Discuss all things Ghostbusters here, unless they would be better suited in one of the few forums below.
User avatar
By GBPaulRivera
#4902950
Let's be honest, most of us have probably dabbled in fan-fiction or even written film scripts with this intention: "This is how I'd do a Ghostbusters story." And to be frank, it's a mixed bag of good, bad, and" ... yeah, let's forget we wrote/read that", but then one has to ask, what objectively makes a good story for Ghostbusters? Sometimes, it seems all people want to do is re-do the original than go off into an "original" avenue? But is that due to people thinking you need to do what the original(s) did for it to be good or can you know and embrace that spirit of them into making content that isn't going down the same path and still be good? How far can it stray before it's NOT Ghostbusters? We have tons of examples from nearly 35 years of it, but it's kinda intrigued me as to what people say is and isn't Ghostbusters. Anyways, I'd like to hear what people think? I mean most I've read are GB 3 sequels (that rip-off the game) or crossovers or weird Slice of Life stories. :whatever:
By Esbe77
#4902978
I guess it differs from people to people.

Some may prefer comedy, others will tend towards horror (as far as genres go). But mainly, what truly has to work, I guess, is if you feel you have a strong plot, varied characters that aren't cardboard cut-outs, and a nice rhythm and flow from one scene to the next.

These are but a few of the multiple points one can find to make a good story.

But if I'm to answer with a little more precision (from my point of view, at least), I'll say this: the ingredients needed for a good Ghostbusters story are:

1- Having watched the movies enough that you have studied them, knowing what makes their strength, weakness, and more.
2- Create characters that are as different as the ones portrayed in the movies and TV shows (if you're writing an original storyline) or stick as close as possible to what's been previously established (when writing a continuity story), while creating some new info or discovering new ideas so as not to simply repeat what's been done already.
3- Have fun with writing the story, but one thing I learned from Charlie Chaplin: do not be afraid to rewrite as much as needed until a scene has become the best it can be. In other words: even if your preferred bit has to be cut, then cut it.
4- Trim everything that's unnecessary. As mentioned in #3, you have to be prepared to cut many parts, even the ones you like the best, if they don't serve the plot. If there's a lot of similar info dumped here and there, it's all for the "cutting room floor". If characters feel unmotivated or do not give credence to a scene, same fate.
5- Create or find creatures you know will be either scary or funny or a combination of both.
6- Try and give said creatures a purpose (as out there or as outlandish as it may seem) and have them be a threat to your main characters. A good challenge is usually where you see the main characters' strength and resolve.
7- Just go crazy with your story. It's YOUR story. It can be located in New York, in Amsterdam or Kyoto, but the main idea is for you to have fun and go overboard with your concept. The original film had a really crazy concept and didn't bother with restraints. Until Harold Ramis came along and helped set it in a more mundane fashion, which probably saved the idea.
8- Rewrites will be inevitable if your goal is to do the best Ghostbusters story you can do. E.g.: I've been writing a screen story for a Quebec Ghostbusters fan film and I'm stuck with an ending I don't like (so do most of the cast) so it's a challenge but one I'm sure will help having a better final product if we ever get to do it).
9- You need a main boss/villain that has to make every previous threat feel like a mere skin rash. Gozer was very intimidating even for the small screen time there was. Vigo's presence was felt throughout the entire movie and once he leapt from that painting, did he leave an everlasting impression.
10- Slime. There just can't be a Ghostbusters without it ^_^

That's mostly what I feel is needed, but as John Carpenter once said, when talking about creating a good story: "you need a good story, a good story and a good story". Which could be interpreted as "only you can know when you feel you have all the necessary ingredients".
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By grogking
#4902979
My Thoughts:

There needs to be a mystery to solve - Why are the ghosts here and why are they doing what they are doing?

There needs to be a team with varied personalities that click. Perhaps theres a formula - the smart scientist, the excited childlike fascinated scientist, the grounded everyman, and the sarcastic, unfazed, get rich quick guy. They have to have chemistry, and a believable relationship

A plot that makes sense, not just added in to give some meaning to a special effects show.

It can't take itself to seriously.

Not an overabundance of busting, otherwise it loses its specialness.

New inventions made from household gadgets

Plot should be rooted in history - like Gozer or Vigo.

You need a Peck, an anti-ghostbuster advocate who gets his comeuppance. Should be a univerally disliked government agent, like an IRS guy or something.

Funny banter - when appropriate, not constant talking for talkings sake.
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User avatar
By *NormalGamer*
#4902989
I guess it differs from people to people.

Some may prefer comedy, others will tend towards horror (as far as genres go). But mainly, what truly has to work, I guess, is if you feel you have a strong plot, varied characters that aren't cardboard cut-outs, and a nice rhythm and flow from one scene to the next.
Yeah, this is pretty much how I see it, but to me another ingredient for a good GB story is that story shouldn't be afraid to go into uncharted territory bringing something fresh and new without losing the GB formula at the same time; as well as having characters from many different backgrounds (race, ethnicity, lgbtq, relationships, etc.) which I believe should be secondary and/or minor to that character just as long as they have a motivation that relates and contributes to that story.
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By Esbe77
#4903006
Yeah, this is pretty much how I see it, but to me another ingredient for a good GB story is that story shouldn't be afraid to go into uncharted territory bringing something fresh and new without losing the GB formula at the same time; as well as having characters from many different backgrounds (race, ethnicity, lgbtq, relationships, etc.) which I believe should be secondary and/or minor to that character just as long as they have a motivation that relates and contributes to that story.[/color]
Exactly a point I wanted to make but clean forgot, thanks for saying it :D
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By Commander_Jim
#4903011
1. This isnt a comedy universe, GB is in the real world, with real, relatable people. It just happens that the people we're following are funny people. The humour is organic, the comedy should be character driven, their (very different but complimentary) individual personalities, chemistry with each other, their reactions to things are where the humour comes from. The scares should be real, the romance should be real. GB is not about skits or pratfalls or silly over-the-top characters who'd never exist in the real world. Its about real people reacting to unreal situations. The original movies are not simply a vehicle for jokes or letting comedians improv or dance in front of a camera. They are character-driven, finding humor in the interaction between its characters, as well as their reactions to ridiculous situations and minor characters.

2. The main "villain" and storyline should be played totally straight, as though it could just as easily work in a straight horror film. Just as Gozer and the terror dogs and Vigo could have. Have some fun with secondary ghost catching like Slimer or the montages of catching jogging ghosts and jewel store poltergeists etc, but the main villain should be a serious, high stakes threat. Not joking around like a cartoon villain like Rowan. The film should always be straddling that point between being real and scary and being silly and over the top, but not crossing too far into either.

3. The element of the surreal and weirdness. Things so out of place they are both funny and disturbing because of how wrong they are - ie Stay Puft, giant ghost monsters in central park, a woman being chased by her fur coat thats come back to life, the "Winston" echo in the train tunnel, Janosz walking in the hallway and later dressed as a nanny, the Harbour masters reaction to the Titanic arriving etc. Spooky, odd and kind of funny moments like that.

4. An assortment of unique, memorable side characters. Like Janine, Louis Tully, Walter Peck, Janosz, Mayor Lenny, Judge Wexler etc.

5. A plot line that somehow involves an investigation, that requires the GB to put down their proton packs and do some Ghost CSI.

6. A quirky, offbeat and atmospheric score and eclectic soundtrack.

7. Dont be too polished. We dont want a GB movie looking like a Marvel film. Make it a little bit gritty, make the monster effects a little old school.

8. There should be science fiction elements to GB. In-universe rules should always apply, like a good sci-fi film. For instance the way ghost catching and holding works should always remain the same. You cant be catching ghosts in one scene, then "killing" them with blasters in another scene. We should also know where all this equipment comes from. We dont need to know how it works but we need to know that, for example, Egon designed it and we should have some jargon about "unlicensed nuclear accelerators" and "total proton reversal" etc, just to make all this stuff feel real, and to remind us that these guys are just scientists at the end of the day, not superheroes.

9. Dont lose the blue collar work aspect and dont forget this is a BUSINESS (which I think the 2016 movie did). These guys are "paranormal eliminators" and have a business model (and uniforms and vehicle) that is essentially like a pest extermination business. They advertise and self-promote themselves and are in it for the money.
By Esbe77
#4903095
Wishing you the best of time writing it and to see your project come to fruition.

