How To Write An Awesome Movie, According To Some Of Hollywood’s Best Writers
Source: @jordanzakarin @buzzfeed
#screenwriting #film #story
"All aspiring writers have experienced the conception of a story, that little atom of an idea that explodes into a vision of a journey in a big bang “aha!” that rattles the brain. But the difference between the daydreamers and actual filmmakers starts right after that revelatory moment, when the disparate strands of an idea either begin to take shape — and, at some point, migrate over to Final Draft — or just fade away.
BuzzFeed spoke with some of the industry’s top writers and directors to learn how they develop a tiny germ of an idea into award-winning screenplay. They discussed everything from how they get started, to how to sit down and write, and how to balance dialogue and structure.
Here’s the roster of advisers: Richard Linklater (Before Sunrise trilogy, Dazed and Confused); Paul Feig (Freaks and Geeks, Bridesmaids, The Heat); Diablo Cody (Juno, Young Adult); Richard Curtis (Love Actually, About Time, Four Weddings and a Funeral); Nicole Holofcener (Enough Said, Please Give); Michael Weber and Scott Neustadter (500 Days of Summer, The Spectacular Now); David Wain (Wet Hot American Summer, Role Models); Rian Johnson (Looper, Brick); Jeff Nichols (Mud, Take Shelter); Lake Bell (In A World); David Gordon Green (Prince Avalanche, Pineapple Express); Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha); Mark and Jay Duplass (Jeff Who Lives At Home, Cyrus); Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (The Descendants, The Way, Way Back); and Brian Koppelman (Rounders, Oceans Thirteen).
Richard Linklater: There are a million ideas in a world of stories. Humans are storytelling animals. Everything’s a story, everyone’s got stories, we’re perceiving stories, we’re interested in stories. So to me, the big nut to crack is to how to tell a story, what’s the right way to tell a particular story. So I’m much more interested in narrative construction.
I have a lot of subjects I’m spinning around on that I like and I take notes and read books and have files of things that interest me, but it’s like, What is the movie? How do you crack it? So I like that search.
I think you have to be forever intrigued with the subject matter, the character, or something you’re digging into, you’re rummaging around, something that fascinates you. That process can’t really ever end. If that ends, the movie is over.
Jeff Nichols: I started thinking about Mud in college. [Nichols is now 34.] I’m a very slow writer, and the typing, which most people consider writing, that’s a very last step for me. I heavily outline things. Even before I write anything down, I think about things for a really long time. It’s like a tape ball that you just add detail to, and that’s what happened in this case.
If you’re a friend of mine in Austin, I’ll grab you and take you to lunch and I’ll just vomit this story at you. It’s a really good way to start working the story out. You start talking to people about it, and in the moment, you start to figure out things that connect and make things work, because you have to, because you have to keep telling your story.
Paul Feig: I’m big into notes. I always try to keep a small pad of paper in my pocket and write down any idea that seems interesting. I also type notes into my phone and computer. I basically have ideas written down everywhere. I’ve spent my life reminding myself that, even though I always tell myself I’ll never forget an idea when I think of it, I always forget it, sometimes a minute or two after I’ve thought of it. So, I always force myself to write any idea down. The downside is I have little notebooks scattered around the house and in storage boxes that I never think to look through. Not that any of the ideas in them are gold; most of them are pretty lame. But occasionally, I’ll find a few that link up and create the basis for something worth thinking about.
Diablo Cody: I envy writers who have their shit together! You should see my computer desktop. It’s like 9 million Final Draft documents, pictures of my kids, and photos of haircuts…”
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Balls of Steel: Pursuing a Writing Career When You Feel Lost
Source: @scriptmag @jeannevb
#screenwriting #film #story
“The other day I lost my way. The Balls of Steel writer got lost.
Having balls of steel is my brand. How the hell can I, of all people, have a hiccup of faith in my writing career? And how could I possibly admit that to my readers?
I slammed down a shot of Wild Turkey and walked out of my house. I walked and walked. Two hours. Just walking. Crying. A lot. I’m confident my neighbors thought I was having a breakdown. Guess what? I was.
