THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMERICAL IDEAS (before you actually write the script).
I just wanted to chime in here and lend a hand to those writers who are on a more advanced/ intermediate level (for those that might have stopped writing those ‘practice projects’ and have learned their craft, revised their craft, and are ready to write a more ‘commercial’ based project with the hope of landing an agent/manager/exec sale, etc).
This whole thread talks about the “process of writing” a script, but I wanted to highlight a critical factor into what will make or break your script, even before you write it…
The big idea. Concept. It’s got different names, but it all means the same.
What makes your story different and unique from what’s already out there?
I just want to press the importance of having a solid, commercial idea (if you’re not into writing that type of story, then stop reading now) that is the type of material that will hopefully start -- or sustain your career.
Obviously when you solicit your material to agents/managers/production execs, you’ll send over a query with a logline. And it’s that logline that obviously sells your story. Because at this stage, your script actually won’t. But in most cases, it’s that logline that DOESN’T SELL YOUR STORY and gets passed on. “Thanks but no thanks!”.
We’ve all been there before (most experienced writers at least). We’ve sent out 50 loglines, only to have a handful of people respond with questions or DING-DING get ‘read requests’.
But obviously, the more commercial and broadly appealing the concept is, the more your chances will increase of a request to read.
IMO, it doesn’t always need to be HIGH-CONCEPT (click here for a thread on what constitutes HIGH CONCEPT), but instead just be original and striking, something that POPS and makes people who you tell it too (could be friend, lover, mother) eyes spring open, mouth go gape, and they exclaim: “That’s a really good idea!”.
Think of it from the agents/managers/producers end. They want something that people flip the hell out over. Something that when they pitch to someone in their office, they scream: “Excellent idea!”. Something that will make plenty of $$$$.
Obviously those ideas are few and far between, but this ain’t easy. Nor is it meant to be.
A good internet source for checking out on what’s currently selling, is sites like www.trackingb.com and www.donedealpro.com. The first is free for the info over two weeks old (that’s fine with me) and the second is worth the $23 per year (but is updated daily and gains you accesses to the vast database of other stuff).
I didn’t want to write this to bash all those people who are writing personal/intimate projects that’ll probably do well in contests and alike (with perhaps those ideas being mostly un-commercial), but this is just a highlight to the newbie-to-intermediate wannabe who may be mulling over their next project, and may take on the challenge of writing a more commercial, broad appealing, dare I say “studio” script.
Because at the end of the day, I see it as a clear two step to landing a deal. Getting the damn script read in the first place, then executing the idea in a manner that convinces the person to part from a lot of money.
See the top rated post in this thread. Click here
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09-14-2007 01:24 PM
09-15-2007 11:28 AM
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- Sep 2007
- San Francisco
I was hoping digital filmmaking would cut out the need for the agent/Hollywood deal path! It costs a few thousand to make a digital feature film these days. Where are these great no budget films? I have not seen many great stories lately from the big guys in Hollywodd or even the little ones. Our world is in desparate need of new stories now from new voices using all this cheap digital filmmaking technology.
This is a great thread! I was sent over from DVinfo.net to let people on this forum know what I am doing these days. I have spent the last 10 years teaching high end 3D animators and digital filmmakers how to write scripts fast perfect for their production platform. It is different to write a screenplay for a film you plan to make yourself using digital tools.
I spent the last 3 years making a 20 hour DVD workshop "Writing A Great Script Fast" based on my book "Developing Digital Short Films" (2004 Peachpit). Many of the things mentioned in this thread I use in my process. It basically takes you through a start to finish screenwriting process in about 20 hours. There is a 94 minute nutshell version online for free at www.MyFlik.com with a workbook. I would love to get feedback from anyone who has time to try out the online version.
We do not need Hollywood anymore. This is what digital filmmaking is all about for me and the people I am talking to now. I am going to start a new thread on Digital No Bugdet Screenwriting for filmmakers looking to create stories perfect for making themselves. This is a new mindset to embrace in a way.
Thanks for having a focus on screenwriting on this forum - without the story you have nothing! Who cares what kind of camera you are using if the story is unwatchable!
09-18-2007 11:53 AM
Just an additional posting further to my concepts one above, but it's well worth opening a (free) account with Chris Lockhart's site www.twoadverbs.com and clicking and reading the following two links below to learn more about just how critical your concept/premise/idea/logline is to the people in 'power'.
Important posting on the critical view of the logline
Important posting on the critical view of the logline #2
10-10-2007 09:48 AM
I just write...uhh type.A wise man once said... I forgot what he said, but I'm sure it was really important.
10-17-2007 05:20 PM
- Join Date
- Dec 2005
- North Hollywood, California
Ideas and premises are highly overrated, because you always need a script to back it up.
A good writer will be able to take virtually any premise, and develop a compelling story out of it. Who cares if the idea is fantastic, or strange, or original, if you can't create a compelling story?
Make every story as compelling as possible. Ask yourself as many questions as possible. Why is your character doing this? Why is he doing that? You think long and hard enough about anything and you'll find your answers and more. You'll find the answers to something else you weren't even thinking about, which takes your story in a newer and better direction.
If you don't understand why or why not your character is the way he is, your story is going to be shallow and not very compelling.
10-24-2007 07:59 AM
I believe everything is derived from the dramatic question (aka, premise) of your screenplay, which is usually the result of your inciting incident and your 1st turning point.
In other words something happens to alter the status-quo of your protagonist. What is their reaction to this event? Do they struggle to restore balance to their universe? Does the reaction reflect the psychological drive of the character?
Something happens and the character reacts to this event. What question is created in the mind of the audience? What are they expecting the conclusion to be, and how will you fulfill it?
Will you answer their expectations or play against their expectations? Will you reward them with surprises of insight? What universal questions about the human condition are you exploring in unique and interesting ways?Bill Totolo
12-11-2007 06:58 AM
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- Oct 2006
is there a certain pattern how to create a good suspense in a thriller movie?
12-28-2007 01:14 PM
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- Oct 2006
A good writer can tke a boring promise and make a good movie out of it. But nobody is going to watch such a movie because they believe it will be boring. And for that reason, no studio is going to finance such a movie. It's common sense, at the end of the day. People won't risk their ten bucks on a potentially dull story!
02-11-2008 11:02 AM
What do you do when you have too many ideas?
The potential characters and scenes just wash over me sometimes.
My fear is that I'll waste a good scene/character/line on a particular storyline, when that same setup would work in another storyline as well.
I just can't seem to decide on the best storyline to invest in.