This woman has written nine screenplays.Hollywood kills dreams. A more brutal and efficient destroyer of ideas could not be constructed by the most skilled engineers of death operating on an unlimited budget. Give them a thousand years and maybe they could come up with a Newark or a Dallas, but not Hollywood. Nothing like the hot hate for freethinking that has been synthesized and perfected by the American film and television industries. Walk to 5555 Melrose and on a quiet night you can hear the dead ideas creaking in the dark, like the salt-worn masts of forgotten ships.
The fools who go to Hollywood following their misbegotten dreams will break on those terrible dark rocks of the studios. They come by the millions with scripts, treatments, trailers shot on shoestring budgets and even the occasional independently finished product. They find the dragon's teeth of Paramount, Miramax, Warner Brothers and others waiting to chew them into pulp and spit them out into a waiter's smock at a juice bar on Sunset or face down in the tar pits with a blown-out carotid full of bad junk. If only they'd stayed home in their primitive villages to set their nets upon more easily caught butterflies.
Mr. Orenstein.But what if - and I almost dare not give voice to my idea lest Hollywood hear of it and quash it - those moths drawn to the candle's flame could find their life's aspirations crushed without traveling all the way to Hollywood? What if - and I shudder to suggest such a cruelty should be visited upon my most fiendish foe - the scions of Old Hollywood could be conjured forth to bring ruin upon a dreamer's dream in the comfort of that dreamer's own home? My friends, lives could be saved.
Hold that thought in your mind as I introduce to you George Orenstein, America's Producer. He is a real man, but that is not his name. He is the second highest paid producer of one of the largest studios in Hollywood. Mr. Orenstein, tenuously related to myself, has agreed to act as a proxy for all of Hollywood. He will implore you to reveal your greatest idea, to make your pitch, and with a single-minded fervor he will lay waste to what you hold dear. Perhaps, through some obscure mathematical improbability and a celestial confluence seen only once per eon, Mr. Orenstein will not hate your idea. But don't dare to hope.
Nathan and Rebecca R.'s "Four Chambers"
Think…Crash meets the Accidental Tourist
"Four Chambers" is a gripping family drama about two couples dealing with the loss of their sons and each other in the aftermath of a drunken driving accident. The grief that might tear them all apart might also bring them much closer together.
"Might make a best actor Oscar long shot for some aging warhorse like William Hurt, but the whole thing screams "ensemble" and that usually means going for broke on best picture or nothing. Going on the premise this will sell to the 18-35 demo like a diaper full of hot shit. Seriously, best idea since a sequel to 'Xanadu.' It used to be every year a studio would release this movie, now if you're lucky you can sell it to some loser in New Zealand who can fill a can full of incomprehensible accents and bad teeth."
A smart studio would…maybe validate your parking after the meeting. Maybe.
Joshua L.'s "Verity"
Think…A Clockwork Orange meets Johnny Mnemonic
"In a dystopian near future a veiled totalitarian state releases microscopic devices into the water supply that force everyone to tell the truth at all times. Plummeting crime rates and mass confessions of guilt give way to pandemonium as the veil of polite lies is lifted and ugly truth wreaks havoc. A man recovering from throat cancer and taking fluids from an IV becomes the sole person without the truth chip and mankind's only hope."
"This high-concept sci-fi bullshit tends to piss off audiences. It could work if you've got enough gunfights and maybe a mechanical scorpion or something, but no way are you going to retake the CGI budget for something like this without high octane action. You could go low budget but then you're going to end up forgotten by absolutely everyone. Hey, remember 'Code 46' with Tim Robbins? Exactly. Not to mention, your two movie choices are going to raise more red flags for a producer than a parade in the Kremlin. 'Johnny Mnemonic' grossed about as much as a hotdog stand and 'Clockwork Orange' was rated X and banned from theaters in England. England! They show girls licking each other's asses on TV there! This one is a burning pile of crap."
A smart studio would…have you escorted from the building by a couple of huge black guys with headsets.
Lisa F.'s "Lovelorn"
Think…The Ring meets Fatal Attraction
"Morton Casanova is a man used to getting his way with women. A one-night stand with a beautiful woman turns into trouble when the woman begins sending threatening letters and visiting his house. After Morton confronts the woman she commits suicide and he thinks the threats have ended, but after a brief lull they keep coming. The ghost of the woman wants Mort to join her in the afterlife and she's willing to do anything or kill anyone to get to him."
"This one I could almost see working. You've got an aging hunk like Richard Gere and some hot damaged-goods number like Brittany Murphy. It works, but you've got to juice it up a little more. Maybe work in a curse from a gypsy or - Kabala is big these days - and then once she's a ghost she could have some really cool powers like controlling the weather or swarms of insects. I'm talking about a good visual sort of thing she could really menace the guy with. Ah, you know, on second thought this movie doesn't know if it wants to be 'Ghost' or 'Poltergeist.' Pass.
A smart studio would…nod a few times and then say "our people will get in touch with your people."
These ideas have all been submitted by readers who have emailed me in the past and who I have contacted individually to solicit their pitches. In the future, if you would like to have Mr. Orenstein review your pitch, you can email me with the subject line BURNING PITCH. Do not include completed scripts or full length feature videos, please include only the pitch text itself and, if available, a short excerpt or trailer of your work. If Mr. Orenstein likes your pitch and decides it is worthy of consideration for fast-tracking then he will contact you externally.