Monday, April 5, 2010

Rejection letter - Spoof Movie

Dear [Redacted]

Thank you for your submission GALLERIA GUARDIAN MOVIE. I appreciate you advising me ahead of time that it was a spoof movie in the tradition of the SCARY MOVIE series. Not having seen PAUL BLART: MALL COP, I would not have been in a position to recognize that 60% of your screenplay was indistinguishable from the original film, save for the occasional addition of a fart or ejaculation moment.

(Kudos on playing that latter joke in the salad dressing scene, by the way. I assure you no one will see that one coming.)

Regrettably, this script doesn't suit our needs at this time. As you might know, the spoof movie has a very short shelf life and most of films you spoof (PAUL BLART, OBSERVE & REPORT, SAW, I LOVE YOU MAN, THE READER, and of course, MAC & ME) have all already been chewed up and spit out by pop culture. By the time this film could be cast, produced, and released, nearly every pop culture reference in here would be incredibly out of date.

Furthermore, you borrow from those films so liberally that it borders on plagerism. Your one saving grace is that even though you copy at last 3/4 of the dialogue almost directly from the source material, somehow the mere process of running it through the rendering plant that is your copy of Final Draft manages to make the writing so dumb that no legitimate author would ever want to actually fight for ownership of it.

No, I don't need you to send me an updated copy, no matter how much you love the riff on HOT TUB TIME MACHINE you came up with last weekend. Usually these spoof movies work best trying to wring laughs from material that wasn't humorous in the first place. (So at least in that regard, you were quite astute in building much of the film around OBSERVE & REPORT.)

Before you waste another two hours writing a spoof movie compilation of 2012 & ALICE IN WONDERLAND (don't steal that idea, I'm working on it myself) let me give you nickel's worth of free advice. Spoof movies are pretty much the lowest form of spec writing these days. In the old days, the genre still represented creativity. The filmmakers would take the broad strokes of a premise or plot of a major movie rather than cribbing directly for most of the film. Characters might be evocative of specific characters from other films, but rarely to the degree that your writing demonstrates. The plots were also less directly cribbed. For instance HOT SHOTS was similar to TOP GUN really only in that both movies were about hot shot fighter pilots who have romances with female instructors. The stories were completely different.

In contrast, most of your jokes are entirely based on taking bits that were funnier in other movies and simply retelling them. The thought process behind any joke seems to be “Hey, remember how funny this gag was in a much better context?”

If this genre isn’t dead yet, scripts like yours will kill it.

I am not returning your submission to you as you requested. I couldn't bear to keep it in my office for one moment longer than necessary so I shredded it and then burned the pieces.

Best of luck in your writing career,

The Bitter Script Reader


  1. Can you at least send me the pdf back? It was my only copy!

  2. I tried faxing it to the number provided, but I kept getting my original back.

  3. I didn't realize people attempted to spec spoofs. It seems like a horrible idea to begin with.

  4. So wait, you mean The 40 Year Old Virgin Who Knocked Up Sarah Marshall and Felt Superbad About It won't be a good film?

    (for those who haven't seen this atrocity: