Friday, October 14, 2011

Rome Sweet Rome - the movie based on an Internet comment

People joke that Hollywood is scraping the bottom of the barrel for movie ideas. Then they hear news that an online comment is being turned into the latest big budget blockbuster, and the joke suddenly doesn't seem quite so funny any more.

It's Blackhawk Down meets Spartacus. Maybe.
But that's the inspiration behind upcoming sci-fi extravaganza Rome Sweet Rome – the story of detachment of U.S. Marines thrown thousands of years back in time to face off against the armies of Augustus Ceasar.

The inspiration for this incredible idea was a question on an online forum - Could I destroy the entire Roman Empire during the reign of Augustus if I traveled back in time with a modern U.S. Marine infantry battalion or MEU?

Aspiring author James Erwin, writing under the name Prufrock451, decided to answer that question in the form of several chapters of flash fiction.

His short tale of a marine unit stationed in Afghanistan, getting hurled back in time to the heart of the Roman Empire, won instant fans on the forum

The post's following popularity drew the attention of Madhouse Entertainment; who nabbed the rights and sold it to Warner Brothers for an undisclosed figure. Rome Sweet Rome will hit our cinema screens soon.

As most aspiring authors probably are, I'm a little envious of Erwin's success! But like with all tales of "overnight success", it's worth pointing out that it was proceeded by a lot of hard work.

James Erwin, from Des Moines, is actually a professional writer (read Declarations of Independence.) Years of writing honed solid storytelling skills - which eventually empowered him to make his interpretation of the forum question so instantly compelling.

For writers, the lesson is a simple one: Your big break could come from seizing the most innocuous opportunity; so make sure to put your writing out there as frequently as you can.

Also, be talented.

Overnight success doesn't happen… well, overnight. You have to plant a lot of seeds (as in, put a lot of writing in the public eye) before something eventually blossoms like it did for Erwin.

You also have to be a good writer.

James Erwin deserves every bit of his success. Good luck!

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