If I may shed a bit of light on my project at the moment:

The title is "Ghostbusters: Ready to Believe You", and it features the Quebec Ghostbusters as an origin story of how they met. The principle follows a few elements seen in "Freddy Vs. Ghostbusters" and "Return of the Ghostbusters". The New York franchise exists, so do the first films and IDW series. But so far, I'm not saying more except we have a slew of original undead creatures and new ghosts to show :D

Can't wait to write an ending I like... my third act just plain sucks.
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User avatar
By GBPaulRivera
#4903169
1. This isnt a comedy universe, GB is in the real world, with real, relatable people. It just happens that the people we're following are funny people. The humour is organic, the comedy should be character driven, their (very different but complimentary) individual personalities, chemistry with each other, their reactions to things are where the humour comes from. The scares should be real, the romance should be real. GB is not about skits or pratfalls or silly over-the-top characters who'd never exist in the real world. Its about real people reacting to unreal situations. The original movies are not simply a vehicle for jokes or letting comedians improv or dance in front of a camera. They are character-driven, finding humor in the interaction between its characters, as well as their reactions to ridiculous situations and minor characters.

2. The main "villain" and storyline should be played totally straight, as though it could just as easily work in a straight horror film. Just as Gozer and the terror dogs and Vigo could have. Have some fun with secondary ghost catching like Slimer or the montages of catching jogging ghosts and jewel store poltergeists etc, but the main villain should be a serious, high stakes threat. Not joking around like a cartoon villain like Rowan. The film should always be straddling that point between being real and scary and being silly and over the top, but not crossing too far into either.

3. The element of the surreal and weirdness. Things so out of place they are both funny and disturbing because of how wrong they are - ie Stay Puft, giant ghost monsters in central park, a woman being chased by her fur coat thats come back to life, the "Winston" echo in the train tunnel, Janosz walking in the hallway and later dressed as a nanny, the Harbour masters reaction to the Titanic arriving etc. Spooky, odd and kind of funny moments like that.

4. An assortment of unique, memorable side characters. Like Janine, Louis Tully, Walter Peck, Janosz, Mayor Lenny, Judge Wexler etc.

5. A plot line that somehow involves an investigation, that requires the GB to put down their proton packs and do some Ghost CSI.

6. A quirky, offbeat and atmospheric score and eclectic soundtrack.

7. Dont be too polished. We dont want a GB movie looking like a Marvel film. Make it a little bit gritty, make the monster effects a little old school.

8. There should be science fiction elements to GB. In-universe rules should always apply, like a good sci-fi film. For instance the way ghost catching and holding works should always remain the same. You cant be catching ghosts in one scene, then "killing" them with blasters in another scene. We should also know where all this equipment comes from. We dont need to know how it works but we need to know that, for example, Egon designed it and we should have some jargon about "unlicensed nuclear accelerators" and "total proton reversal" etc, just to make all this stuff feel real, and to remind us that these guys are just scientists at the end of the day, not superheroes.

9. Dont lose the blue collar work aspect and dont forget this is a BUSINESS (which I think the 2016 movie did). These guys are "paranormal eliminators" and have a business model (and uniforms and vehicle) that is essentially like a pest extermination business. They advertise and self-promote themselves and are in it for the money.
Uh Jim, you just described the first two movies. I was talking about a STORY, what constitutes a good GB story in any media. Don't get me wrong, you're right about a lot. It's a business, the team can consist of funny people, but the world is real if bordering on surreal sometimes, it needs science-fiction/science-fantasy rules and abilities to help the supernatural and non-reality bits that make it GHOST and BUSTERS, investigation like detectives because they are investigators, and it needs that down to earth, muddy, dirty quality to make them feel human and not superheroes because they're not super heroes, they're exterminators who get the chance to be heroes, and of course a cast that helps/is against the main team in some capacity.

However, the fact you made it like a good Ghostbusters MOVIE ... your stance comes off as a little bit of a very purist stance and your pokes at the holes of continuity and style of the reboot (while some I do agree with), tend to over look the fact that the cartoons did what the originals didn't as well. I mean we had episodes where they went into space or fought playful villains too who weren't always gritty, but a threat or a problem nonetheless. And to be honest, the GBs have in movies, comics, the cartoons, and the game zapped or "killed" or blown ghosts out of existence and not captured them. It's just a rule to not do it in mass quantity or else that energy formulates into something big and bad. I don't want to make this about the reboot, but it is far more in tune with the cartoons than the originals. Other than that, it's a nice list.
User avatar
By GBPaulRivera
#4903170
I guess it differs from people to people.

Some may prefer comedy, others will tend towards horror (as far as genres go). But mainly, what truly has to work, I guess, is if you feel you have a strong plot, varied characters that aren't cardboard cut-outs, and a nice rhythm and flow from one scene to the next.

