you put years of hard work into writing a magnum opus and folks treat you just like any other writer of fan fiction.

Ofttimes people look on writers of Fan Fiction as the lowest common denominator. The fan who will write and release even the most ludicrous of stories, with minimal connections to what they’re a fan of, just to be seen or heard. And I’ll agree that there are some writers of fan fiction who don’t seem to give two tosses about how awesome their writing seems compared to how awesomely awful it really is.

That becomes a huge problem for legitimate fans of the series, myself included who spend years writing and nurturing their stories or scripts to fruition. In some cases (mine included) they have been blessed and alternately cursed by meeting more than one person behind the worlds they are fans of and are striving to continue in a most legitimate fashion.

I started writing Terminator fiction in 1992, and any study hall period became a brainstorming session for ideas for my Terminator 3 script. By June of 1994 the script had become a 247 page Novel, and I printed out new pages by the day, put them in a three ring binder and carried the story EVERYWHERE. Including to acting classes my Mother and I attended at Beverly Hills Studios.

What happened through those classes changed my life as a up and coming writer and Terminator fan.

One of my instructors overheard me talking about my Terminator 3 story, and they contacted friends of their own within the business. My instructor asked me to bring the binder to class, so I did. It was there in a private room where I met some folks from Industrial Light and Magic. These folks were kind and generous and took a look over the story, and they asked if they could show it to a certain Jim Cameron.

I, of course said yes, and that was the last I saw of my binder for about a month. When I got it back that month later it came with a message from Jim Cameron, via one of the ILM folks: This is awesome especially for a 18 year old keep up the great work.

So I did. Even though it in the end took 8 long years (since I lost ALL my work at one point) it came out all the better for it. As I grew older I matured as a writer, and because of that the T3 script still hold up well 10 years down the road.

Jim contacted me after its release online via e-mail (non of my replies ever got through in response): It was good before now it’s great. You really seem to understand my universe well.

A number of years passed and then Terminator 3 arrived.

I was quite pleased to notice a number of ideas I had placed online in T3: Final Retribution(and unprotected on purpose) appear in the Theatrical cut those include:

A female villian with a liquid metal skin over and endoskeleton.

A hydrogen explosion in a hangar killing the villian at the expense of the sacrificing hero.

And John and The Terminator fighting over The Terminators Mission after it’s been reprogrammed.

Excerpt from T3: Final Retribution-
John
Skynet reprogrammed you-
The Terminator
(As he attacks)
Affirmative…I’m sorry.
John
(Blocking attack with blade arm)
Fight it- you don’t have to do this.

The Terminator
No once you are part of the system it’s over.

This of course became the T-X corrupting his system.

Excerpt from T3: Final Retribution

Termovision: Primary Objective conflict. Primary Objective conflict. New Primary object incompatible with original programming.

Boy is the above familiar.

And No once you are part of the system it’s over became…Desire is irrelevant I am a machine!
Needless to say I really enjoyed the shit out of T3: RotM. Not only because it used some of my stuff and used it really well but because I loved the film as a whole. Also Cameron contacted me, and he wanted to meet.

 

So we did, and we talked Terminator on and on and on. And it was beyond amazing. He asked if I had plans to continue writing based off T3 and I told him of course, and those ideas we shared helped in the forging of TWO MORE scripts with a third on the way.

In 2006 I released T4: Years of Darkness.

In 2008 I released T5: Ashes of War.

 

And in 2009 comes Terminator Salvation.

And what do I notice with much glee I’ll add, that Brancato and Ferris have borrowed again. And I don’t mind one bit.

Of course they change things so that they aren’t totally or even tonally ripping me off, but seeing my ideas on the big screen never gets old.

 

Ironically they used my method of scarring John Connor from my T3: Final Retribution script. And changed time and place, and age of John.

Excerpt from T3: Final Retribution-

John tries to move out of the way, The Terminators fingers leave 3 gashes one above and two below the left eye. The scars the General had worn all his life.

And even a little bit from T4: Years of Darkness…okay they took the whole final act but made it their own as it is all about springing Rees out of the Slave Camp.

But to be specific I can think of one other obvious lift off the top of my head from my script:

Excerpt from T4: Years of Darkness

The Hunter Killer Carrier is huge.

Four massive engines blazing at full throttle keep it moving
forward-

Large Plasma Cannons swivel round in all directions searching for
a target to fire upon.

The huge craft approaches the Human Detention Camp.

Hey it sound just like a Transport to me.

 

Once again though I feel vindicated, proud and accomplished to have such similarities appear within the films to my writing.

I would not be surprised if I find even more.

The point is, while some people look down on fan fiction, for some like myself fan faction is an artform. I don’t do it for kicks, I don’t do it to Jameron, and I don’t do it on a lark.

It’s what got me started in writing, screenwriting and writing of all kinds. And when people attack the valadity of my writing or my recounting of talking and meeting with Jim Cameron I remember what he told me after I had to restart T3 Entirely.

His message was simple and it was thus: Don’t give up because it’s easy, finish it because it’s hard.

 

If you write fan fiction DON’T GIVE UP!

Get better.

 

Ross Out.

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