the walking dead

Will and Bobby Wrote Something: Part Six

Click here to start Will and Bobby Wrote Something from Part One! Last month I described Bobby’s and my effort to create a new show that wouldn’t require so much work or passion. After having created three shows together that asked a lot of us, the idea of creating a simple crime procedural felt like the right thing to do. Despite the fact that we never actually sent our scripts to anyone, we felt rejected. More than that, even though no one had ever actually rejected us, we felt like failures. I think we were about to give up before this show came along.

Surprisingly, Dissecting Henry Crane felt to me like one of the purest creative experiences we’d ever had.

The idea was to take the basic concept of The Silence of the Lambs and turn it into a TV show. We would start at “a serial killer is aiding the FBI in catching serial killers,” and branch outward with completely original characters. The idea works, has a staggering amount of potential, and can be tonally diverse, ranging from “fun,” catch-the-killer episodes to darker character-study territory.

As I mentioned, shortly after we began working on Dissecting Henry Crane (in approximately January 2011) a fully licensed show based on Silence of the Lambs was announced (in February 2011). That being the case, Bobby and I have very little of Dissecting Henry Crane down on paper, as we would meet up and mostly just talk out what the plot would be.

Over the course of these conversations, we had basically decided this:

Henry Crane is a serial killer obsessed with serial killers. It’s known that he would emulate the style of other killers, presumably as a means of trying to understand his desire to kill by following their methods. What this means is that no one knows just how many people he has killed. Some of his murders may have actually been pinned on the killer he was copying, and he may actually shoulder blame for murders he didn’t commit.

Henry was eventually caught by an FBI agent named Leonard Weston, and after the media attention regarding his arrest subsided, he had a controversial idea. Recognizing that in addition to being a murderer, Henry Crane is also an encyclopedia about serial killers, Leonard began to consult Henry on cases. Leonard would consult Henry (in his cell) about the likely motivation of an active killer, and Henry would lend both insight and theorize about the killer’s next move. Ultimately this proved a successful endeavor and eventually the news got out that the hero Leonard Weston was working with a psychopathic madmen. Public response was mixed, but they couldn’t argue with the success rate of the two, so they continued to work together for years. Eventually Leonard began teaching courses to FBI agents in training, and was allowed to teleconference Henry Crane into the room not only as an example of a killer but also as an assistant of sorts. They would go over the details of their successful cases for the students, displaying their techniques and experiences in catching murderers.

It’s here that the pilot of the show would have started, with Leonard and Henry years into teaching the course, when they meet a student named Ed Burger (a name I don’t like, but we used). Ed notices an inconsistency in a case Leonard and Henry solved, and his realization suggests that an innocent man was captured instead of a killer. The relationship between Henry/Leonard and the FBI/media explodes with claims that the Henry Crane manipulated Leonard into letting a killer remain free. It’s suggested that Leonard forgot the real threat that Henry poses, and allowed the lunatic to influence his actions.

Ultimately it’s decided that though Leonard was once a brilliant agent, his mind became corrupted by his constant associations with Henry, who is dangerous, but could still be useful with a fresh intelligent agent using his knowledge correctly. Subsequently, they decide to hand over the responsibility to Ed Burger, but warn him that any agent working with Henry essentially has a countdown to corruption above their head.

From here, the show we planned would have been five seasons long, each season centered on a major serial killer with the potential for self-contained shows centering on the capture of a smaller profile killer. We wanted to do a character study of murderers, and each season’s main killer would have their own in-depth character study, as well as some sort of connection to Henry, whether he’d emulated their M.O. at some point or even crossed paths with them.

One of the only actual documents I have of the show is not a good representation of the show, as it’s basically just a rambling series of ideas trying to flesh out Henry’s background and motivation. I wrote it and sent it to Bobby just before we scrapped the whole project and you can even see at the end that I’m literally listing possible ideas for a killer. At the end I assure Bobby that I’m just trying to hash out concepts and exploring ideas, which we could later fine-tune:

Dissecting Henry Crane – Pilot Concept

Season Four would have ended with Henry escaping, setting the stage for Season 5 to focus on Henry himself as the main killer, with revelations about his past, some sort of connection to Ed’s childhood (which we never agreed on), and the revelation that in addition to emulating other serial killers, he had actually developed his own unique method of murder.

This show felt like a breath of fresh air to Bobby and me, as it seemed truly novel. We thought we had stumbled on a formula that no one else had ever noticed before, and as a result we felt very clever. It was exciting. Dissecting Henry Crane could be the type of show where we were free to do whatever we wanted. We could have episodes centered on Ed’s home life, shows from Henry’s perspective, or shows centered on a one-off killer with a bizarre motivation. It was a sort of creative playground.

