After his son is shot in a drive-by, a gangster must use his crippled werewolf abilities to kill the vengeful vampire who has been attacking his gang.
The combination of gangs, wearwolfs and vampires sounds interesting. It sounds like you want to take the paradigm established in the Twilight movies and put it into a Boys in the Hood setting.
I think the stakes need to be made higher, my try:
After his son is shot in a drive-by, a gangster must use his weakened wearwilf powers to kill the vengful vampire in charge of the rival gang.
If the antagonist is on his own he sounds more crazy than dangerous, but if he has a posse behind him he sounds more dangerous than crazy.
If your swinging for the fences with this premise, writing an origin story for a franchise, then I suggest the protagonist be the victim’s younger brother rather than his father. That way, the saga will have greater appeal to the sweet spot in the demographics necessary to built and sustain a franchise, the teen and young adult audience.
And consequently the protagonist’s character arc would be to develop his nascent (rather than crippled) powers. He’s got to build and learn how to flex his inner muscles. Yeah, like a certain young Jedi in a galaxy far, far away — the standard, Hero’s Journey. Tried and true — and lucrative — when it works.
Finally, have you thought about switching gender roles, making the protagonist a she, the antagonist a he? With the successful resurrection of the Wonder Woman character, I would guess Hollyweird is looking for other franchise-friendly female action characters.
Well, you gotta tell the story you gotta tell, and I respect that.
However, your plot is an origin story for a multiple feature franchise which is why I asked myself (and now you): who is the audience for the franchise? (For darn sure, that’s going to be the 1st question on the mind of any producer: what is going to give the story line legs?)
If I read the box-office returns rightly, the core audience for every tent-pole film franchise that is a going concern is the youth-YA audience. How does your middle-aged dad appeal to that demographic? (VOD series appears to be a different market. Which venue are you aiming for, 21st century VOD , or 20th century theaters.)
>>I alternate between male and female protagonists. This one just happens to fall on the male turn.
Okay, but I suggest staying open to possibilities and discoveries. (FWIW: I am systematic to the point of OCD. Like with the Hollywood murder mystery I am writing. I always conceived it with a male protagonist because of the autobiographical elements. But one day, my protagonist rebelled against my OCD, underwent a creative sex change operation, became a woman. And, wow, the dramatic possibilities expanded exponentially. )
Yes, the hook of your story is werewolf gangs vs. vampire gangs. (Which kind of makes other elements negotiable, contingent.) I like the Latino angle — that would definitely appeal to that demographic. So, what is the ethnic ID of the vampire gang?
>>>> I want to say that there are only three supernaturals even in the story, so it’s not a gang made up of werewolves vs. a gang made up of vampires
So I read more into the logline than I should have. I wonder if I my misreading is atypical or a potential pitfall other readers will fall into.
I am inclined to the opinion that a gang of werewolves vs. a clan of vampires is a stronger hook. Particularly as you’re imagining a fairly violent story: werewolves going claw-to-fang with vampires is a much stronger visual.
Here’s where I initially got confused: the logline says that a werewolf’s son was shot by a vampire. Shot — not bled to death? Guns instead of fangs?
Okay, I’m overthinking the story. However, vampires and werewolves are stock characters of the genre which means they come with certain conventions, certain expectations on the part of the audience.
Of course, if you’ve got a unique twist on those conventions — great. But I don’t see it, yet.
Werewolf versus vampire always brings to mind the Twilight saga. Which did have a unique twist on the conventions: an immortal vampire teen boy and mortal girl fall in love. That’s the inciting incident of the franchise. It triggers a conflict arising from what is unique about being a vampire.
In contrast, I see nothing in the inciting incident that incorporates what is unique to either werewolves or vampires. It’s standard-issue drive-by shooting. Not revenge by an involuntary “blood donation” — but by a bullet. Unlike in the Twilight saga, the inciting incident in this logline doesn’t seem to have a unique play on the convention for either vampires or werewolves.
Maybe you’ve got a unique play on the conventions. My point is that if you’re through line is a battle between a werewolf and a vampire, imho, the logline would be strengthened by an inciting incident that incorporates something that is particular to being a vampire (or werewolf).
To frame my response from another perspective: what is the story hook for you that compels you to want to write the script? Why MUST you write this story?
I realize that’s beyond the standard scope of a discussion, but sometimes knowing the personal hook for the author can be useful in identifying the universal hook for the movie audience.
