Remember yesterday when I discussed film ideas I had for Backyard Sports? Well, as it turns out, I’m still focused on this dream! It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, since 2004 in fact. To put in perspective: If my dream was a person, it’d be a high school sophomore (I say “sophomore” because, if we go by technicality, it was born in summer 2004, and so would presumably be a high school sophomore. You know, the one that goes clubbing with a fake ID because Mommy and Daddy don’t give it enough freedom.) Furthermore, Bush Jr. was still in his first term as president, Greta Thunberg is only one year older, and just to top it off, I know a young lady who’s the same age it is, and she just gave head to her boyfriend.
Now, most kids at that age don’t have very substantial dreams. In fact, most girls at that age either want to be pop stars or Disney Princesses. (Which I also liked at that age, but preferred the more “down-to-earth” ones with their own strengths and skills like Jasmine, Ariel, and Belle. Especially Belle.)
So why would I care? Because, I’ve always wanted to share my imagination with the rest of the world. However, it’s always been difficult for me to create ideas out of thin air. My father, who applies his writing skills to the academic world, has a similar problem. At conferences he’s spoken at, he’s said that, while he’s never written a fictional novel and never will, history comes easy for him “because everything’s already there.” While I apply my skills to fictional worlds, the dynamics are nevertheless similar.
When I was little and make stories inside my head, they always were based on some sort of cartoon, book series, or videogame series that I deeply appreciated. While I enjoyed making up said series, sometimes I would feel guilty, as I thought I was “stealing” other peoples’ characters. In 2012, there was some controversy about SOPA, which would censor about 90% of the internet, around the time I was writing my Backyard Sports fanfic, no less.
“Isn’t it illegal to take other people’s work?” said Dad.
“Not if they get permission. In fact, the Backyard Sports company will deeply appreciate Jenny’s work!”
Ignoring the fact that Humongous Entertainment was bought out about 14 years ago and would most likely not appreciate a story featuring one of their least popular characters becoming a panther-like superhero, Mom was, in a sense, right. Studios are always eager to make films based off popular franchises, especially classic children’s cartoons. (That’s why there are so many Alvin and the Chipmunks movies, even if the target audience for the first would be too old to enjoy The Road Chip) that they often ignore the quality of their finished work.
Recently, I shot an email to my cousin Ryan, who currently works as an entertainment lawyer in California, about writing for pre-established franchises. (I also mentioned writing for Manimal, which is only technically a franchise because it only lasted eight episodes, nine if you count the 90s crossover with Nightman.) Being the supportive older cousin he was, like always, he sent me a (very long, not copying it here) email about how writing for a franchise can be done, so long as you go through all the hurdles to get permission! Towards the end, he even mentioned the film adaptation of Manimal that Will Ferrell and Adam Mckay were working on (P.S. If either of them is reading this, please get Benedict Cumberbatch to play Dr. Chase. You’ll have the most amount of women orgasming in the theatre when he tears off his clothes as he transforms, and that includes Magic Mike.) He’s too young to have remembered Manimal (but Benedict Cumberbatch certainly isn’t!), and too old to have enjoyed Backyard Sports, yet he still found ways to help support my dreams. Now I have to help him get work on the next Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie just to be fair.
Anyways, as I’ve grown up, my idea evolved into something more comprehensible. The plot follows Jenny, a young autistic girl who moves to their neighborhood and tries to assimilate with them. Her mom says that this was the best school for her, as it’s the only one that can accomodate her disability- after all, everyone else is different, too! However, she doesn’t know how to make friends, so she eats her lunch her first day in the bathroom.
Taking pity on her, Angela (my second-favorite character from the series, you’ll never guess who my favorite character from the series is) takes her aside and invites her to eat lunch with her the following day, as it’s up to the whole school to make sure nobody feels left out. (Everyone here is different, after all.) After seeing Jorge adjacent to her, eat his pizza with a fork, she develops a crush on him and asks her to eat lunch with him. Angela says “Okay, but I don’t recommend flirting.” She sits with him anyway and starts chatting. After a a while, she asks him “Wanna go on a date?” Cue Angela’s disgust and annoyance. (This was actually based off my crush on him. Because I understand that making him a superhero would be too weird for the franchise, I’ve decided to compromise with them by making him fantasize about being a Batman-esque superhero, and discussing this dream with Jenny, which is a typical fantasy for little boys anyway.)
Does this sound like a good idea for the franchise? Please discuss it in the comments!