The one surefire way to break into the industry is to write a great script. Was write a great script? And here I was working on my 20th really bad script! Well I got to thinking yes, it does happen.
Share Hollywood movies are simple. Though writing a successful Hollywood movie is certainly not easy, the stories for mainstream Hollywood films are all built on only three basic components: All film stories portray a hero who faces seemingly insurmountable obstacles as he or she pursues a compelling objective.
Whether it's Clarice Starling trying to stop Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs, Captain Miller Saving Private Ryan, or Billy Elliott trying to gain admission to a ballet school, all these protagonists confront overwhelming conflict in their pursuit of some visible goal.
Plot structure simply determines the sequence of events that lead the hero toward this objective. And whether you're writing romantic comedies, suspense thrillers, historical dramas or big budget science fiction, all successful Hollywood movies follow the same basic structure.
In a properly structured movie, the story consists of six basic stages, which are defined by five key turning points in the plot.
Not only are these turning points always the same; they always occupy the same positions in the story. These percentages apply both to the running time of the film and the pages of your screenplay. As I explain this six-stage process below, I'll refer to dozens of recent successful films.
But I also want to take two recent blockbusters through this entire structural process: Franzoni, John Logan and William Nicholson. One is a contemporary drama based on a true story; the other is a sweeping, action-filled, historical epic.
But as different as these two films are in style, genre, length and subject matter, both made more than a hundred million dollars world wide, both were among the most critically acclaimed films ofand both employ the same basic plot structure.
The Setup Erin Brokovich: Erin is a broke, unemployed single mother who can't find a job, gets hit by a car, and loses her lawsuit. Maximus, Rome's most powerful, and most popular, general, leads his troops to victory in their final battle.
Cast Away transports us into the world of a FedEx executive, shows him as likable and good at his job, and creates sympathy and worry when he must leave the woman he loves at Christmas to fly off in dangerous weather. Similarly, Bowfinger humorously reveals the sad existence of a good hearted but hapless director hustling to get a movie off the ground.
These setups pull us out of our own existence and into the captivating world the screenwriter has created.
Erin forces Ed Masry to give her a job. Maximus is offered a reward by Emperor Marcus Aurelius, and he says he wants to go home.
Ten percent of the way into your screenplay, your hero must be presented with an opportunity, which will create a new, visible desire, and will start the character on her journey. This is the point where Neo is taken to meet Morpheus and wants to learn about The Matrix, or where Ike gets fired and wants to go meet the Runaway Bride.
Notice that the desire created by the opportunity is not the specific goal that defines your story concept, or the finish line your hero must cross at the end of the film. It is rather a desire to move into The New Situation Erin Brokovich: Maximus is asked by the dying Emperor to take control of Rome and give it back to the people, in spite of the ambition of his son Commodus.How to write a good query letter for your spec script.
CRAFTY SCREENWRITING Writing Movies That Get Made Query Letters Once you know that civilians are interested in your pitch, it might be a good idea to see if motion picture industry people would be interested.
They mean that someone other than you thinks this is a good screenplay.
One of the easiest ways to learn what makes a good, standard query letter is simply to see an example of one that does its job well. If you write fiction or narrative nonfiction, a query letter is your first (and often, your only) chance to get an agent interested in reading (and, with hope, signing) your work.
Former MGM film executive Stephanie Palmer explains how to write a screenplay you can sell to movie studios and producers. The keys to getting good feedback are: thanks for this article for given us a view on how to write a good script.
Reply. Jane Michael peter. I appreciate this writeup; but will love to learn more. How to write a professional query letter for your screenplay by Ashley Scott Meyers Once you have a well-crafted log line, the next step is creating a professional query letter.
Writing a Great Screenplay: The fatal impediment is not lack of experience but lack of knowing how to recognize, value, and shape it.
The key lies in what Thomas Hardy called "moments of vision," those instants of piercing clarity when one stumbles on a special truth or meaning. The query letter is often a writer’s first impression – an all-too-important introduction of one’s writing ability and personality to an executive or representative.
And much like when trying to get a first date, the point of a query letter .