I’ve been thinking more about your feedback, dpg. I already touched on it in my response before, but I have a little more to add. She doesn’t openly use her vampire powers in the middle of the day because of the aforementioned hush-hush nature of magic and the consequences those actions would bring. Which, being fairly new to the supernatural community, she doesn’t fully grasp but yet she still knows not to cross that line. She plays in his world, a gangster. Not only that, but the stakes and the lengths she’ll go to get vengeance escalate throughout the story, as she starts to become bolder and more accustomed to her power.
So, I ask you a question now, which would be more compelling, a man having to stop his son from being turned into a vampire in front of him at the climax, the height of emotion, or at the beginning of the story, which just leads to an empty kind of vengeance? At the beginning she shows she can get to him, his son is in danger, the only person he has left, but he can still be protected, what drives him.
Thanks for the discussion. I’m happy with what I have so far and you’ve made me look through and examine what I have.
>>>She doesn’t openly use her vampire powers in the middle of the day because of the aforementioned hush-hush nature of magic
Isn’t the conventional rule that vampires have to lie low in the day time because sunlight will kill them?
IMHO: If you kill the son off at the beginning (for whatever reason) the story loses a source of ever greater complications and dramatic tension, ongoing jeopardy and suspense. Keeping the son alive (maybe she tries to kill him but fails) gives the father something more –a lot more — to worry about, and therefore, the audience a lot more to worry about. Other than his own life what greater threat does the vampire pose to him than the ongoing threat of her killing his son (or seducing him into becoming a vampire)?
I think the son is too good for the sake of the longer arc of the narrative to have him killed in the 1st Act.
The son does survive. He gets shot and is taken to the hospital, where is his father doesn’t want him because he could be attacked there. I was just responding to your idea of the inciting incident being that the son is turned into a vampire when I think it is more dramatic and to have the son shot non-fatally and then be what drives the main character, because he has to protect him.
As I said in my earlier comment, this vampire can survive in sunlight, though she is weakened. If she was a normal vampire and had to go into her coffin or whatever in the day, then one weakened werewolf could tear through a gang of normal people and just stake her while sleeps. No challenge. It gives the main character a stark advantage over the antagonist.
Now let me clarify my position: I always thought that a long term plot threat would be that the vampire could “turn” the son, not that she actually does in the inciting incident.
>>> this vampire can survive in sunlight, though she is weakened.
I assume you’ve got a backstory explanation why she gets to be different. I understand the situation you’re trying to set up, to rig the contest between the two so that initially the odds are overwhelming not in his favor. And that’s the dramatically correct thing to do, of course. But my first reaction is that giving her the ability to survive being exposed to sunlight is a tad too convenient for the sake of your plot.
>>>just stake her while sleeps
Easier said than done if she’s smart enough to be stay very well hidden AND his powers are crippled. After all doesn’t “crippled powers” entail a diminished capacity to track down prey using the sensory powers of a wolf (superior smell and sight, for example)?
But there I go again, overthinking for a genre that requires a viewer to just accept on faith the conditions of the dramatic premise and enjoy the story.
Oh, since you said ” I see nothing in the inciting incident that incorporates what is unique to either werewolves or vampires. It’s standard-issue drive-by shooting. Not revenge by an involuntary “blood donation” — but by a bullet.”
I thought you thought the inciting incident should be the turning of his son.
I often find myself doing that for my own stories. I try to map and explain everything so it makes sense and then eventually I just realize, “It a fantasy, he can do magic. That’s that.”
Even if she can stay well hidden, that’s still 8+ hours where she can’t act and the protagonist can. He could slaughter the whole rival gang, taking away her resources. There’s just too much he could do. She is quite a bit weaker than other vampires, she gives up some of the strength, speed, etc, in order to be able to operate in the day. There are also other things which affect her because of how new of a vampire she is. But I play pretty fast and loose with the established conventions. I see most of them as suggestions, not rules. I use them or ignore them depending on how convenient they are for my story. For example, most werewolves aren’t beholden to moon in order to shape-shift. With a little practice they can do it at will. That has little to do with this story but it will be applied in the sequel I’m planning.
Sure, his senses aren’t as good as they were when he was at full strength, but he still is quite adept at tracking, using his enhanced senses and the mundane methods he’s picked up over the years of hunting prey.