Popular Stories Written Like Postcards for Plays (Spoiler Alert: they’re boring as hell)

I started to rewrite popular movie/TV log-lines as if they’re on the back of a theater postcard (or described on a website) to hear how boring they sound. It was meant to be a joke on Facebook, but got so much attention that it might become a regular series.

I can’t tell you how often a theatrical production attracts my attention, then my eyes glaze over when I read the description. I have no solution to this chronic marketing problem except for testing different versions with samples of your target audience(s).

I wrote the first three, then friends joined into the fun:

Selfish spoiled playboy Tony Stark has done nothing with his life since inheriting his father’s fortune. After his life changing experience in Afghanistan where he is confronted by both the true consequence of his empire and his own mortality, Stark finally realized how the power of his own intelligence can be used to help the world. His old friends and investors, however, don’t always have the humanity’s best interests in mind, and Stark must make the choice between those he’s trusted his whole life and his own conscience.

*

Dreamer Dorothy Gale has no love for her farm life in Kansas, with its pig pens and farmhands who

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If you haven’t seen Thug Notes videos, every artist can learn from how he describes classic literature.

always seem to watch her a little too closely for her comfort as she grows up. When a tornado knocks her out, she finally travels to the world in her head over the rainbow, where she encounters talking beasts, vertically challenged villages and pagan wannabes who challenge her ideas of right and wrong. Will she stay with them and finally meet the mysterious Wizard of Oz, or will she find her way home to seek out happiness among the family she loves?

*

The well off Hobbit Frodo has settled into his calm life of leisure, brews and nature. The biggest challenge is keeping his estate-hungry cousins away from BagEnd. But then his Uncle Bilbo disappears at his own birthday party, and the trusted if suspicious family friend, a Wizard, throws him out the door in a quest to hide a magical (possibly evil) ring in the land of the elves. Constantly caught between his new adventures, true friends, inevitable betrayals and his humble Hobbit nature, Frodo must decide: stay within a group of warriors sworn to protect him or take a small boat towards a destiny that almost surely will prove to be fatal?

Friends joined into the fun, too. From Sound Designer Vincent Olivieri:

Twentysomething hacker Neo has a boring job and no family to speak of. One day, a mysterious cell phone arrives on his desk, and Neo has a series of interactions with fascinating strangers, eventually leading to his immersion in a topsy-turvy turbulent alternate universe. The previously apathetic Neo is forced to confront his own humanity and role in the human race as he enters an evil computer program and hacks it from the inside out! Contains drug use and adult situations.

From Director Kate Motzenbacker:

After encountering a rebellious group of women in a post-apocalyptic landscape, guilt-ridden drifter Max is forced to confront his own humanity. Exploring themes of environmentalism, reproductive rights, and the human condition, this piece asks the question: what is the responsibility of an individual in the absence of civilization?

From David Jette, Artistic Director of Brimmer Street Theater Co.

What does it mean to be a father? What does it mean to be a son?

These are the questions tackled by this compelling and transformative new work about a young orphan living with his uncle and aunt on a farm far from ‘civilization.’ He spends his days repairing equipment and pining to join his friends on their adventures. Until one day, one of his machines is lost in the desert and is found by an old man, who, long ago, knew the boy’s late father and how he died. The two set off to return the machine to its original owner, and after encountering some truly zany characters, find themselves at odds with the society in which they live, and in search of the force that binds them together.

*

Lot and his family live in a great little part of town, but something about this town is… unique. Unique? More like crazy! His neighbors are total hellions! Until one day, a gorgeous man in white arrives at Job’s door and asks to stay the night. When his neighbors knock on the door and make an ‘indecent proposal,’ and after a strange weather pattern settles in, laying waste to everything he loves dear, Lot and his wife decide it’s time to get out of Dodge. This dramedy about loss and faith is for the whole family, and surely worth its salt!

*

Ever have one of those days? What about one of those YEARS?

Job is a pious man, with one problem – the God he worships is kiiiiind of a dick. After making a bet with the devil (played by One Life to Live’s Kevin Conway!) Job’s deity decides to really mess with his life, in the most unexpected ways! Join us for a night of laughs, and tears, brought forth by this timeless story of the saddest man that God forsook.

Do you have ideas on this? Add your own versions or ideas in the comments.

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