Author Topic: Soul Wars - selling the idea  (Read 2982 times)

Offline nigelw

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Soul Wars - selling the idea
« on: January 01, 2012, 06:18:02 AM »
I'd be grateful for some opinions on the following sales pitch for a screenplay. Having struggled with several forms of writing, I thought I'd give the brief 'selling' synopsis a opposed to the longer versions. I really struggled with this but would it make anyone want to read more?
Thanks Nigel
And a Happy New Year to you all.

What would the world be without Faith? Without Hope and without a soul?[/b]

Set in 2035. After the arrival of aliens called the Masters, the story follows the actions of Jed Thule, a maimed former Green Beret soldier now entrusted with the maintenance of the humanoid Peace Keepers.
Women and disabled people have mysteriously disappeared from the city and Thule is caught up in an investigation which leads him to doubt his convictions and the purpose of his life.
Sent by the Masters to erase a band of religious fanatics intent on restoring morality, Thule discovers the real reasons behind the mysterious disappearances and has to choose between his life of servitude or death.


As the world teeters on the edge of a religious extremist armageddon, the arrival of aliens claiming to be the creators of mankind brings an uneasy peace to the earth. The Faith of tens of millions of people is erased overnight. Convinced of no after-life and the absence of a soul, society is plunged into a dark world of thrill-seeking indulgence. Morality no longer has a place in the hearts of humankind. Faith has been replaced by impatience and hope erased by desire.

The armies and police officers of the world can no longer operate without the self-less dedication to serve. A new and deadly force of alien humanoid Peace Keepers roams the land, controlled by the Governors, a group of humans entrusted with maintaining the peace in return for ultmiate thrills.

But amongst the morally bankrupt are those few who keep the Faith. Refusing to believe the new Masters, the Disciples are forming to challenge the new world order - to wipe out the immorality in a multi-faith war to recover the soul.

For one Governor, the time has come to choose between the certainty of his imperfect life and the unlikely salvation of his soul.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2012, 06:20:19 AM by nigelw »

Offline AdamMollon

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Re: Soul Wars - selling the idea
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2012, 04:35:30 PM »
I enjoy sci-fi when it's done really well and makes some very good points and has a good story. One example for me would be Battlestar Galactica, which I feel has a very good balance of action, drama and religious points of view throughout the entire series. There are also a few Star Trek (The Next Generation) episodes that I think are really good too when they make points of morality, religion and beliefs.

However, these pitches failed to grab or pique my interest in any way.

My first problem is with:

"What would the world be without Faith? Without hope and without a soul?"

Without faith in what? Religion? People? Government? Democracy?
Without hope and without a soul? Again, what have people stopped hoping for?

After reading on and seeing religion mentioned I put two and two together. But I think it should be made clearer from the start. Another thing you should make clear is whether or not these aliens have come down to earth, attacked mankind and forced them to believe they are the creators of mankind.

Now, after reading the entire pitch and premise I just felt slightly annoyed by it. Not because it was necessarily awful but because of what it assumes and the fact it didn't make much sense to me.

My biggest problem with it is that it assumed that only religious people have morals. What the fuck? It simply isn't the case.

I don't hate religion. I also think if you'd like to believe in something more then you have every right to do so. However I'm an Atheist, perhaps even a "New Atheist", as I believe "religion should not simply be tolerated but should be countered, criticized, and exposed by rational argument wherever its influence arises", which is probably why I don't like the concept of this story as much because I believe science and rational thought are the way to progress as a species and that religion does nothing except hold us back.

I was raised in a non-religious home. I know the difference between right and wrong and it wasn't something I was told from the bible or by someone who had read the bible. Mankind, or at least most it, is a kind and loving species naturally. So are we assuming that these aliens have come down to earth and the people who didn't have faith in religion are now like "Told you so!" and running riot and being as immoral as possible?

Another problem I had with this concept is the assumption society would crumble if it were revealed God didn't create mankind. Society wouldn't crumble if something like that were to be revealed. Why would it? We are a naturally progressing species. All that would happen is that we would attempt to make contact with this alien species and we'd see if their claims were true through science and rational thinking.

To assume that society would crumble if an alien race turned up claiming to be the creators of mankind is just daft. Society is being told on a daily basis there isn't a God and the world doesn't change all that much. What you are proposing is far more drastic and would have a greater impact, but not because people found out there wasn't a God that created them, they'd be more worried about what the aliens are going to do next.

Society has progressed from one religion to another over the years, it did so with what we call Greek mythology. The world didn't crumble when it happened, it just progressed to another, which is all that would happen eventually. Society doesn't rely on religion or religious beliefs to function properly anymore. They rely on successful planning and execution, science, medicine, economics and good morals (something you can have without having read the bible).

You can make similar arguments in movies like The Matrix, where you can pick on some of the ideas that don't make sense. One being why the machines need us plugged into the matrix at all. We'd probably produce just as much electricity when in one of those pods without being in a dream state. However you bypass it and enjoy the movie because it doesn't make such broad assumptions about mankind being a horrible species that needs religion to function and be moral.