A breakdown of faith. I don’t just mean blind faith in this business and the people controlling it, I mean faith in myself not to lose my mind while trying to get champions for my projects.
I pride myself in never quitting. I never even think about quitting. I know I can write. I know I can deliver. I know I can work tirelessly to achieve my dreams, but what do you do when your faith in your ability isn’t enough? Let’s face it, succeeding in this industry isn’t entirely in your control. It takes a village to make a film. What do you do when you’re facing a stone wall and, instead of reaching their hand back to help you, people are piling more stones on top of that wall?
Did I really have what it takes to scale the wall without trusting the people around me not to let me fall… or worse, push me off into the depths below?
I finally crawled my way back up my 1100-foot driveway for one reason. My kids. They’ve been watching me for the past 10 years trying to break in. I needed to set an example for them of fortitude and courage. But did I have the strength?
After commenting on how freakishly blue my eyes get when I cry, my daughter spit my own words back at me, “Giving up is not an option. You will get this made, Mom.”
My son asked if I felt like I was being held hostage.
Ding. Hostage. That’s exactly what I felt like.
From the mouths of babes, who are no longer babes but teenagers. Even though I was struggling with being a writer, my children were not. Their faith in me is a constant. Unwavering. My rocks.
I am a writer. Writers write. I can’t quit being a writer anymore than I could quit being a mother. Writing is as much a part of me as my children are.
During my breakdown walk, I thought about what being a writer means. It’s much more than writing every day. It’s a mindset. A decision.
Or is it a decision? Are you born being an artist or is it something you learn along the way? Is it something you choose or is it something……”
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2014 Screenwriting & TV Writing Competitions
DEADLINE: Thursday, May 1st
Less than a week left to submit your script… .
The 2014 Script Pipeline International Screenwriting & TV Writing Competitions continue a decade-long tradition of discovering talented writers and connecting them with top producers, agencies, and managers, including Lakeshore Entertainment, Paradigm, CAA, , Benderspink, and more high-level industry outlets.
This process has been remarkably successful—numerous contest alumni have found elite representation and gained introductions to otherwise impossible-to-reach industry execs. The result: $5 million in specs sold from Pipeline competition finalists and “Recommend” writers since 2003.
"Script Pipeline introduced me to a manager a few weeks after the contest, helping launch my professional career as a screenwriter."
- Evan Daugherty (Divergent, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Snow White and the Huntsman)
Last season, more than 4,500 scripts were entered in the Screenwriting and TV Writing contests combined, making Script Pipeline one of the leading companies reviewing spec material. Beyond prizes, finalists are given exposure to approximately 200 qualified industry contacts, as well as over $20,000 in cash.
Enter the Screenwriting Competition
Enter the TV Writing Competition
Recent Script Pipeline Success Stories:
- Screenwriting Contest winner Tripper Clancy, who secured representation with a Script Pipeline partner, sold a pitch to QED International(District 9) and the comedy feature The Ambassadors to 20th Century Fox. He’s also tabbed to write the upcoming animated comedy Shedd for Paramount. From Tripper:”I cannot underestimate the impact that Script Pipeline has had on my writing career. Winning the contest directly led to my new representation, which in turn led to working with studios such as 20th Century Fox.”
- Alum Evan Daugherty co-wrote the 2014 box office hit Divergent, as well as Snow White and the Huntsman. Evan was also brought on board Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, coming to theaters later this year. Other projects in development include the ABC event series Esmeralda, a pilot for NBC (Midnight Mass), and the third installment of the GI Joe franchise for Paramount.
- Numerous former finalists and Pipeline "Recommends" have found representation with top management companies and moved their projects closer toward production, including screenwriting finalist Craig Weeden, who optioned Painkiller Janewith writer Jimmy Palmiotti to Solipsist Films (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For) earlier this year, and Micah Barnett, who sold his spec Ricochet to NBC.
View more Script Pipeline success stories