Thursday, January 28, 2016

Pipe Dream: Casting for a "Kid Sensation" Movie

*For the record, this post started out as the response to a question posed in the comments section of this blog. After I realized how long and drawn-out my answer was (some might say "bloated"), I decided that it probably made more sense to make it a blog post.

Someone recently asked who my dream cast would be for a Kid Sensation movie.  My initial reaction was "Wow." That's further down the road than I've dared to even dream. Moreover, it's a tricky question, because in my mind - when speaking of movie adaptations in a situation like this - it all comes down to budget.  Basically, I think Hollywood budgets for the type of film this would mostly get spent in three areas: talent, special effects and marketing. (Naturally there are other costs, but these are the big three.) 

Marketing usually comes to about a third of a film's total budget. Special effects, to me, is often a you-get-what-you-pay-for venture, so it makes sense to shell out cash to a place like Industrial Light & Magic in order to get a high-end product. Bearing those things in mind, you begin to get a sense of what you can do with respect to casting.

In term sof talent, you can decide to spend mega-bucks on a big name like Tom Cruise, knowing that he will be a huge draw for audiences (although that will leave less $$$ to spend on other things). Or you can do what they did in the Harry Potter films: cast unknowns in the lead roles (Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, etc.) and give them a strong supporting cast with lower salary demands (eg, Alan Rickman).  Of course, with Harry Potter, the story itself was the big draw: the books were so popular that the movies were bound to be blockbusters.

Given my druthers (and assuming my books were popular enough to be considered "guaranteed" blockbusters), I'd probably look for the middle ground here: actors popular enough to be considered famous, but not so in-demand as to command an enormous salary. (Someone like Chris Pratt - at the time he was cast for Guardians of the Galaxy (which had an awesome soundtrack) - comes to mind. He reportedly earned $1.5 for that film, and then blew up enough to get $12M for Jurassic World.)

In essence, I don't know that I have a "dream cast" in mind (although I'm sure there are some Disney Channel stars who would probably be suitable for certain roles).  Of course, all of this assumes that I'd have a say in casting; Hollywood could possibly just buy the movie rights - maybe have me do the screenplay as well - then say, 'Shut up - this is our movie..." At this juncture, however, all of this is just wishful thinking...pipe dreams.  Still, you've got to have dreams in order for them to come true.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Excerpt from Kid Sensation #5: Coronation

For those interested, I'm close to being finished with the next Kid Sensation novel, tentatively entitled Coronation.  In anticipation of that, I've decided to go ahead and post a short excerpt.  (As before, my editor hasn't had a look at this yet, so it's raw and unpolished.)


     Mabazol stared at the symbols intently, and a moment later they began scrolling up on the holographic display, like a teleprompter. It only took me a second to figure it out that this was some type of medical chart showcasing information about the state of my health. From the way Mabazol studied the information – accompanied by occasional grunts of interest (or surprise) – it wasn’t clear whether there was a problem or not.

     After about a minute, I began to grow a little concerned. Maybe I wasn’t as healthy as I felt.

     “What’s the verdict?” I finally asked.

     “Wh-what?” Mabazol asked, my question seemingly catching him off-guard. Apparently, he had become so engrossed in the display that he’d forgotten that he had an actual patient present. That said, he recovered quickly.

     The physician took a moment to clear his throat before speaking. “My apologies. From what I can tell, there are numerous genetic markers which are indicative not only of Caelesian heredity, but also high lineage and exalted pedigree.”

     I frowned, slightly confused. “Meaning?”

    One corner of Berran’s mouth tilted up into a slight smile. “Meaning that you are what you purport to be – a member of the Royal House.”

     I grunted in annoyance. “I hadn’t realized it was up for debate.” 

     Although neither of the two men chose to comment on my statement, I picked up feelings of stress and anxiety – particularly from the doctor. Apparently he was concerned that he had vexed me in some way.

     I let out a long sigh, and then – hoping to put him at ease – said, “I’m sorry, Mabazol. Please continue.”

