Writer: I have a script here that I believe could be a rather large summer film. It has the potential for sequels...possibly a franchise series. Think "Franchise". Think fast-food tie-ins.
Exec 1: What is it about?
Writer: Well, it is a somewhat dark action film about a grizzled ex-cop who is forced to get back in the game to save his ex-partner. He is haunted by the hostage he failed to rescue fifteen years earlier.
Writer: I was thinking of a Clint Eastwood type for the lead role.
Exec 1: So the ex-partner is a guy? A guy trying to save another guy? Was the dead hostage a female at least? Don't you think there may be some homoerotic undertones there?
Exec 2: Make the character female. Brings in the chick audience. I'm thinking more of an ex-lover than an ex-partner.
Writer: Well...I suppose that would work. I guess I could rewrite the dialogue and a couple of key scenes to reflect that dynamic.
Exec 1: Good, good. What else happens?
Writer: This ex-cop guy...his ex-part...I mean ex-lover, gets kidnapped by the same guy who took the initial hostage he lost.
Exec 1: Who lost?
Writer: Sorry. That Frank Madigan lost. That's the Clint Eastwood type lead. Frank Madigan.
Exec 2: That name is no good. It sounds too angry. It even has the word "mad" in it. Our polling shows that people like their action stars to have more robust names. Like Rock, Steel, or something with a lot of X's in it.
Writer: Well, he is supposed to be angry he...Um...I guess we could change the name. How about something like Rock Madigan? OK...so...um....Rock now has to combat this old nemesis and rescue his ex-lover.
Exec 2: I don't like the grizzled ex-cop thing. Youth is what we want in our films. Youth wants to watch youth. We can't have some grandfather up there. Make him younger.
Exec 1: Yes. Younger. Also, people don't really identify with police officers. How about if we make him a pirate? Pirates test very high with audiences.
Writer (cautiously): Um....sure. I guess I could make our grizzled retired cop into a youthful pirate. Do I still need to call him Rock?
Exec 2: Also, I don't like the "taken hostage" angle. Too overdone. What if the ex-lover becomes a bad guy and now the pirate has to fight his evil ex-lover?
Writer: What about the previous hostage?
Exec 1: I never liked it. Gone. Get rid of it.
Writer: OK. So now we have a pirate who falls in love with a woman who later becomes evil and he has to fight her?
Exec 1: Brilliant!
Exec 2: I love it! I like the way you think.
Exec 1: Also we need a comedic element. Give the guy a talking donkey as a side kick.
Writer: You want a talking donkey aboard a pirate ship?
Exec 1: Have the script ready in a week for casting.