This is an excerpt from a long email I received today from an aspiring writer.
I thought perhaps you may be interested in a project that I am contemplating. Or perhaps give your input on the idea? The idea involves a new Bond movie but not with James, rather "Jane Bond" his estranged daughter? WithAngelina Jolie as "Jane", and Sean Connery as the "Retired" Bond, I really think it could be a blockbuster movie…I would really appreciate your feedback and any information or advice you can give me as to what you think of the idea and how to go about making it happen?
Here’s how I replied: Don’t waste your time on "Jane Bond." For one thing, you don’t own the Bond
character and the people who do are very litigous. For another,
it’s hardly a fresh idea. If you are going to write a screenplay, write
something that is entirely original…not based on any existing characters or
movies. Write something that will showcase your creativity, your ability to
create characters, and your unique story-telling instincts. Don’t write "Daughter of
Bond" or "Sister of Superman" or "Brother-in-Law of Buffy" or a sequel to
"Bullitt." Also don’t think about boxoffice potential or casting possibilities or ad campaigns right
now…just think about telling a terrific story. Good luck!
That was the end of my reply. Bet you thought I’d be snarkier, didn’t you? Must be my sinus medication mellowing me out. Here’s the thing that really struck me, though, about his email: The guy says he’s a film school graduate… you’d think they would have taught him, at some point, that it isn’t a good idea to write a script based on a property you don’t own.
4 thoughts on “James Bond’s Daughter”
it isn’t a good idea to write a script based on a property you don’t own.
I would have thought as a film school graduate, someone might have told him that it’s a worse idea to write a story which is so hackneyed and stupid as to be positively amusing.
Unless it’s a comedy, in which case it had better be very funny indeed.
I’ve been job hunting recently, and I have four different boilerplate cover letters that I use. I customize them slightly for each prospect, but I’m applying for the same sorts of positions calling for the same sorts of cover letters.
In the same way, I would think that you must have a minor closetfull of stock replies to “I have this great idea for a TV script!” emails.
Well, I’ll have to admit that Connery will always be Bond. Even while reading the later novels of Gardner, Connery is always Bond in my minds eye.
“just think about telling a terrific story.”
That should be on a plaque, to be nailed over the desk of any writer. That is the heart of storytelling. If the spy story is so good that you don’t have to add the Bond element, it’s good enough to sell on its own.
That said, one of the other screenwriting sites talked about how your first project is not going to sell anyway; it’s the ticket to getting work, showing your skills, and working your way up to where you write your own projects. In other words, stop thinking about that “blockbuster” project you’re penning right out of the gate. Ain’t gonna happen.
Just work on the story, and let the rest sort itself out later.