The news that someone had noticed the potential for a series based on Hannibal Lecter basically murdered Dissecting Henry Crane. And where we had at least been allowed months of developing The Dead Don’t Walk before news of The Walking Dead came to us, we were now allowed merely a few weeks with our new creation before being steamrolled. Given that we were also only just beginning to feel creatively empowered when the news came, I think we were completely thrown out of orbit.

When Dissecting Henry Crane ended, Bobby and I stopped writing together. At this point, there were four entire universes of characters, settings, and storylines that existed nowhere but in our minds, and I think we were too tired to go on. Writing is not easy when you care about what you’re creating, and we learned that even when we try to create without caring, we can’t help but become completely invested in our work. Ultimately I think that’s a good thing, it’s just our luck that let us down.

Well, there's luck and then there's the fact that, again, we never actually contacted anyone about anything. Ever.

Any comments or questions: WillAndBobby@gmail.com

Next month our final project

Will and Bobby Wrote Something: Part Five

Click here to start Will and Bobby Wrote Something from the beginning! Writing is not easy when you care about what you're creating. I think I'm talking about integrity.

It's time to wrap up the story of Edinburg Falls, the mystery show Bobby and I created about a writer who feels like he's lost his way. At the urging of his agent, Henry Crane goes to a small isolated town called Edinburg to try and recapture his passion, but what he finds there are horrors and distractions. Invisible monsters and visions of demons. Instead of facing the problem, he tries to run away, but becomes trapped when the whole town begins to sink into the earth.

We created Edinburg Falls at a time where we were feeling creatively trapped. At this point we'd come up with two television shows: The Dead Don't Walk, which I've previously explained as being an inadvertent carbon-copy of The Walking Dead, and our first show, a comedy, which I'm still keeping under wraps. What I will tell you about it is that, not unlike The Dead Don't Walk, we created our comedy show, loved it, explored the concept, and then watched as a very similar show hit prime time TV. And became huge.

With Edinburg Falls, I think Bobby and I were beginning to feel tapped out. We poured so much energy into each project. We have six full length scripts for our comedy show. We know how the show ends and what happens to our characters.

We spent hours talking about The Dead Don't Walk, and where it should lead. How it should be shot. What the monsters do. What's scary? What scares us? What would we do? Can we draw it ourselves? No! Let's get an artist!

We hit Edinburg Falls at a time where we were still enthusiastic writers, but perhaps a little less optimistic.

Sure, we created something relatively unique, but we also created something so preposterous that we eventually had to face the fact that it really wasn't very good. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love Edinburg Falls. Somewhere inside the pages of what we've written, buried underneath lengthy explanations of native American worshiping grounds and abandoned government control centers there is an honest core. Something worth exploring. But Bobby and I realized years ago that we had to put it away for a while. With that, here is the final piece of Edinburg Falls I'll be sharing with you: the rough outline we were going to use to write a pilot episode.

I just read it to make sure I'm completely willing to post it online publicly, and while I am, I should explain to you the difference between a finished script and the outlines and notes Bobby and I write. As I said, this is an outline, so it is literally a truncated version of what we would have put in a finished script. More than that, it contains some of the goofiest shit in the world, because Bobby and I never originally intended for anyone to see it other than us. That being said, the basic ideas of what would have been in the pilot are awesome, and everything else is unbelievably fucking funny. Especially the guy that runs the hotel. I cannot urge you strong enough to read this. I had no idea:

Edinburg Falls - Pilot Outline

If we entered Edinburg Falls already feeling creatively stunted, we walked away from it feeling absurd. We couldn't believe how ridiculous the show was. Worse than that, we didn't really know what to do next. As I've said, we always loved our comedy show, but always felt the need to have a second concept to round ourselves out in the eyes of potential agents or television executives.

Realizing how drained I felt after all the work we'd done on The Dead Don't Walk and Edinburg Falls, I told Bobby that maybe we were trying too hard. There are a lot of succesful shows on TV that are clearly not passion-projects but are highly rated nontheless. I suggested that we start working on a show with a simple concept. A procedural show like CSI (or a million other shows). A crime show.

We mulled it over for a week or two, until one night I was watching Silence of the Lambs and realized that it basically functions exactly like a crime show. It's basically just about a cop trying to catch a killer with the help of yet another killer. Backing up this idea is the fact  that the prequel to Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon, follows that same formula. Why not just do that 13 times a year for a few seasons?

