Watch MAX COBRA TV Pilot Reading:
NARRATOR – Lorry Ayers
MAX COBRA – Jarrid Terrell
GENERAL/AGENT CONAN – Geoff Mays
PRESIDENT POWERS – David Occhipinti
DR. SANFORD – Christina Santos
Get to know writer Brad Heisler:
1. What is your TV PILOT about?
Well, plot-wise, the pilot of Max Cobra: Dark Future is about an ex-government assassin/war hero drafted by the president to stop rogue Soviet soldiers from destroying the planet in an alternate version of 1997.
But conceptually, the show is about recreating the magic of the old 80s action movies, when heroes were effortlessly cool, the dialogue was unforgettable and immediately quotable, the effects were campy and vivid, and most importantly, the action was fun. Action today takes itself too seriously and, honestly, they just don’t write one-liners like they used to. Max Cobra: Dark Future is about fixing that.
2. Why should this screenplay be made into a TV Show?
Retro is in. From sequels to the Terminator and Mad Max series, to upcoming remakes of Big Trouble in Little China and Road House, to affectionate parodies of the genre such as Moonbeam City, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, and Kung Fury, people are eating up the 80s nostalgia. Due to the evolving cinematic nature of television, and the lack of substantial live action comedies that aren’t sitcoms, TV is the perfect medium to explore the incredibly wide and multi-faceted scope of a retro-futuristic post-apocalyptic chrome and neon 80s fueled dystopian version of 1997.
3. How would you describe this story in two words?
4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?
Jurassic Park, without a doubt.
5. How long have you been working on this screenplay?
The first draft of the script was written by hand in a spiral notebook while I was on vacation in less than a week. Rewrites took a little bit longer.
6. How many stories have you written?
Two full length two-act plays, six one-act plays. A dozen short films, two completed feature length screenplays, and now one TV pilot. Countless short stories, novels, and screenplays that are all in various stages of progress. The plots have ranged from a murder mystery on the Titanic to a coming-of-age medical drama to an anachronistic pirate adventure about finding your place in the world, but the one common thread is that all of them have tried to make people laugh.
7. What motivated you to write this screenplay?
Love for the genre, passed on to me by my dad. Conan the Barbarian quotes were basically a second language for us. One of my favorite movies was always Escape from New York. Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken is the definition of badass. The entire idea for Max Cobra: Dark Future grew from the question, “What’s the most insane and awesome way anybody could ever lose their eye and need to wear an eyepatch?”
8. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?
Actually, I’ve never written a script that was easier to write. One of the beautiful things about action movies is they all end the exact same way, with a huge showdown between the hero and the big bad. Because I knew the end goal, I just wrote the most ridiculous things to get from point A to point B to point Final Battle, and tried to have as much fun as possible, embracing the clichés and tropes and cranking them up to 11 rather than fighting them.
9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
If I spent as much time on anything else as I do on fantasy football, I’d be unstoppable. I’ve just got back into comic books. I also caught the travel bug recently. I took a month off to solo travel Mexico in June (and wound up writing this script), and I’m currently planning my next globe-trotting adventure.
10. What influenced you to enter the WILDsound Festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?
The biggest draw for WILDsound is the chance to get your work read, and interpreted, and put out into the world in some form. I’m incredibly excited to see how these characters sound when they’re out of my head, and hopefully this will lead to some other opportunities for the story.
11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?
Let the work be bad at first. You have to write the story, even if the way you write it isn’t great at all. Once you have something to build off of, once the story’s skeleton is there, the hard part’s over. Rewriting is easier than writing, so struggle and push through the writing, and you’ll be in the clear.
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