by killing her lecherous neighbor — setting in motion a chain of deadly events while uncovering secrets better left hidden.”
And a short biography of John, too…
“John Woodard is a multiple award winning screen, teleplay, and stageplay play writer living in Los Angeles, Ca.. Winner of The 2016 Beverly Hills Theatre Guild Youth Theatre Award for his play “The Princess Parodies.” John has written screen and teleplays in a variety of genres that have all gone on to win various contests, including The Scriptapalooza Grand Jury Prize, Several Nicholl Fellowship finalists, Rhode Island International Grand Jury Prize, 2nd Place Story Pros Screenplay Contest, Page and Page International and many others.
John looks forward to seeing the first production of “The Crack in Peggy Sue’s Floor” on stage as well as his screenplays on the big screen!“
If you’ve got a stageplay that would adapt well to the screen, why not commission our help to get it there?
With our Summer Offers running until 31st August 2018, you can get all the professional feedback you need at great prices – take a look at our Script Report services!
We are delighted to announce the winners of our Spring 2018 Screenwriting Contest!
We’ve read many fantastic scripts over the last few months, but at long last, our Spring 2018 Contest comes to a close. In every genre and in every format, there have been many scripts that shone – but we’ve finally managed to decide on our winners!
A massive thanks to everyone who entered, and who gave us so much great material to read! If you want to find out why your script placed where it did in our competition, we strongly encourage you to take advantage of our Script Report services – which are currently on special offer until 31st August 2018!
Our Grand Prize Winner walks away with:
- $2000 cash prize
- A year of script and pitching development worth $3200
- Exclusive previews of our Virtual Film School and a copy of our Confidential Studio Manual
And the top three submissions all receive:
- Guaranteed pitching and promotion to the top of the film industry
- Exclusive prizes from InkTip – an InkTip Script Listing and the winning scripts’ loglines will be featured in InkTip’s Magazine, read by thousands of writers and producers.
So, a huge congratulations to our GRAND PRIZE WINNER:
A great win for Christopher, and a thrilling script with strongly voiced characters. Christopher now takes home those wonderful prizes listed above.
But we must also congratulate our SECOND PLACED WINNER:
And our THIRD PLACED WINNER:
FIRE ON THE ISLAND
Timothy Jay Smith
A round of applause also for our Honorable Mentions: BLUT WIRD FLIEßEN by Urs Aebersold, LOVERS IN PARIS by Andy Conway, THE CRACK IN PEGGY SUE’S FLOOR by John Woodard, THE UNDERTAKER’S CHILDREN by Natasha Le Petit, THE ELECTRIC WAR by Arthur Tiersky, and HOLLYWOOD’S MOST WANTED: I’M READY FOR MY CLOSE-UP, ESE by Manny Jimenez Sr.
A very well done to everyone named here and the many other impressive scripts we read this time around. It’s been a tough field to choose from! See the results in full below.
We’ll be telling you all about our winners in the coming weeks, and getting their script development phase underway.
Head to our Facebook page and our Twitter feed to congratulate our top three winners and Honorable Mentions yourself!
Here are the Spring 2018 Screenwriting Contest Winners and Honorable Mentions…
||GRAND PRIZE WINNER
by Christopher Thomas
by Thomas Zmiarovich
||FIRE ON THE ISLAND
by Timothy Jay Smith
|BLUT WIRD FLIEßEN
by Urs Aebersold
|LOVERS IN PARIS
by Andy Conway
|THE ELECTRIC WAR
by Arthur Tiersky
|THE UNDERTAKER’S CHILDREN
by Natasha Le Petit
|HOLLYWOOD’S MOST WANTED:
I’M READY FOR MY CLOSE-UP, ESE
by Manny Jimenez Sr
|THE CRACK IN PEGGY SUE’S FLOOR
by John Woodard
We announced the winner of our Best Book award a short while ago, along with our Quarter-Finalists: BLUT WIRD FLIEßEN by Urs Aebersold!
Our congratulations to Urs for winning in this category, in which we assess both the quality of the writing itself and also its potential for screen adaptation. He now receives a copy of our Confidential Studio Manual and exclusive previews of our Virtual Film School as his prizes.
Read on to find out more about the script which so drew our attention: BLUT WIRD FLIEßEN!
Here’s Urs’ summary of his script…
“Several mysterious suicides are disturbing police detective Nina Brandner – and when her partner dies in the same way, she is certain it is murder.”
And a short biography of Urs, too…
“Urs Aebersold was born in Switzerland, in the famous Emmental area. During his High School time in Biel/Bienne, a lakeshore town with excellent wines, he created several short films with close friends culminating in the 90 minute family drama DIE FABRIKANTEN.
