For those unfamiliar with the business side of Show Business, here's a brief primer. Starving writers write scripts on something called Spec (which I believe is short for Speculum, but I could be wrong). Once they're done, they take the Spec to their agent who, in turn, has their assistant send it to a bunch of production companies and ask them to buy it. If someone does, the movie-making process commences.
Not all specs get bought. So it's a risky venture for a writer to spend 4-6 months writing a script not knowing if there's gonna be a payday at the end. But writers don't mind doing all this work with no guarantee and that the actors make all the real money.
Anyway, here's a list of Specs that have recently been sent out to production companies. I've included my analysis and predictions too.
LOGLINE: Austin, a charismatic slacker, inherits the community pool with his beer-bellied, party friend Lawrence. But when the local elite tries to take it away from them and the town, they must rally the troops to save the pool and summer!
SMELLS LIKE: CADDYSHACK in a swimming pool.
PREDICTION: Look for Andy Samberg (SNL) to play Austin and Blake Lively (GOSSIP GIRL) to play his improbably hot girlfriend. In the theaters for 2 weeks in April 2010.
LOGLINE: In the not too distant future, a workaholic is replaced by a life-like robot designed to do his job. In order to win his old job back, he poses as a robot to get the same position at a competing company.
SMELLS LIKE: Honestly, I don't really care, but if pressed -- SMALL WONDER.
PREDICTION: The project's name will change or risk getting sued by J.J. Abrams. The reality is it won't get sold, so it doesn't matter.
LOGLINE: An unassuming New York City accountant is suddenly forced to track down and identify a murder witness onboard a crowded commuter train, or else his wife and daughter will be murdered.
SMELLS LIKE: An average day on NYC public transit (hey-o!). But seriously folks, it's sounds like RANSOM with one more person.
PREDICTION: Diane Lane, John Cusack and Elle Fanning (Dakota's younger sister) star in this $60 million film. It'll be released to critical malaise, but break even domestically and gross another $30-40 internationally.
LOGLINE: A shy married man moves to a new town and joins a secret club to make friends. When he discovers the guys are all a bunch of overgrown frat boys who blindly follow their outlandish leader and tries to leave, he finds out that no one leaves "Man Club."
SMELLS LIKE: OLD SCHOOL meets FIGHT CLUB meets any Ben Stiller movie.
PREDICTION: Memorial Day weekend 2010. Jack Black as the leader of the Man Club and a just-famous-enough TV actor (Jon Cryer -- TWO and a HALF MEN?) in the lead role. Expect $30 million opening weekend and after the dust settles, a world wide gross of $110 million.
LOGLINE: When his grandfather makes a dying wish for Hank Schafter to spend more time with his estranged family, he finds himself magically unable to leave their sides until he learns what family is all about.
SMELLS LIKE: IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE meets A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Honestly sounds a heck of a lot like one of those Hallmark made-for-TV movies. Can Wilford Brimley play yet another wise old grandfather?
PREDICTION: Christmas 2010 on Lifetime or CBS, whichever network's demographic is still alive.
LOGLINE: A high-concept thriller about an average guy who gets placed on a jury for a murder he committed.
SMELLS LIKE: I'm just wondering about the concept of average guy who murders people.
ANALYSIS: Major re-writes.
LOGLINE: Four guys reclaim their glory days by coaching their high school football team, and learning a thing or two from the kids along the way.
SMELLS LIKE: BAD NEWS BEARS
PREDICTION: Heavy drinking, several shots to the groin, smelling salts...and that's just to stay awake during the movie.