May 7, 2007

The Amazingly Coincidental Spiderman

Under the guise of giving advice for our own screenwriting projects, John August makes some good points about coincidences in the Spiderman 3 script.

He divides coincidences into two basic categories: Fundamental and Minor. The latter are often the result of oversight or slack writing:

My point is not to rip on Spider-Man 3, but to urge readers to look at their own scripts with an eye towards coincidence. If you’ve written a treatment, search for the following phrases: “at the same time,” “accidentally,” “luckily,” “unfortunately,” and “meanwhile.” They’re often a tip-off that you have events happening by coincidence. There’s almost always a better alternative.
Multiple Fundamental Coincidences, meanwhile, are characteristic of the superhero/comic-based genre. [August is writing the script for Shazam.]

If we assume that almost every script has its genesis in a Fundamental Coincidence, then using the $258 million Spiderman 3 budget as a gauge, each additional Fundamental Coincidence in your script increases your required budget by $65 million and decreases the likelihood it will be produced.

Perils of Coincidence [ via tmn]

Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

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