We all know movies begin with a screenplay. And as a talented up-and-coming filmmaker, you probably noticed that a lot of the movies being made these days are crap. And you probably think you can do better.
The good news is, you’re probably right!
A few years back, I read screenplays for a producer in NYC… And I learned a few things. The biggest lesson I learned was that most screenplays floating around the market are crap. And I’m not just talking about new screenwriters.
I remember reading screenplays from working, established writers that just seemed underdeveloped. Add the enormous amount of material that came from friends of friends and other producers and I was able to see first-hand how much garbage is floating around out there.
So I can tell you, if you have any talent as a writer, the odds are stacked in your favor. Write a good script!
I’m assuming you want to make a movie. So I’m not going to provide too much advice on how to “sell” your screenplay.
That being said, weither you plan on producing your own material or selling it, there are still a few factors applicable to your end-goal. The first thing you have to do is write. And that means actually sitting down and forcing yourself to put words on an otherwise blank screen.
If this is difficult for you, you might consider finding a writing partner and then sharing a story credit.
Here is the down and dirty lesson for today:
- Get some screenplay software. Final Draft and Movie Magic Screenwriter are the industry standard. Or you could do a Google search for “free screenwriting software.”
- Once you have the software, consider writing a feature script on the cheap. Think in terms of limited locations, with limited actors, with a short schedule that you can eventually shoot with limited equipment on HD video.
- Consider making things funny. Some people think horror comedy works pretty well.
- The story should be fun with a STRONG, marketable CONCEPT.
- The name of the game is FUN. If you can’t have fun, you’re doing something wrong.
Putting the final polish on a screenplay is an amazing accomplishment. But just make sure you’ve created your best work. As they say, you only get one chance to make a good first impression – that same thinking applies to your screenplay.
You only get one chance to grab the attention of a potential actor or department head who may or may not decide to help you with your project. Two screenwriting books you might want to check out are: Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting and How to Write a Movie in 21 Days.
And one more resource (It’s my own) – The Indie Producer’s Guide To Writing Screenplays That Sell