Writing a Blockbuster

Is “blockbuster” a genre?

I think it might be. Now. Because, when I hear it said, I know what it means. There can be no doubt about what a blockbuster is.

Modest movies can turn out to do better than expected, think The Hangover. Sometimes extraordinarily better than expected, now think Paranormal Activity. But you wouldn’t call them “blockbusters”.

Blockbusters stand for something big, don’t then? Enormous in scope, both visually (and symphonically) grand and ideologically broad.

I say it’s a genre unto itself.

What’s different about it, perhaps, is that it’s a genre with limited accessibility to all filmmakers. One of the few. Period pieces and some sci-fi might also be unattainable at the indie level, and true blockbusters most definitely are. I can mix all the corn syrup and red dye I want and make a splatter pic but wrangling a legion of Roman soldiers to storm a castle is a little above my budget.

Ergo, I - and frankly most of the writers I know - don’t spend a lot of time dreaming up blockbusters. But then, we are Canadian, and such things are generally frowned upon up here.

However, I’m kind tired of writing within certain limitations.

I don’t know. I kind of got tired of writing small. When I wrote Minushi I sure didn’t think small. Animation is the one exception to the budget rule. With enough time and enough paper, you can bust blocks with the best of them. But I’m not really thinking animation these days either. I guess I’m not really thinking. I’m just doing.

Yeah, there’s a plan. A loose arrangement of ideas. But it’s nice, you know. To be writing above your budget. Above what’s expected. To be writing a blockbuster. The very act is sort of blockbuster in itself. The lofty ambition. Broad. Sweeping. Impossible…

… In the optimistic sense.

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