Chronicle Creator Wrote A (Terrible) Super Mario Screenplay At Age 19

Max Landis is the son of legendary movie director John Landis, but also a burgeoning screenwriter himself, having written recent-ish smash hit Chronicle. He also has a tonne of scripts in production. None of these, however, are the sort-of-terrible Super Mario Bros. script he wrote when he was 19 years old.

Landis has totally shared this script on his own website, which is glorious. Plenty of writers are quite content for the world to see them as shrink-wrapped geniuses, but by publishing his terrible Super Mario Bros. script he is showing aspiring writers that it is completely okay to suck in the beginning. Every one does. I don't know if I would be comfortable sharing anything I wrote aged 19 in a public space — doing so makes you incredibly vulnerable.

In sharing this, Landis is really divulging and sharing his process. That's really a brave thing to do for a writer. This is the stumbling block, these are all the things he did wrong.

Also — it's over 400 pages long. Typically movies go for a minute per page. Basically this means that Max Landis wrote a script for a Mario movie that would have lasted seven hours.

I like Mario more than the next man, but I don't think I could have dealt with that.

I don't know if the actual script itself is genuinely worth reading, but Max Landis' introduction to the script — written in the present — is unmissable. It details his mindset at the time, what he's learned since.

A must read for any aspiring writer.


    *cough* contradicting article titles *cough* *cough*

      *cough* different article authors *cough*
      *cough* also, they're not necessarily contradictory *cough*

    Oh, it's actually the same guy who wrote Shocker: Legit.

    Landis is an interesting character. I've stumbled across his stuff from time to time and I'm kind of annoyed that he took an idea I've also had and did it better than I could with Chronicle.

    I think what I like best about this script - well, the introduction to it anyhow - is that it's making me rethink the "burn it all and salt the earth" approach I've taken to my earlier attempts at writing.

    There's a shitload to learn from just how bad you were and I'm sure that in time, Landis will look back at his current work and realise just how shit some parts of it are (jerkbag stole my idea, dammit!). But more importantly, he'll look back and realise just how awesome other bits are.

    That's how you get better at things. By starting off shit and working up from there.

      Now I'm actually curious about the idea you had?

        Two unrelated people get telekinesis, explore how that impacts their lives (one becomes a vigilante, the other uses it for fame) while working out the limits of their powers. Eventually they butt heads and think that the other is the villain. Epic showdown in the middle of city ensues.

        Very broad strokes and Chronicle is nowhere near the first thing to cover that either. There were a handful of story beats and bits of characterisation that overlapped but that's apparently inevitable when you're doing a superhero origin story.

        Wish I had thought of the bits with the cameras though. That was really neat.

          Not gonna lie. Had a similar idea to chronicle. Most of it and it was roughly from 2002. Sadly once I saw chronicle I got so upset haha.

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