Friday 4 February 2011

SCREENWRITING - Great Scripts Get Made

A lot of screenwriters moan about how hard it is to get discovered as screenwriters. Most of these ignore the main reason they have been failing: they've yet to write a screenplay.

So the first thing you need to do is write the screenplay. Good screenplays get read and great screenplays get sold and get made. Not many people are sitting on unnoticed genius screenplays. A great script is a great script from page one.

Producers aren't out there trying to keep you at bay. They're desperate for your material, but only if it's incredible. Even those money grabbing producers who don't care about art---- they want something well written and concise.

Why Hollywood keeps making crap we can explore in another article. But here we need to focus on the fact that people want and need great writing and we don't have enough of it. Your first screenplay could be a high concept idea or a little character piece which is exactly what an upcoming indie director is after. If your work is amazing, your project will have legs.

Don't copy anything else and don't worry that your writing is different. Diablo Cody was successful because she was Diablo Cody. You don't get successful by writing Kevin Smith style screenplays unless your name is Kevin Smith. You do it by doing it your way.

There are thousands of people making short films and viral videos and they need your talent, it's a great way to learn. Write for these people. I've found heaps of ways to put my short form writing to use. It's great practice, and those little projects help when you know your feature idea is going to take three years.

Write what you love. What excites you? What movies keep you up past bedtime? What actors do you love? Write with these things in mind. Write your passion. It doesn't mean to regurgitate 'Casablanca', it means regurgitate that feeling 'Casablanca' gave you. That's how you see, hear and feel the world -- through that feeling. It's unique to all of us. We all have a fingerprint we can leave on the film world-- we just have to turn up and do it.

Writing a feature film is hard work. You can't do it in a day and you're gonna burn out after 34 pages. But it's the same for everyone else. You have to show up for the second day and you have to get through page 35 as quick as you can.

We're gonna write screenplays that inspire people, that console people, that mean something to people. But we can only write them if we write them and they can only make them if we write them. So, write them. Write the damn scripts. If your screenplay is truly something special, it'll find a life, somehow.

Let's write.

Care to share?


  1. Although I believe that ingenuity in any form has to be innate (at least somewhat), I also can't help but blame the deplorable decline of American intellect as the primary factor of failure. One of the points you stated was that screenplay writers have to write in their own, definitive way. I'm sorry, but if there's anything modern man can do, it's to COPY. I don't attribute the lack luster creativity on the fact that classics have come and gone, but instead, it's the negligence the younger generation has in studying and enjoying their great predecessors. LET ME POINT OUT. I don't believe people should copy great screen writers of the past (don't copy style, or anything), but it IS good to synthesize something completely new from their ideas. Individuals should be encouraged to build off of old ideas to make INDEPENDENT innovations definitive enough to become a new mile stone. They shouldn't be encouraged to revere and copy their predecessors. They should be encouraged to take a great leap of faith, as their predecessors did, and discover themselves through their craft. Unfortunately, the type of education anyone receives nowadays only has the kids chanting "feed and regurgitate" mantras. How sad how sad.

  2. Leila -- even though I find your tone kind of jarring, you make some valid points. We have so much to learn from those who came before us. I'm not sure if you agreed with what I was writing, or disagreed.. I dedicated a bitterness in your tone, and I'm not totally sure where it's directed! You have some great thoughts though.

  3. Sorry that happened because I was half asleep while I was typing. Ergo.. unintelligible-ness (?), frantic tone and spillover emotions from the day. I agree with you. I think last night my cynicism kicked in to form some jingoistic response.

  4. Great post! It's so true - good writing is well, good writing. And, the best kind of writing is when it comes from the heart. Thanks for sharing! :)

  5. Good writing is also the secret for poppular articles that are pulished.. Writing skills are rare to be found.. Very few persons can write brilliant contents.Thanks a lot for sharing such a wonderful stuff..It was really very helpful...

  6. Screenwriting is just nothing but shows your skills of how you can explain what you is visible to you. So, this is the capability of only get increases by practice. Keep sharing more stuff like this...