The Writing Dream of Scooby-Doo: So I have this idea…

Mystery MachineSo as a writer I am struggling with something. Has this happened to you, my fellow writers? You get this great idea for a story and you can’t escape it. It is like a drug. The idea keeps you up at night; it fills up your notepad with ideas. You breathe this idea. And when you close your eyes it plays out in your imagination like a movie on the greatest big screen ever.

You live for the idea, and the idea lives in you.

Okay… now consider this all-engrossing idea with a big talking dog, a bunch of teenagers and villains in silly and elaborate costumes.

Yes, I am Scooby-Doo obsessed because of a great script idea I have. This is more than just a passing fancy. For example, last week, when I snuck away to work on my novel, I instead spent the entire time perfecting my outline for this script. Happily giggling as I did it the entire time.

I can’t escape Mystery, Inc.! It’s like I am stuck in one of Fred’s elaborate traps. And I dream of writing “Jinkies” in a script and hearing Velma saying it, knowing that I was the one who put that word there.

I need to write my Scooby-Doo screenplay—my creativity is craving it!—but there is a very, very good chance after I do it that is where it will end. Zoinks! Which makes all of the creative and inspired stress over this so much more painful.

Let me start this over and explain this better… starting with me, the author stuck in the back of the mystery machine.

My Backstory

Just in case I am super lucky and someone from the world of Scooby-Doo and WB Animation find this post, let me just give a brief recap of my bio. I actually got my masters in writing for film from the University of Southern California. I have written numerous screenplays (some have won awards) and have been represented for my scripts in the past. Sadly, none of them were produced; honestly, this was because I put less energy into promoting them after turning my focus to my novels which I have had some minor successes with. I have also had the pleasure of teaching screenplay writing on the college level. (You can learn about any of my published novels and my produced radio series via the links above).

So when I say I want to write a Scooby-Doo animated film and I have an idea, this is not a fanboy thing (well, I am a fan and a boy, but you know what I mean). This is a doable project and I have broken this idea down enough to know that it is worthy of my time and energy to write it and worthy of your time to read/watch it. (By the way, I can be reached via this site, on Twitter via @sdsouthard and by my writing e-mail address- AJAD.Southard@gmail.com.)

Moving on…

The funny thing is that this little obsession is not a new thing for me. The very first thing I was every hired to write about online was about the first live-action Scooby-Doo movie. (Wow! I actually found the article! Man, don’t I sound snarky in it!?! It’s a little embarrassing. By the way, I disagree with what I said about Matthew Lillard, he is the perfect Shaggy and he gets full respect from me for his voice work. I am a fan. But, beyond the dated aspect of it, even then you can see my passion for these characters. By the way, can you believe those first live-action films were written by James Gunn? Seriously? The James Gunn behind Guardians of the Galaxy.) I wrote about this interest of mine as well on this site, noting how part of the gothic “Let’s solve a mystery” fun inspired parts of my novel Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare (here is the link to that article).

Okay, back to my Scooby-Doo conundrum.

While I have numerous documents filled with dialogue, a detailed outline, piles of notes, I am doing my best to hold myself back from finalizing this. I DO HAVE a fine-tuned synopsis and cast list that I can share (and I know completing the screenplay would not take me long at all, little more than a few weeks because that is how I work as a writer). To create more at this time would be to set myself up for probable disappointment. There are three reasons why…

The Problems

Here are the great snags for my Hanna-Barbera dream.

  1. I would have a dickens of a time convincing an agent to represent this script. Scooby-Doo is an owned franchise, so there is only one place the agent can call. And if WB Animation says no to them.… Well, it’s done. I can’t imagine an agent (unless they have worked with WB Animation in the past) wanting to take that time and energy for a one-shot possibility.
  2. It looks like WB Animation does everything in-house with their writing and production. So how often do they consider scripts outside the house? I’m not sure. When you visit the IMDB pages for their previous movies, each of them (writers and directors) have long resumes of previous projects at WB. So, from what I can see, it’s all in-house and obviously, I am not.
  3. Also, I can’t even find an address to the “house.” I cannot find any avenues online to submit scripts/synopsis; nor can I even find an address to submit a letter or e-mail. This means, if I want to get something to them I will probably need a contact.

So how do I get a synopsis to the right people? How do I move this forward?

I considered outright sending tweets and e-mails to previous directors of the great dane’s animated direct-to-video films. I even tried it with one last week, but did not get a response. (Who knows if they get requests like this all the time?) It feels all very fanboy (there is that word again) to send those e-mails/tweets. Also, it sounds aggressive.

Since I moved away from LA, most of my hope lies online to finding or meeting anyone. I have been considering visiting different forums and sites around animation to see if there are possibilities. Sadly, I can’t think of an idea beyond that…

What I Can Say

I’m not one of those writers who want to break the mold, look at the characters in a new way.

Not at all.

Creatures in CostumesMy idea actually fits right into the story beats and characters we know so well. If anything the script will build on the relationship of the group, showing them as a team and simply give them another fun and funny adventure. It will salute a lot of the villains from their past. Heck, I even have the Hex Girls in it! That is how much I know this world.

The working title of the script is “The Many Terrors of Scooby-Doo!” and it follows the gang as they are invited to spend the weekend at the mansion of an eccentric mystery author… Oh, and his large mansion is built next door to a ghost town… and the author gets kidnapped by his own scary creation. I don’t want to say more, but the cast is filled with suspects and fun characters.

Like I said, this is a real Scooby-Doo idea, nothing cynical about it. The humor is exactly at the level of the audience. Heck, I even give Shaggy a bunch of bad puns.

It just pains me to think that this might forever just stick in my head. I need to find a way to get this synopsis to the right people… but how? That is the great mystery confronting me right now. Ghouls and ghosts I can deal with, the paths of Hollywood are trickier.

The Wonder of Kids

One of the great things about being a dad has been rediscovering all of my favorite shows from when I was a kid. My wife and I have revisited all of our own childhood favorites.

Let me correct that, it’s more than simply revisiting in many ways. See, you find a bit of your lost childhood in the viewing and you get to also find something new in watching your kids discover them for the first time. And nothing has drawn the family more around the screen than any of the cartoons starring the mystery gang.

The problem, as anyone reading this can see, is ever since I got this idea now when my kids watch Scooby-Doo, a part of my mind is taking notes, working out ideas and wondering what to do. Frankly, my relationship with the show has grown. I no longer want to watch this world; I want to play in it.

And just imagine- To say that I wrote something for a Hanna-Barbera creation? As Daphne Blake would say, “Jeepers!”

Honestly, that would be a piece of fanboy heaven.

Me Stuff, front coverIf you liked reading this post, why not check out one of my books? I’ve just had a book published collecting some of my most popular posts. It is entitled Me Stuff.

If fiction is more your thing, I’ve had four novels published in the last few years, A Jane Austen Daydream, Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous DareMy Problem With Doors and Megan.

You can find all of these books via my amazon.com author page here. Thanks for reading!

Need an editor? Dream of finishing that book but need some help? Learn about my editing services by visiting this page on my site. Or you can contact Rebecca T. Dickson and request to work with me by clicking the image below.

Rebecca T. Dickson, Editor

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4 responses

  1. Pingback: The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard | And Now the Back Flip! A Writing Update

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