My Fridays here doing SHYB isn’t my first time taking a bit of time away from the day job to take on a project with an interest in non-violence. Every since I started playing for the peace community’s DC softball team—The Mighty Doves—way back in ’93, I started to envision a super hero who would be a “warrior for peace.”
For the better part of a decade, I had worked to craft the basic idea in my mind. The dilemma that I had at first struggled with was “how do you make a super-hero tale which is about non-violence, and actually make it interesting?” I’m like everyone else in loving the super-hero tales where we get to see the hero’s powers put to the test by some nasty villain. Indeed, despite my non-violent proclivities, I agreed with the critique of the Superman Returns movie that the Man of Steel’s major activity in that film was lifting progressively heavier objects—yawn.
But then, I thought that the question might actually be the answer, or at least a fun premise that turns the super-hero convention on its ear. Here, I give what they call in the business the “one-pager” for MightyDove (please forgive the self-serving verbiage—it’s a pitch piece).
The Adventures of MightyDove
Sometimes Being a Hero Isn’t as Super as it Seems
New Runsville: a gritty, backwater, one-horse town – except that horse is a chicken. The Chik-A-Dee Bird Processing Company looms over all, providing everything from the food Runsfolk eat to the “Treez” their children play in, to the very “Wutter” they drink.
Not exactly the first place you’d look for the world’s greatest superhero.
Instead, it is here that we find an Average Joe so mired in mediocrity that his name is actually…AVERAGE JOE. As AJ’s coworkers tease him for his superhero daydreams, he notices a rare white DOVE on the bird processor line. Remembering his Elvis-obsessed boss values the “lovely and tender” dove above all other birds, AJ barely manages to save the damaged dove from certain doom.
AJ soon finds that he has not saved any ordinary fowl. He has rescued YONAH, the magical dove of peace of Noah’s Ark fame. Yonah repays his debt by transforming AJ into MIGHTYDOVE, a winged-wonder with powers beyond imagination, and even gives our hero a meek but brainy little dove of a sidekick named NEBBISH.
Nebbish has some important advice to deliver, but MightyDove immediately flies off looking for a crisis – and he finds one. The diminutive villain INFERIORITY COMPLEX has taken MAYOR MAJOR MOROHN hostage. Not even New Runsville’s finest heroes – NAVEL FORCE, the super-hot hero who can fire lint to lasers from her mighty midriff; NIN-JAH the Rastafarian assassin sporting dreadlocks with a life of their own; and the zaftig mistress of mackerel, HELEN OF TROUT – can stop the mayhem, or the incessant whining, the Inferiority Complex has wrought.
As MightyDove is poised to land his first fist of fury on Inferiority Complex, Nebbish intrudes with a shocking revelation. If MightyDove uses his powers violently, regardless of reason, his abilities will be taken from him forever. As Inferiority Complex attacks, our hero faces a seemingly insoluble dilemma:
How can a hero be super if he can’t fight the forces of evil?!?
As MightyDove and Nebbish search for the answer, they travel down a hilarious road of action, adventure, and misadventure that ultimately uncovers the secret of New Runsville. A secret so dangerous that it challenges the very nature of heroes in their world…and ours.
A wildly creative send-up of superheroes, one of today’s hottest film genres, The Adventures of MightyDove is an original animated film fantasy with unique characters that will entertain “children of all ages” be they superhero fanatics or just fans of great comedy – all while telling a story that has real meaning for our modern times.
Back in ‘06, my boss Michelle Robinson was kind enough to give me a little time to do what my good friend and fantastic screenwriter Thom Harp has been doing expertly for years—turn an idea into a full screenplay. From what I understand, some writers just have the words fly from their fingers, and others seem to wrestle with each sentence. For the most part, I was the latter. The process made me respect the struggled, and imperfections of bringing an idea fully to life. In short, it’s easy to say what others did wrong, but actually being able to correct it in a way that works is a lot harder than you might think—at least it was for me. But you know what? I actually did it, and 115 pages later, a full story was born.
The other lesson I learned in writing a screenplay is that writing the thing is one job. Trying to get anyone in the industry to read the thing is a completely different, and much harder job. My friend Rob Kutner, a great writer who has done the Daily Show and Conan O’Brien, gave MightyDove a read and gave it an overall positive review, which was heartening. He then quickly cautioned me that getting a screenplay bought by a studio was winning what he called the “Hollywood Lottery.”
But, you never know when you might stumble on that winning ticket. A neighbor of mine recently told me he had a friend “in the business” and my ole’ script came up, saying he’d pass it along to his pal if I wanted. So I’m dusting the ole’ thing off and, taking some of the comments that Rob and Thom had for me, will try to give it a bit of polish and see what happens (including giving the script a little more “white space” – I seem to be a bit verbose, can you believe it?!?).
Okay, off to try and continue putting my money where my mouth is. I’ll return to MightyDove on this blog an another time to give you a few tidbits about how you can make a super-hero who can’t use his powers into something action-packed. But can’t reveal too many spoilers—this might be a major motion-picture someday!