Thursday, March 15, 2007

If I show up at your door, chances are you did something to bring me there.

This is what happens when you don't have to go to work for a while: you start posting twice a day because you have nobody around to talk to but the cat, and he'd rather dream about food.

I was a little worried (remember the worrying that I do?) about my new feature because it's about a hitman and a heisty thing and about a bunch of boys and I'm not a boy and I don't do B&Es and I've never worked as a contract killer.

But Ron Moore's never flown in a space ship.

I commenced with the research this morning. I wasn't sure how to go about researching contract killing. It's not exactly a topic a lot of professionals in the field like to discuss.

But what do you know? You can learn anything on Wikepedia. I found a PDF of a 74-page book on how to become a contract killer. Supposedly the book has been banned and all hard copies destroyed or whatever. But even if it's a hoax the stuff in it is perfectly logical so I'm gonna use it. Although I'm a little frightened that if I someday end up in the middle of a Law & Order style murder investigation the fact that I have on my hard drive a book on becoming a contract killer might look bad.

But then I was thinking, how do I make it different from other movies about assassins? We always see the guy get his dossier in the envelope the same way with that picture and stuff, and it has to be through an intermediary and there's all this secret identity stuff. And I don't want anybody thinking about how much better John Cusack was while they read my cliche-riddled script.

But then I thought, why bother showing it at all? Get in the scene late, leave early. The killer could just show up already informed about his target. Now only does that get me into the action without as much boring set-up and avoid some of those cliche moments, but it greatly reduces the amount of research I have to do.

If you don't know what you're talking about, fake it. I know who hired the killer. How the guy got his target is irrelevant to the character development. He got it, and now my protagonist has a problem. That's what matters. And when I realized that I discovered whole nifty ways I could connect this guy's internal conflict better to the actions I need him to take. It all makes perfect sense.

I guess my point is that if you think something's too hard, sometimes you just have to back off and simplify.

Of course, I say all this before I try to write about dudes with guns.


  1. Anonymous6:24 AM

    I guess you already read both Assassins scripts online? A bit different. I read them for research in my own assassin script I am writing right now... (search assassins)

  2. Try to read "the Jackal" by Forsythe. Not a very good writer, but his best book and a very close up look of an assassin in the '60.

    Should I really say Collateral again?

    And from what I understand of assassins, the one groundrule is not the shot, but the gettaway route!
    Killing someone is easy, getting away with it for a living is the proffesional part..

    I'll give you diner is you ever show up at my door.

  3. I just read this article about a novelist from New York who just published a book about LA night life and its music scene. He's never been to LA and is not a musician.

    He just had to write it the way he thinks it is. And I haven't read the book but I think his imagination is going to make the story more interesting, even if the details are a bit off--maybe *because* the details are a bit off.

    If the characters believe they are doing it right, the audience will too.


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