The results of the “Title-ating” Contest are in: and the winner is… me!
I was lonely as a child. All I ever wanted were a few hilarious best friends, an Algonquin Round Table of witty people saying witty things between sips of Pellegrino. But it wasn’t until I read the entries for our most recent contest — to write a funny description of a fictional movie title — that I realized I finally got my wish!
Over 100 entries later, I am still laughing, and with residual awe over the real live brilliance displayed by the readers of this blog. You all are amazing wordsmiths! And all very funny! And lest you think it’s just about being funny, let me point out, Mr. Miagi style, exactly what this “wax on, wax off” exercise demonstrates.
You may think you were just having fun, but in fact you were practicing a very important skill.
To be able write a pithy logline is vital. To cram vibrant mental images into a few sentences, to be able to “pitch” your precis of “What is it?” is the job. And not to overstate, but actual movies have actually sprung from such exercises, for when we let our guard down and just do it for fun (hint, hint) some surprisingly good ideas pop out. A few found in this collection even made me think: Hmmmm. I’d like to SEE that movie!
Take a look at (7.) Patrick Sweeney’s pitch on Speeding, (8.) Mike Sweeney’s Land of Nod take, (16.) Jeff Paterson’s hilarious — and quite creative — pitch for the comedy thriller version of Apple Pie Betty, or the wow! I really think you got a movie there in (27.) Phil Rockwell’s pitch for Designated Driver. And when I read (32.) Kent Knowles’ Knuckleheads, I thought: call Will Ferrel and John C. Reilly and sign ’em up.
Others of you went for Flat Out Funny, and yet even there your skills for designing posters for imagined productions showed real skill as (38.) Chris Henry’s poster line for his pirate movie “This summer it’s all about the parrot” proves, along with the advertising jingle parody (39.) Michael Mahoney went for when he turned the Campbell’s Soup Kids into canibalistic serial killers with the poster line: “M’m! M’m! Good!” And for pure unadulterated fun, all three of (53.) Tim Malloy’s entries are reminders why Tim has True Wit! As do (11.) Brooke’s Knuckleheads pitch and (1.) Moviequill’s Lawyers, Guns and Money — great writage!
We had a hilarious batch of Indiana Jones, Juno, and Conan pitches. And in every case, you can see exactly why sequels are hard! My favorite reboots involved the further adventures of everyone’s favorite archeologist as he continues his quest for both his missing noggin (75.) John Collins, and a Mayan Collander (2.) R J Davidson. You also get the sense of a dissatisfied recent customer in (96.) Sheikspear’s Indy 5 pitch – “Indiana spends 15 years and millions of dollars tracking down the mythical script that should have been.”
And yet, the biggest thing this contest proves is a logline truism: short is sweet. If you can “say it” in three words, why use twelve? Proof of this is seen in the bullet-like entries that are RUNNERS UP to our contest:
(83.) Frank’s “Bluebeard — A hairstylist learns a lesson about preparation.”
(55.) Rebecca Sharp’s “Asleep at the Wheel — An impromptu roadtrip leads to romance between an insomniac and a narcoleptic.”
(10.) Martin Blank’s “Indiana Jones 5 — Harrison Ford struggles to find an artifact he buried.”
The WINNERS, however, went right for what makes this exercise the most fun, taking the words of the title and finding the irony in them, wringing out all new meaning, and delivering on a punchline that wows!
It’s a tie. Both these writers win a set of Cat! books and software, along with our hearty appreciation:
(65.) Leo J “WHOOPS – A heart-warming animated film about a gang of owls determined to beat the odds to become basketball champs of the animal kingdom.”
(6.) Shanelaporte “BEVERLY HILLS – Beverly, an aging trophy wife, decides to get her breasts enlarged when her movie-mogul husband begins falling for a young actress. After the surgery she discovers they’re much bigger than she planned, mostly because inside her breasts are now an array of secret gadgets and weapons.”
This is one revenge movie I want to see. And here’s the poster line, Shane: “This time… they’re real!”