Bobby and I started working on a TV show based on Silence of the Lambs. Not unlike our approach to The Dead Don't Walk, we knew that we had to take the original concept and make it our own. No Clarice Starling. No Hannibal Lecter. We needed to create our own cop and our own killer.

What started as a project meant to be a simple procedural, meant to be an easy cheat, became yet another ambitious project of ours. We beat ourselves coming up with a killer as horrifying as Hannibal Lecter, and we knew we needed to create a deep, believable world for our version of a Clarice. Eventually we found both. Then we struggled to name them, until we poached names from Edinburg Falls, and our show started to truly take shape.

We had originally meant to shrug off our integrity and write something simple by combining CSI and Silence of the Lambs, but eventually that simple chemical process output a complex and engrossing product:

A TV show called Dissecting Henry Crane.

We felt creatively recharged; we felt unstoppable.

About a month and a half later, it was announced that an official TV series based on Silence of the Lambs was in the works.

It had happened again.

Next month we'll take a look at the work Bobby and I put into Dissecting Henry Crane, but for now, feel free to talk about whatever you want: the shows we've created, your own struggles with writing, or if you don't consider yourself a writer, maybe just share ideas you've had! Everybody always has creative concepts swirling around their minds. What are yours?

And as always, feel free to email us at WillAndBobby@gmail.com

Thanks for reading.

Will and Bobby Wrote Something: Part Two

To go back to Part One: click here! How incredible is it that the name we came up with for our zombie TV show sounds like a weird bitter retort to "The Walking Dead?"

The Dead Don't Walk.

How amazing is that?

"'The Walking Dead,' huh? You know... the dead don't walk. Morons."

As stupid and crazy as all this sounds, I still 100% stand by The Dead Don't Walk. I love the name, I love the concept, and I love our version of zombies.

Being a fan of horror films, I'm familiar with a lot of different versions of zombies. Without a doubt, the most well known and accepted versions of zombies are the ones from Night of the Living Dead. Prior to that, zombies weren't shambling cannibal corpses, but were rather sort of mindless voodoo victims, carrying out someone's orders.

George Romero (the writer/director) somehow redefined the word "zombie" for all time. There have been other revisions, however.

From the Return of the Dead (separate franchise) series, we get the "braaaaaiiiins" zombies, from the 28 Days/Weeks Later franchise we get the "not-a-zombie" Rage Virus victims, and there are countless examples of running, screaming, plotting, talking zombies.

There's no denying that you can't improve upon the original Romero zombies. They're too perfect. They're like the iPad. Apple somehow figured out the formula for a perfect tablet. It feels right and competitors are still playing catch-up.

Romero's zombies feel right.

Bobby and I decided right away, without any discussion on the matter, that the original Romero zombies were what people wanted to see. The shuffling, mindless, hungry, angry reanimated corpses of loved ones.

We did, however, realize that to just take those zombies and build a show around them, while cool, is not ours. That's not our idea. That's just plucking characters out of one situation and putting them in another. Alternatively, that's Bobby and me grabbing a 2 hour movie by it's beginning and ending, and stretching it into a 13 episode TV show.

Bobby and I created a version of zombies similar to the Romero's, but we added the potential for an explanation. We added new weaknesses, and also new strengths.

The treatment we cooked up for The Dead Don't Walk is interesting, but it's also overlong and a little batshit, so just read this portion of it (I'll post the full thing at the end, for those curious), where we explain what our zombies are (notice that you can zoom in or click the arrow to help when reading):

[googleapps domain="docs" dir="viewer" query="authuser=0&srcid=0B2p79ET8UqLkWmJhMHBqakwxc00&pid=explorer&a=v&chrome=false&embedded=true" width="680" height="400" /]

It's a little clumsily written (get used to that), but the facts are great:

They're blind. The survivors learn to take advantage of that weakness. The monsters can still sense light (like you can even when your eyes are closed), but because of that blindness, their other senses are hightened. Every sound could be the signal that gives you away. They can smell you enter a room. If you're careful enough, you can travel right through a street filled with them. The Dead Don't Walk would have been filled with moments of quiet tension. Uncertainty. We'd get face-to-face with our monsters.