I think because I'm opposed to religion and believe the world would now be better off without, I don't think there would as big an impact on society. I think people would be more like "Fuck! There are a bunch of fucking aliens out there!". Instead of "Oh no, God didn't create us. Oh well, I always had my doubts cause of all that science stuff anyway." also the fanatics would still believe regardless of who told them what, that's why they're fanatics.

I'd rather put my faith in science and people instead of God or religion, because the latter has let far more people down.

Offline Paris Texas

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Re: Soul Wars - selling the idea
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2012, 12:46:58 AM »
Hi nigelw

Apparently, there are approx 250,000 screenplays floating around trying to get to, let alone past, the Hollywood Gatekeepers at any one time. And apparently, only about 50 of these screenplays get made each year - and many of these are written by "pro's" that already have Gatekeeper phone numbers.
(Six months to write a screenplay, at your opportunity cost hourly rate, plus script consultant fees etc. - could buy a lot of lottery tickets at better odds)

Don't quote my figures, but it gives a rough impression of the route to the silver screen. And most of us are only swimming around in a big black hole at the bottom, fighting our way to the Oompa Loompas' that control each rung of the few ladders that hang down, flailing our scripts in the air, trying to get their attention. And there are a lot of people already hanging off those ladder rungs, kicking their legs, and flailing their scripts too.

And ideas, pitches - they're the thousands of screams you can hear echoing around, bouncing back at ya like white noise. The people at the top are standing around, drinking Champagne, and listening to loud music while they pose for the cameras - I don't think they can hear us! (Oh - there are a few like James Cameron, kneeling down, with their ears over the edge of the hole, just in case they hear anything that might win them another Oscar)

So, you have to have a really loud voice (think megahorn), a damn good idea attractive to Oompa Loompas', or preferably, a very, very good screenplay, to get the attention of one of them, and then you have to hope you get one with morals, who doesn't know James Cameron too well.

You can do it, but you have to do it really well.

« Last Edit: April 08, 2012, 01:03:21 AM by Paris Texas »

Offline nigelw

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Re: Soul Wars - selling the idea
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2012, 07:43:30 AM »
Good points both...
I'm still out on the religion thing...I agree that it's been the cause of more problems than worth - all man-made. The target of the movie was to be the fanatics - those who refuse to accept other points of view and I thought it would be a great leveller to start from scratch and to face life in a new world where time is precious and an any ides of an afterlife snuffed out. Of course, there are a few twists in the tale at the end but it wasn't meant to dictate a viewpoint; rather explore a world where there is no uncertainty. I agree with the point about morals...didn't put that across well, did I? I suppose I just wonder what we'd ALL be like in this instance. With regard to morals, I know of many so-called religious Sunday-suit types in my area who liked to believe their public show would hide the abuse they inflicted on their familes; so I'm not making a sweeping judgement. Sorry for the confusion. Thanks for the help.


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Re: Soul Wars - selling the idea
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2012, 01:09:28 AM »
Hello, nigelw;

You have some great opinions at this point.

Myself however, having understood you are looking for a sales pitch for a screenplay, I believe as you said before, would clarify a different approach.

A sales pitch for a screenplay can be defined in many ways. For example, it could be the so-called elevator pitch. Basically this is designed to sell the busy executive on an idea within his or her limited time frame. This works, however there are other ideas that also work.

Regardless of the output the basic design is to catch the interest of someone in the screenplay business.

The basic rules will always apply. You need to write a statement about your screenplay that will make heads turn, in a very short set of several sentences. So, take your entire three act screenplay and shrink it down to several very descriptive sentences that are sellable and make sense.

I like your story, but if you really want a sellable item; then letís see it in a few short, quick and very descriptive sentences that males us want to read more.



Offline nigelw

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Re: Soul Wars - selling the idea
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2012, 02:21:22 AM »
Thanks Patron.
I'll try and rethink the whole thing. It's funny how something that you feel is clear to yourself often ends up very confused to others. That's something I really need to look at...clarity within interest.


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Re: Soul Wars - selling the idea
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2012, 12:28:55 AM »
Hello, nigelw;

I agree with you. It seems that when we write it just seems to make perfect sense.

This works for us as writers, but readers are another story.

Selling versus our happiness in what we have written are two different things, unfortunately.

One thing for sure is this, you absolutely, only need to write your selling idea as you believe would work.

I mean this. One person famous or not might say, it stinks; on the other hand another, might love it.

Never give up on your ideas, and if I or anyone within the Writers Circle can help, then all the better. It takes a lot of sav to offer a pitch of your "baby".

No and never equals a yes in the end. Take your best shot. Let us help the best we can, and run it. The end result will win, and in the most famous  words of the famous Justin Wilson; "I guaranty it".
« Last Edit: April 16, 2012, 01:01:40 AM by Patron »