Congratulations one and all!
- Mike Rinaldi
I would like to see some follow through on a couple of these. Especially Rebecca Sharp’s Asleep at the Wheel. That concept is worth delivering and I hope she considers at least writing a treatment if not the whole screenplay. I would mind seeing the dribbling owls of Leo’s Whoops! come to life either.
- Jeff Paterson
Congrats to all who entered and especially the winners, who really put up great ideas. Thanks Blake for the shout-out and I agree, I hope some of us can move forward on these ideas!
You like me! You really, really like me!
To be singled out of a group of such brilliance and hilarity is quite a thrill. Are we Cats going to take Hollywood by storm? Methinks so.
And now I’ll have two copies of Blake’s books. One for each eye.
“Save The Cat” in stereo! Sweet.
Oh by the way, Blake. My wife cracked up when she read your poster line for Beverly Hills. And I smacked my head… “why didn’t I think of that!”
- RJ Davidson
Congratulations to Leo J and Shanelaporte a well deserved win in a hard fought contest. Everyone was so very fair, generous, and supportive. Absolutely no nasty, rude, or negative remarks in the bunch. It is a testament to the host. It is amazing to me how many funny and creative people there are out there. Keep up the good work.
By-the-by, the one that made me spit milk out my nose:
Martin Blank Says:
May 19th, 2008 at 6:29 pm
INDIANA JONES 5
Harrison Ford struggles to find an artifact he buried.
Martin, I’m still laughing.
REALLY?!?! NOT EVEN A MENTION??? ugh, ok. whatever.
congrats to everyone.
Shannon, I loved your entries, but there were lots and lots I loved here! The genius on display speaks for itself! Everyone, please do check out Shannon’s posts at (42.) and (43.) Trust me, picking just a handful to mention in the space of one blog was a tough job!! Thank you, Shannon! And thank you to everyone who participated!
Everyone should pat themselves on the back. Go ahead.. take your hand off the mouse or scroll button and pat that back! Great job!
I really liked ‘Indina Jones and the Myan Colander’!!!
- Jeff Paterson
Shannon, your vollyball idea sounds great in the vein of Dodgeball and the sorts, you could do a lot with the dude vollyball player stereotypes and everything:)
Thanks Blake for the mention and the great comp!
Cheers from the UK bit of cyberspace.
p.s. – I have a photo you might like to see of Speilberg writing that script over at my blog…
I liked almost every single one.
This whole thing really inspired me to be a smarter screenwriter.
I’m going to college soon for screenwriting and I couldn’t be more nervous. When I wasn’t mentioned I thought ‘Oh man, i suck.’ lol. I understand that it was REALLY hard for Blake to pick just a few because all of them were spectacular. Thank you Blake for that special shout out! lol.
- Tim Malloy
Blake, I’m glad my submissions made you smile….just remember, I’ll be here all weekend, and be sure to try the veal! :)….
I also want to say, whether it’s attending a Beat Sheet Workshop, or just visiting this website, you can always count on stepping into a positive and supporting environment that I believe helps bring out the best in all of us…
Blake, there is a positiveness without being pollyanna in these landscapes you provide for us….encouragement and insight that offers more practical persistence than pie-in-the-sky promises as we all try to polish our craft to be worthy of our standards, and maybe even someone else’s…
I look forward to the next exercise/contest…
“Anyone can say that you can’t write; let no one say that you don’t”
- Brad Ferguson
Blake, these contests should be a staple of your blog. I think a lot of people would participate solely based on how fun it is. I don’t even think prizes would be necessary. When I first read Leo’s ‘Whoops’ I thought it may be the winner. I remember reading that thinking…man, that is an amazing play off of that title. Anyways, congrats to the winners. I’ll be gunning for the win next time.
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Thanks, Blake! Glad you liked my ‘Speeding’ entry. :) I was actually worrying on a different screenwriting forum that I had no ideas for non-genre stuff – everything I’d been coming up had vampires or ghosts or spaceships in it. So now I have at least one idea for a non-genre screenplay.