Enough of this, I've definitely made my point. The Dead Don't Walk was an interesting show that we came up with way to late (and again, no one knows who we are), and clearly I still love it. Maybe you'll like it, too, and so without further delay, here's a brief script Bobby and I wrote. The only character from this story that would appear in the final show is Gray, who you can learn a little more about in the full treatment I'll post a link to at the end of this post. It's not a full episode, it's just a little 15 minute story that establishes the world and the tone. I hope you enjoy it:

https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=45D1D85841BF0556!20839&authkey=!AI3kJGu_E_Ij5Zc&ithint=file%2cpdf

There you have it. "The Alley." In case you didn't realize why Gray (I might hate this name now) didn't help them at the end, he was afraid that the sound of his gun would give him away to that third group of monsters. Already being exposed under that street light, he couldn't risk it. I'm not sure if we made that clear, though it makes perfect sense. Anyway, as I said, here's a link to the full treatment, where you can learn a little more about him and a whole lot about people that you'll never get to see:

Thanks for reading, guys, I hope you enjoyed. I'm really pretty excited that we can sort of put these old scripts to some use. They've just been sitting on a hard drive, and in the back of my mind, for a long time. Please feel free to comment or email us with your thoughts of not only The Dead Don't Walk, but also this whole Will and Bobby Wrote Something endeavor. You can get us at WillandBobby@gmail.com. Also feel free to follow us on Twitter (@WillAndBobby) and like us on Facebook.

Next week we're going to wrap up The Dead Don't Walk. There's one last script (a companion piece to "The Alley"), and maybe I'll give some more info about where the plot of the show would have gone. Maybe.

Click here to go on to Part Three!

Will and Bobby Wrote Something: Part One

On WBKE, Bobby and I have made reference to different scripts that we’ve written, and on the banner of our website, we call ourselves writers, but none of our writing is available anywhere (aside from bullshit about being fat/going bald). From around 2005 to 2011, Bobby and I were co-writers on a number of different concepts, none of which ever went anywhere. Most of them were awful, some of them had merit, and all of them are completely unrealistic right now.

I’m going to start putting them online.

On the 1st of the month, every month, until I run out of material, come here to see a new script, treatment, or concept for the TV shows, movies, and comic books that Bobby and I (sort of) created.

The first piece of material I’m going to post is from the second project Bobby and I really put effort into. There are things that came before this, and I’ll touch on those eventually, but what I’m writing about today is a really great concept that Bobby and I unfortunately came up with a few years too late.

On Episode 12 of the podcast, Bobby and I had Mike Costa and Matt Battaglia on the show and we started to tell this story:

After Bobby and I came up with our first concept for a TV show, a concept that I still fucking love to this day, we were doing research about how to pitch a show. What we read was that, if you are lucky enough to get a meeting, you should go in to the room with not just one but two concepts. The rationale is that, if the network likes you as a writer but maybe they’re already working on a similar project (or maybe they just don’t like that first idea), they’ll be interested to hear what else you have to offer.

In the beginning of 2010, Bobby and I started trying to figure out another show to write. We had already come up with a comedy, and we wanted to branch out.

Eventually, we realized that the only genre you couldn’t really find on TV was horror. I’ve always been a huge horror-nut, and Bobby was into it, so we just had to figure out what sort of horror we wanted to do.

Vampires had already been fucked by the Twilight series, serial killers were (and are) overdone, and we’ve always been huge fans of the George Romero zombie movies (Night/Dawn/Day of the Living Dead),  so ultimately that’s what we went with.

At the time, it felt so fucking brilliant, simple, and obvious. There had never been a television zombie story! It makes perfect fucking sense: zombie movies are commentaries on society. They have a message hidden under all the fucked up biting and gore. More than that, it seemed like a brilliant idea to have a cast of characters that a viewer would grow to love. We’d show them learn about the monsters, try to adapt, have leadership struggles, and try to find a way to survive. It was brilliant. We came up with a unique, clever, new version of zombies, and started writing immediately.

We wrote a treatment, which lays out the overall concept, the characters, the threat, and where the show would go, and we wrote a short script that could serve as a bite-sized representation of the tone. Then we wrote another.

Previously with our comedy show, we’d tried to film a pilot. Realizing that it would be risky and expensive to film this new zombie show, we had an idea:

Instead of filming anything, we decided to have the script made into a comic book.

Movies and TV shows commonly use storyboards to show the progression of a scene. They’re lightly drawn representations of how the show will be shot. We just wanted to push that idea further. With a comic you could get the mood, the timing, you could show how the world would feel. I was excited. Again, this was before the big zombie-boom and it seemed like we had stumbled across television gold.

I told Mike Costa about the idea to make a comic of our script. He’s a graphic designer who had made a few things for me before, and I thought he might be interested. He suggested that I bring the idea to Matt Battaglia instead, saying that it was something that Matt might be more interested in.

I met with Matt at a bar and explained the entire show to him. I read him parts of the treatment. I showed him pages of the script, he nodded along, he was interested, and then he asked me if I’d ever heard of The Walking Dead.

