You’ve written a script and you’ve been invited to meeting. Well done. You have something the industry is interested in.
Here’s a self checklist you should consider before and during your writing so you can better defend your screenplay when discussing your screenplay.
DO YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY?
Before you submit your script to anyone, ask yourself if you actually have something to say. What is the thematic core of your story? If you do, is it sufficiently defined in a single concept? This translates as.. can you pitch your idea in a single sentence? A personal story isn’t something taken from your Facebook feed. Just because it happened to you, it isn’t necessarily a film. Most of us haven’t led extraordinary lives, so we create extraordinary worlds imbued with our personal essence. We go to the cinema largely to escape our everyday lives. To experience a spectacle we don’t normally see.
WHY DID YOU WRITE IT?
The next step is deciding why this script demanded to be written. Why did it have the first priority in your list of story ideas? What does it mean to you? Answers such as thinking the script would sell or you’re second guessing the marketplace are NOT good answers. If it’s a story of a personal struggle, is it something big enough to carry a movie?
When writing your screenplay, have you been true to yourself and your story? Did you follow your natural story instincts rather than create artificial plots to please the crowd? Are your morals and personal tastes on display? Have you shown any personal vulnerability or weakness? Authenticity also relates to your personal brand and your voice as a writer. Are you an expert in a particular field that makes your story more real?
This isn’t necessarily something cinema audiences haven’t seen before. It relates to your unique expression of a ubiquitous idea. Originality represents your voice and your perception of a concept.
Commerce isn’t always about dollar signs. Except that it is. Part of defending your screenplay is knowing how to position your finished film in the marketplace. Is it a festival film or in line for an Oscar? Is it made for online streaming, narrow independent theatrical release or widespread multiplex release? As a writer, you’re expected to have an appreciation of these aspects of the film industry.
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