I tell ya, I think the chances of ever seeing the glory days of the spec script market again circa the late-eighties/early nineties are slim to none these days. Every time you turn around another comic (excuse me, I mean graphic novel) bestselling novel, any genre movie from the seventies or eighties, or old TV show is being optioned or sold for development. If you’re a struggling screenwriter I think you’d be better off writing a book or graphic novel, then negotiating a deal to do the first draft of the screenplay should you be lucky enough to sell your baby to Hollywood. Spec screenplays are a waste of time for any writer these days, established scribe or not.
To prove my point even further, Disney has scooped up the rights to yet another graphic novel, this one entitled Monster Attack Network. Haven’t read this one myself, so I couldn’t say whether or not it’s pure shit or if it’s a brilliant work of comic and narrative art, but the story supposedly revolves around a South Pacific island where a team of first-responders rescue residents who are regularly attacked by giant monsters who emerge from the sea. The book contains art by Nima Sorat and a story by Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman.
Jason Netter (Wanted) is producing this puppy under his Kickstart Entertainment banner. As of yet no stars, director, or screenwriters are attached.
And just to complain a little more, the oft-used reasoning for developing source material instead or original screenplays has always been the need for a built-in audience. The suits want to have an audience already set up with the property they’re developing in many cases just to ease their insecurity about creating the next blockbuster. Now, considering things like Monster Attack Network aren’t exactly a household item like say Batman or Iron Man, you’d think they’d buy more original material, something that has no more or less recognition than any of these underground graphic novels that have been snagging some major coin.
Behind every great book adaptation is a forgettable first try. — By Ryan Covey