How To Make A Strong First Impression As A Screenwriter


There are two ways I know for screenwriters to break into the film and TV business.

GREAT WRITING or a GREAT IDEA

Preferably both. But if it came down to a duel between the two, I’d put my money on a great idea to  win. Why? Readers love something they haven’t seen before.

Because average writing can be rewritten to awesomeness. But an average concept, can only be improved so much.

Don’t take my word for it. Here are some testimonials supporting the importance of your movie idea.

Film making luminary, George Lucas (perhaps you’ve heard of him) said:
… It is the primal attachment to the concept that makes the movie work or not work.

Another equally important filmmaker, Terry Rossio said:
Your movie’s concept will define your creative instincts in the eyes of the industry. 

David Trottier, a well-known screenwriter and producer said:
The idea is king.

What is the sequence of stages leading to a completed screenplay?

1) CONCEPT

This is the first kernel of a story. It is vague, magical and unstructured, but fills you with script possibilities.

Can you describe it ten words or less? How does intergalactic political assassins grab you? It has a hook on a familiar spy thriller genre. You can almost outline a film in your head based on this concept.

A concept should be formed from your gut instinct; a strong feeling that it could be a great movie. It should intrigue and titillate you because you don’t know anything about the plot or characters at this point. All you have is a loose concept as a springboard. Abound with different ways to execute your screenplay.

A concept should make you feel something. It should hook you because of its uniqueness. What thoughts and emotions does it trigger in terms of the film marketplace.

2) IDEA

This is the second stage where you start fleshing out your concept into something more tangible. No need to worry about a solid storyline at this point. As long as you can visualize a potential movie.

What is the genre, tone and audience? What is the twist compared to a similar screenplay in a similar genre?

3) STORY

The simplest incarnation of a storyline is a longline. This is where your script has a semblance of structure. Your logline should include your character and their tangible goal, theme, conflict, obstacle and the rising stakes and finally, a resolution.

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For in depth Film & TV script analysis visit Script Firm.

 

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