He told me all about it: an ongoing horror story. A cast of characters with conflicts who grow and change. It was announced as a TV show. Based on a comic book.

Maybe somewhere in the back of my mind I’d heard that. Maybe we did inadvertently steal the concept, but I really don’t think so. I think we just had the same idea way too late.

It’s also not like we’d have made the show if it weren’t for The Walking Dead. We were (are) just two goofy guys who no one has ever heard of.

We’re not so delusional as to think we’d have been kings off the concept.

It was just a weird coincidence.

It happens.

The most fucking absurd, goofy, cartoonish, and annoying thing? The name of the show we came up with. After telling Bobby and me about The Walking Dead, Matt Battaglia agreed to  draw a potential page from the book.

I’ll post scripts starting next month, but for now, look at this amazing, simple, subtle page.

I love it.

He did a great job.

Now look at the fucking name:

The Dead Don't Walk

Feel free to leave a comment or email WillAndBobby@gmail.com about how unoriginal and stupid we are. And click here to go to Part Two!

WBKE - Episode 12: Nerd Culture Part 2

EDIT: Hey guys, evidently I blew it. This episode required some tricky editing, and as a result, we refer to something at the end of the episode seemingly out of no where. We had been discussing how a man in Taipei died in an internet cafe, and no one noticed for hours. So for background info, check out the article here to have some idea what we're talking about: Gamers Ignore Corpse in Internet Cafe. Now, I obviously could go back and edit the references we make out of the episode, but it's not that big a deal.  Just know that we had been talking about how nerds get too invested in things. It's insane that this guy died sitting in a chair in front of a computer. Also, Bobby asks how this is possible, since the guy died after just 10 hours of sitting. He asked why being immobile for a long time evidently kills you. Wouldn't people die in their sleep every night? I made the hilarious joke that when it's recommended you get 8 hours of sleep a night, 8 hours isn't the minimum...It's the maximum! "You gotta get outta that bed, baby!"

Man, I should have left all that in, that's hilarious. I'm hilarious.

Anyway:

This week, Bobby and I are joined again by Michael Costa and Matt Battaglia to have another conversation about a whole bunch of nerdy bullshit. We might actually be nerdier in this one.

This episode has it all: The Walking Dead, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Batman, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and a renewed debate over which one of us is the nerdiest. The decision is honestly pretty surprising.

We also talk about the concept of saying "well the book is better than the movie."

Here's how to get the show:

Click here to listen straight from your browser!

Click here to go straight to the iTunes page!

Or download the free Stitcher app on your Apple/Android/Blackberry device and search "WBKE" to stream the show on your phone!

I hope you enjoy the show guys, please spread the word if you do, and then:

Head over to the Facebook page for the show and click the like button: click here!

Please look for Matt and me (Will) on Twitter: MattJBatt and WillRogers2000

And as always, e-mail us at WillAndBobby@gmail.com with comments, questions, suggestions for topics, or requests to host!

Episode 13 next week!

WBKE - Episode 11: Nerd Culture Part 1

This week on Will and Bobby Know Everything, our good friend Matt Battaglia joins us to discuss nerd culture, and eventually, which one of us is the nerdiest. It's a pretty fast paced episode, where we furiously debate whether or not these franchises suck:

The Walking Dead, Comic Book Men, Star Wars, and Harry Potter.

We each also admit something that we are embarrassed about, and shockingly, Bobby has a shit ton of them.

Also, Bobby tells some insanely fascinating stories, one about a friend, and one about himself, and I'm kicking myself for not asking him more questions about them!

This episode is crazy, it's fun, it's fast paced, and we cover almost everything. ALMOST! There will be a Part Two next week with Mike Costa added to the conversation!

So here's what you should do:

Click here to listen straight from your browser!

Click here to go straight to the iTunes page for the show!

Or download the free Stitcher app for Apple/Android/Blackberry devices and search for "WBKE"

For more detailed instructions on how to get the show, click here!

As always, please send and comments or questions to us at WillAndBobby@gmail.com. Also feel free to send any requests for topics or requests to host, because we're definitely open to both. It doesn't matter where you are, because Skype exists, and our feeling is that everybody has something worth talking about.

You can also find us online on Facebook by clicking here (please click the Like button), and find me and Matt Battaglia on Twitter where we're WillRogers2000 and MattJBatt! We also technically have a Twitter account for the show, which I'll start working on eventually, so follow it if you want: it's just WillAndBobby.

Alright, that's all I've got, listen to the show, and if you like it, please pass on the word, we want to expand our audience and we can really use your help! Thanks and take care!

Part 2 next week!