Saw PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN last night. Really liked it. A superb lesson in there for writers.
“…he did over and over again what only the best writers can ever do at all. He wrote scenes that never seemed to have been written before.”
Raymond Chandler, on Dashiell Hammett
If you are writing a movie and you want someone to make it, that is what you have to do. Give the reader something they have never seen before. Over and over again.
That is what the PIRATES guys did. Did they ever! There are so many scenes in the film with incredibly inventive action, action bigger and better and more exciting than any action I’ve ever seen in a movie. A pirate with a magic sword that can make the rope on his ship slither along and grab his enemies! A sword fight between two people standing on a wobbly pile of barrels! And on and on.
It’s easier for those guys because they have a writing partner who can say, “I saw that someplace else. Do better!” But you can ask yourself that same question… “Have I seen this, anywhere, EVER?” If you have, redo it.
This also applies to drama, not just action sequences. If you want to show a problem in a family, have a dishwasher loading contest and it’s great fun, then it goes terribly wrong. That was in Anne Hathaway’s RACHEL GETTING MARRIED. I’d never seen THAT scene before, and I’ve never gotten over it.
You are asking for a TON of money, and asking for them to spend MANY MANY TONS OF MONEY on your cool idea. It had better be something they have never seen before, or go back to the drawing board.