47 posts tagged development slate
47 posts tagged development slate
Amazon Studios pilots have arrived, starring John Goodman (Argo), Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development), Bebe Neuwirth (Frasier) – and viewers, who will help decide which shows return with more episodes. TV fans are invited to watch comedies and children’s shows for free, and offer opinions about them, at amazonoriginals.com.
Brad Combest’s first few jobs in Hollywood – as a researcher on Modern Marvels, as a literary agent’s assistant at the Gersh Agency, as an executive assistant at Dreamworks – taught him plenty, but it was his work as a story editor on Robot Chicken that changed his life. It was there that he got a taste for animation and realized it was what he wanted to be doing.
As a production coordinator on the Disney animated feature Wreck-It Ralph, Brad got to be around the director, writers, head of story and voice talent during the entire production process. It was after this that Brad followed his true passion and wrote Sassy Gay Samurai, the latest series to be optioned by Amazon Studios.
We spoke with Brad about the series, how reading Pearl S. Buck put him on the path to a writing career and how standing in a never-ending series of lines at the San Diego Comic-Con International resulted in an optioned series.
What inspired you to want to write as a career?
In high school I read the The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck. We had the option to do a book report or write another chapter, so I wrote a satirical chapter. Stylistically it worked in the context of the book but it was just so silly. I had a great time writing with a bunch of my friends at an Applebee’s trying to come up with ideas while drinking way too much soda.
Then I managed a movie theater during college and got paid to watch all the movies that came out the night before to make sure they were OK. I watched so many terrible films that it was a huge motivator as it made me feel as if I had something of a chance to write something that might sell. When college was done I threw everything into my car and moved to Los Angeles not knowing anybody, started looking for work and started writing.
You have had quite a variety of entertainment jobs; do you feel that helped you?
I really felt I got an education on all these jobs which helped me with my writing that was invaluable. I got a good foundation of how things worked from a buyer’s perspective and learned a lot about development and the story process from not just the studio side but also the writer’s side.
You’ve never seen a hero like Sassy Gay Samurai, the title character in the latest comedy project added to the Amazon Studios Series Development Slate. With his unicorn roommate Gary (and across-the-hall neighbor John Buffalo), he travels through time and battles super villains while coping with the more mundane aspects of living in New York City.
“It’s kind of like getting a glimpse at a day in the life of Clark Kent or Peter Parker when they’re not doing anything … although it is much more ridiculous since it’s a talking unicorn and a sassy gay samurai,” said creator and writer Brad Combest, who has worked in the Hollywood trenches on projects like Robot Chicken and Wreck It Ralph.
Combest drew his inspiration from someone he saw in costume while stuck in line at San Diego Comic-Con. “I never made it into the panel, but waited in line so long that the world that this character inhabited had nearly been fleshed out. When I got back from San Diego I wrote it all down and a few months later had the pilot.”
About the project:
Creator: Brad Combest
Series Concept/Logline: Sassy Gay Samurai and his talking unicorn sidekick travel through time to stop villains and go on adventures.
Why we optioned it: Sassy is an outrageous character surrounded by equally outrageous friends and enemies. This script is weird, really funny, and different than anything out there.
From the writer: “This is really a passion project of mine that I didn’t think I was going to be able to do until I was well established, so it’s really exciting to have this as my first thing. … [Amazon Studios] seems like the perfect home for it and I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity.”
Learn more about how to submit your own ideas via Amazon Studios’ open door process.
Inspiration can come from anywhere. For James Abrams, writer of Dreamcatchers, the latest movie project added to the Amazon Studios development slate, it came from a series of nightmares he experienced while sick with the H1N1 flu virus.
The unrelenting visions James experienced during his illness made him think about what would happen if nightmares crossed over into the real world. He started to explore the concept and wrote what became Dreamcatchers – the story of an insomniac security guard who must help stop the worst nightmares from destroying our world.
A lifelong fan of comic books, James attended art school and later went on to produce and write a comic of his own called Archaic, which was independently published by Fenickx Productions in 2005. Soon after, he caught the screenwriting bug, starting out with more violent, action-oriented scripts which he describes as “something that Bruce Willis could be in.”
We spoke to James about his dreams, his script and what made him switch to more family-friendly material.
Tell us about the story of Dreamcatchers.
James: The story is about this secret organization that captures nightmares and takes them into the real world. Our protagonist is a guy named Nick, who had one of these nightmares when he was very young and it has made him into an insomniac. He works as a night watchman and during the day he’s a computer tech, and eventually he gets involved with the Dreamcatchers who recruit him. Because of his insomnia, he is able to understand the nightmare’s powers.