These are but a few of the multiple points one can find to make a good story.

But if I'm to answer with a little more precision (from my point of view, at least), I'll say this: the ingredients needed for a good Ghostbusters story are:

1- Having watched the movies enough that you have studied them, knowing what makes their strength, weakness, and more.
2- Create characters that are as different as the ones portrayed in the movies and TV shows (if you're writing an original storyline) or stick as close as possible to what's been previously established (when writing a continuity story), while creating some new info or discovering new ideas so as not to simply repeat what's been done already.
3- Have fun with writing the story, but one thing I learned from Charlie Chaplin: do not be afraid to rewrite as much as needed until a scene has become the best it can be. In other words: even if your preferred bit has to be cut, then cut it.
4- Trim everything that's unnecessary. As mentioned in #3, you have to be prepared to cut many parts, even the ones you like the best, if they don't serve the plot. If there's a lot of similar info dumped here and there, it's all for the "cutting room floor". If characters feel unmotivated or do not give credence to a scene, same fate.
5- Create or find creatures you know will be either scary or funny or a combination of both.
6- Try and give said creatures a purpose (as out there or as outlandish as it may seem) and have them be a threat to your main characters. A good challenge is usually where you see the main characters' strength and resolve.
7- Just go crazy with your story. It's YOUR story. It can be located in New York, in Amsterdam or Kyoto, but the main idea is for you to have fun and go overboard with your concept. The original film had a really crazy concept and didn't bother with restraints. Until Harold Ramis came along and helped set it in a more mundane fashion, which probably saved the idea.
8- Rewrites will be inevitable if your goal is to do the best Ghostbusters story you can do. E.g.: I've been writing a screen story for a Quebec Ghostbusters fan film and I'm stuck with an ending I don't like (so do most of the cast) so it's a challenge but one I'm sure will help having a better final product if we ever get to do it).
9- You need a main boss/villain that has to make every previous threat feel like a mere skin rash. Gozer was very intimidating even for the small screen time there was. Vigo's presence was felt throughout the entire movie and once he leapt from that painting, did he leave an everlasting impression.
10- Slime. There just can't be a Ghostbusters without it ^_^

That's mostly what I feel is needed, but as John Carpenter once said, when talking about creating a good story: "you need a good story, a good story and a good story". Which could be interpreted as "only you can know when you feel you have all the necessary ingredients".
Excellent qualities. Personally, in my experience of trying to write GB, it's tough because you need to keep these points (which I share too btw) in balance, but with all its pains, I love writing the GBs.
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User avatar
By GBPaulRivera
#4903173
Im actually writing a sequel that takes place after the canon game and idw comics. It'll be in the vein of the originals.
I wish you the best of luck. I'm trying to write my own on-going comic series about the ATC and the originals, and boy is it hard, but so much fun.
By One time
#4903179
Hi, I'm new here.

For me Ghostbusters is more than the sum of its parts.

Its parts are just a comedy about janitors dealing with the supernatural in a mundane way. A great chemistry between the janitors, great comedy and an over the top storyline that gets absurder as the story progresses.

That's just a nice, funny movie.. But;

Where it becomes more than the "sum of its parts" I would say is:

It tackles the age old "human condition" i.e. mortality, fear of death, etc. from a reverse viewpoint. With (fantasy but still) tangible science. With laconic, dry humor. It's as if our in built fear of this mortal life melts away in this world the Ghostbusters inhibit.

The afterlife is real, measurable, one can interact with it, using the right tools/science. No need to fear it anymore. The entire fear of death off our shoulders.

In addition, the 4 characters are perfectly different companions to the "craft/tools/technology".

Venkman's dry humor in seemingly extraordinary circumstances.
Egon's knowledge and wisdom regarding the afterlife and all that dwell in it.
Ray's unlimited and never ending optimism (remember Gb2? "Hey it's not so bad, the holiday season is coming.") The eternal feel good optimist.
Winston's cynicism and link to the audience, our glue to the movie.

Add to that the overall dry, realistic humor and deadpan serious tone. This grounds the story in our "real" reality and makes the role reversal of taking control of the "human condition" all the more believable.

So that is what I think makes a great Ghostbusters story.

One that shows you the real, actual world you see when you step outside. But something happens and slowly, real, tangible things start to become more and more absurd. Slowly. Step by step. Until even a full on four fold crossrip makes you go: "sure, why not". And these characters accompany you through the whole journey.
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