In 1967 Urs went to Munich, studying there at the film school, and later on concentrated on screenwriting. He wrote several screenplays for TATORT, the popular crime series of the First German Television Channel. In the 80s Urs worked for several years for Bavarian Television as a producer and gained the Student Oscar with the short ABGESCHMINKT by Katja von Garnier, and was nominated for the Oscar for foreign language with the movie by Caroline Link JENSEITS DER STILLE.
In 2016 Urs began to write prose; his latest book is the psychothriller BLUT WIRD FLIEßEN.”
If you’ve got a book that would adapt well to the screen, why not commission our help to get it there?
With our Summer Offers running until 31st August 2018, you can get all the professional feedback you need at great prices – take a look at our Script Report services!
We are pleased to announce the Semi-Finalists for our Spring 2018 Screenwriting Contest – and the winner of our Best Studio Script, Best Indie Script, and Best Short Script Awards!
After another tough judging period, we’ve decided on the Semi-Finalists for our Spring 2018 Contest – plus three awards in new categories!
The scripts that advanced to the semi-finals impressed us for many reasons, with fantastic stories, well-crafted dialogue, and strong commercial potential – and as ever, a lot of great scripts just missed the cut. If yours is one of them, don’t feel downhearted – all of our Quarter-Finalists were impressive entries.
And don’t forget, if you want to find out why your script didn’t make it, and want to take it to the next level, all our Script Report services are on special offer until 31st August – and you get free entry to our next contest as a bonus!
Alternatively, check out our Elite Mentoring service: invaluable one-to-one advice from actual Hollywood producers and studio execs!
See the full list of Semi-Finalists below… but first, we’re announcing the best of those movie scripts that aimed themselves firmly at either a HIGH or a LOW budget which we felt could be the most desirable to producers at the budget it set… and, working to a different kind of constraint, we’re also announcing the Best Short Script! Writing a short film demands a particular skill: the ability to tell a complete, poignant story in the space of only a few short minutes – normally less than 15 pages instead of the usual 120.
Next week: we name our top ten and our Overall Winner! Who will take the big prize for the very best entry in our latest major contest?
|Best Studio Script
||Best Indie Script
||Best Short Script
|DESERT RUN, by Christopher Thomas!
With Honorable Mentions to: CHARMER, David Kurtz, and KLONDIKE MIKE, Thomas Zmiarovich.
|FIRE ON THE ISLAND, by Timothy Jay Smith!
With Honorable Mentions to: LOVERS IN PARIS, Andy Conway, and THE UNDERTAKER’S CHILDREN, Natasha Le Petit.
|ROLL WITH IT, by Rosie Byrnes!
A big congratulations to the latest winners; we’ll be in touch with them soon about their winnings! Meanwhile, these are all of the other SEMI-FINALISTS who are still in the running for the big one… congratulations to all of them!
|BLUT WIRD FLIEßEN, Urs Aebersold
||REMOTELY WORKING, William Baber
||ROLL WITH IT, Rosie Byrnes
|PARDON MY GENDER: SUCH A FARCE!, Bob Canning
||LOVERS IN PARIS, Andy Conway
||UNE CHANCE POUR GUÉRIR, Christine de Chauvelin
|LES NIOCKS, Edith Devillet
||THE GOOD CITIZEN, Joel Doty
||OPERATION BROTHER SAM, Gustavo Freitas
|ON THE SPARROW, RW Hahn
||THE LAST KING OF AMERICA, Richard Guimond
||SOUL OF AN EMPIRE, Ryan Jaroncyk
|THE SAX, Pascal Kulcsar
||HOLLYWOOD’S MOST WANTED: I’M READY FOR MY CLOSE-UP, ESE, Manny Jimenez Sr.
||SHOOTING ANGELS, RW Hahn
|HOBBY AND FITZ, James Milton
||CHARMER, David Kurtz
||WINDSPIRIT, Paul Penley
|MAUDITE ÉQUATION, Joel Prost
||THE UNDERTAKER’S CHILDREN, Natasha Le Petit
||THE MYTHICAL GOLDEN TROUT, Craig Peters
|DESERT RUN, Christopher Thomas
||WHEN I WAS A CHILD, T. L. Needham
||FIRE ON THE ISLAND, Timothy Smith
|THE LOST OPERA, Rachel, Thomas-Medwid
||THE ARIZONA BALLOON BUSTER, Mark Perlick and Steven Pripps
||THE ELECTRIC WAR, Arthur Tiersky
|THE CRACK IN PEGGY SUE’S FLOOR, John Woodard
||CHILDREN OF EDEN, Raymond Just
||KLONDIKE MIKE, Thomas Zmiarovich
|MANHATTAN MARILYN (book), Philippe Laguerre
||MASON, Andrew Marshall