Bill Dowis

Speculative Fiction Author - Fanboy

Month: July 2014

Why I Love Tusk…And I haven’t Even Seen It Yet.

TuskLast week at Comic-Con Kevin Smith premiered the trailer for his newest movie, Tusk. Anyone that knows me knows that I am a huge Kevin Smith fan. Obviously being a huge fan of his would be reason enough to be excited for his first movie in over three years, but in this case being a fan of his is really just the cause of the excitement.

The reason for me being excited for this movie is a little different. I am excited for this movie because of a personal connection to the movie and the crazy origins of the film.

Now, I say personal connection like I had a hand in the development of the script or something, but the connection is really the same connection that thousands of other people also have.

It all started on Kevin Smith’s podcast known as SMODcast, specifically episode 259. This episode was posted June 25th, 2013 and I listened to it a couple of days after that. In the episode Kevin is talking with his best friend and other half of SMOD, Scott Mosier. As Kevin does often on the show, he is reading something from the internet and they are making fun of it. What he is reading is a listing for someone that has a room for rent. The room is free under one condition. The renter must dress as a walrus, and act the part, once a day in honor of a walrus friend the landlord once had while lost at sea.*

The listing was so ludicrous and stupid that the two of them spent half an hour or so making fun of it. Kevin even suggested that it sounded like the premise of a horror movie. Some old man turning an unsuspecting roommate into a walrus.

A couple of episodes later, or maybe it was even as soon as the next episode, Kevin was telling Scott that he couldn’t hold back. Within a week’s time Kevin had locked himself in a room and busted out half a movie script based on this whole babble session that the two of them had on the podcast. Wanting to know if he was wasting his time, Kevin asked the internet for help. Should he continue with the script and possible make a movie out of such a dumb idea, or should he forget about it and move on with more important things, such as Clerks III.

#walrusYES or #walrusNO

Twitter was overrun with #walrusYES. People wanted to see this movie.

So Kevin Smith finished the script, and within a matter of months was filming the movie. And here we are just over a year later, the movie is finished, the trailer has been debuted at Comic-Con, and a release date has been set. It will have its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival and the theatrical release will be September 19, 2014.

Here is why I love TUSK.

I love Tusk because it started as a stupid conversation among two friends and quickly mutated into something much bigger. A lot of people ask writers and movie makers where they get their ideas. Ideas are a dime a dozen. Coming up with ideas is as easy as having a conversation with a friend. The trick is to take what seems like a stupid idea and turning it into something great. Or at least turn it into something less stupid that people will want to see/watch/read.

I love Tusk because I listened to the birth of the idea and then watched as Kevin turned that idea into a script and then grew it into a full on production, all while sharing it on his blog.

This is independent creation at its very core. This is how you get shit done.

And this isn’t the first time I have seen this happen. I watched, or listened rather, as a talk amongst three friends about westerns and research turned into a story about a gunslinger with a unicorn.

So next time you are looking for the next great idea, pay closer attention to your conversations.

*I heard that the advertisement for the roommate later turned out to be a hoax, but that does not lessen the awesomeness of this story.

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You Can’t Judge A Book By Its Cover, But People Do.

For the longest time now I have been seeing this book all over the place…

 

I have seen it in Target and WalMart and Barnes and Noble and featured on Amazon quite a few times. But I knew nothing about the book. It wasn’t a book that I had heard anything about. No one I knew was talking about it. I don’t remember seeing any media buzz about it. It just sat there quietly on the shelves.

I never once picked up the book. I had no clue what it was about, but the cover did not call out to me. It did not tell me to pick it up. Nothing about the way that book looked sitting on the shelf made me think I would enjoy the words inside of its pages.

Now here we are this morning, and I see this trailer through a link on Facebook:



I am not a huge fan of Ben Affleck, but he was da bomb in Phantoms, and this trailer grabbed my attention immediately. But even with my attention gripped tightly in its fist, I did not make the connection of the movie with the book. The movie title, “Gone Girl” never even registered with me as the title of the book.

That is how forgettable and not attention grabbing that book cover was.

But the movie trailer has grabbed my attention, and after seeing the trailer a second time I realized that the movie was based on a book and when I looked up the book it was based on I realized I had seen this book all over the place for over a year.

So needless to say, I will be adding the book to my ever expanding to-be-read list, but there is a bigger lesson to be learned here.

Book covers are important. They really need to show something about the story that will grab potential readers. This book cover says nothing about a missing woman and her potentially killer husband. If it did I might have picked it up sooner.

Even though you can’t judge a book by its cover, people do all the time. I do every time I look at a book cover. So make sure your covers grab not only your readers, but your future readers as well.

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