     “Of course, Prince,” the physician replied, relief flooding through him. “In addition to Caelesian traits, there is also sufficient evidence in your anatomical structure to identify your Terran origins.” 

     “Wait,” I said, brow crinkling in thought. “You’re familiar with human anatomy?”

     “Of course,” Mabazol announced matter-of-factly. “We studied the people of Earth centuries ago and have a complete understanding of them biologically.”

     “So your expertise extends to both Caelesians and Earthlings,” I said deductively. “Well, bearing in mind that you haven’t called for a crash cart, is it safe to assume that there’s nothing wrong with me?”

     The physician hesitated for a moment, then said, “I don’t know.”

     I’m sure the incredulity showed on my face, and I certainly didn’t try to keep it out of my voice as I thundered, “What do you mean you don’t know?!”

     Mabazol winced slightly at my tone, but responded in a steady voice. 

     “Frankly speaking, I’m not qualified to answer the question,” he said. “I’m not sure anyone is.”

     I shook my head in disbelief. “You’re going to have to explain that.”

     “Your physiology is singular, to say the least,” the physician said. “The synthesis of Caelesian genes and Terran DNA has resulted in an amalgam that diverges in significant ways from either autochthonous species.” 

     “Such as?” I asked.

     “For starters,” Mabazol answered, “you have organs and systems that I can’t discern the purpose of. I don’t know if their functions help or hinder, if they make you sick or make you well, if they shorten your lifespan or lengthen it.”

     “In other words,” I concluded, “you don’t know if I’m going to drop dead in the next ten seconds or live forever.”

     “In essence, yes,” the doctor said with a nod. “I have no standard or baseline to serve as an exemplar. That being the case, I can’t even determine what is rare or common with respect to this type of hybridization.”

     Amalgam… Hybridization… I was really starting to dislike the way this guy kept referring to me in the abstract, and it took quite an amount of effort to keep a civil tongue in my head.

     “Forgive me,” Berran interjected, “but are you saying that, should he require medical attention, you wouldn’t be able to treat Prince J’h’dgo?”

     “I could treat him,” the doctor countered. “I simply don’t know if I could treat him effectively because – in his case – I simply don’t know what constitutes the norm.”

     “So what you’re saying is that you’re useless,” I concluded. “At least when it comes to me.”

     “I wouldn’t characterize it in that manner,” Mabazol said, frowning. “However, the entire discussion becomes moot if we could establish benchmark criteria for what constitutes your normal physical condition, Prince.”

     “What would that entail?” Berran asked.

     “Extensive observation of Prince J’h’dgo, to begin with,” the doctor answered.

     Alarm bells started going off in my brain. “You mean like a study?”

     Mabazol nodded. “Very much so.”

     “Forget it,” I said flatly. I wouldn’t even truck with human physicians – whom I’d be much more comfortable with – back on Earth. There was no way I was letting some alien sawbones get his hands on me for a prolonged period of time.

     “Please, my Prince,” Berran said pleadingly, exuding uncertainty and concern. “I beg you to reconsider.”

     It didn’t take a genius to figure out the source of the courier’s unease: he was worried that, should I be injured, no one would know how to treat me. 

     “Berran, you are to be commended for your sentiments,” I said. “Nevertheless, this is something I can’t agree to.”

     Still broadcasting mild misgivings, the courier nodded in acquiescence. “As you wish.”

     I turned to Mabazol. “Are we done?”

     “If you will indulge me once more, my Prince,” the doctor replied, after taking a few seconds to mull things over. “While I can’t treat you with respect to those things I don’t understand, I can certainly address issues that are plainly problematic and primarily cosmetic.”

     I shook my head, nonplussed. “I’m not sure I follow you.”

     The doctor looked a little nervous, as if afraid to speak. He glanced at Berran imploringly.

     “Your ears,” the courier said. “He’s speaking of your rounded ears, Highness.”

Total Pageviews