Welcome to the thirty-first of our Creative Challenges. We’re focusing on ways to blend originality with commercial viability and production risk management in our seventh week of Creative Challenges: WriteMovies’ 100-Day Creative Challenge 31 is about franchises in the entertainment industry.
Guidance: For the next 20 minutes, use whatever method you like – thoughts and ideas, mind maps, diagrams or sketches, a sample of script, prose, poetry – as you prepare a creative piece, about:
An idea for a film or TV pilot that could launch a successful ‘franchise’ of follow-on or other interconnected productions.
- As you work through this task, you might also consider how this activity relates to franchises in the entertainment industry.
- Save or photograph your work as a document called “100DayCC31”. Then reflect on this experience and what it has taught you about you and your writing: what comes naturally to you, which aspects were easy and difficult, and the subjects, angles and attitudes that you like to focus your writing on.
- Share online if you like using the hashtag #100DayCC31 to compare to other people’s experiences and support each other, or submit to our Academy Lite if you’re a subscriber!
When you complete the Challenge – or if you get completely stuck – then look at the Feedback below!
Franchises are everywhere because they build on the brands and audiences they’ve already developed. In 1993, a visit to Universal Studios Hollywood would show the enduring appeals of ET, BACK TO THE FUTURE, PSYCHO and JAWS; in 2020 its big franchises are THE SIMPSONS, HARRY POTTER, DESPICABLE ME, THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS, TRANSFORMERS, JURASSIC WORLD and THE WALKING DEAD – only PSYCHO and JAWS are still well represented from previous eras.
In the 15 years from 2004, the Batman franchise only gave us 3 movies at its core (Christopher Nolan’s DARK KNIGHT trilogy), and yet also spawned many other derivations: GOTHAM on TV; BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD for kids’ TV; JOKER; BATMAN v SUPERMAN and JUSTICE LEAGUE; SUICIDE SQUAD; and BIRDS OF PREY; video games including ARKHAM ASYLUM, and other adaptations! The fallen-America, criminal-dominated world of Gotham City clearly has a strong hold on people’s imaginations.
Considering how prevalent ‘franchises’ are on our screens, it’s surprising how few people submit projects with franchise potential to us at WriteMovies. But then if it was easy, everyone would be doing it! It’s actually very difficult to come up with something original and distinctive yet replicable enough to launch a successful franchise. If you got anything useful out of this activity, hold onto it and keep improving it over time – you may well be onto something.
General tips and feedback:
Many writers, naturally, don’t find it easy to be creative ‘on tap’ – especially for work that they didn’t set themselves. But to write professionally, you will usually need to meet deadlines and requirements, that can’t be put off, for briefs you didn’t choose for yourself: even if you’re ill or feeling down, you’ll usually have to just find a way through, and get the results that are needed, to the quality that’s necessary. So the WriteMovies Creative Challenges are designed to help you find ways around the crucial issues of ‘block’.
We do this by setting a (deceptively!) simple brief, and encouraging you to use a variety of methods, approaches and creative products in order to find ways around it, and generate some kind of outcomes that might be useful to you in the future. Whatever state your mind and mood are in – energetic or tired, stimulated or bored, motivated or disengaged, etc – there are different ‘modes’ of creative productivity which you can engage, to make the best of it: editing your work if you can’t write, making notes if you can’t generate script, etc. Try a mix of methods to make the most of activities such as the Creative Challenges, especially anytime you get stuck: just keep adding notes, sketches etc freely, you can decide later whether any of them are useful! Also note that the brief is to ‘prepare’ a creative work – not to actually make it straight away, before you feel ready to! But if you’ve come away from this with a passage of prose or script or even poetry, well done!
Hopefully this activity will have shown you the potential value of our Creative Challenges, and the benefits of making a routine to complete them, and persisting with it day by day to gradually improve all aspects of your writing and to develop solutions to ‘block’, that you will become more and more proficient with over time. We recommend that you commit to fulfilling the 100-Day Creative Challenges, sharing your outputs to gain the support and feedback of other writers working on the same activities, and if you’d like expert daily feedback from us on this and much more, additional material, subscribe to the WriteMovies Academy Lite now!