Careers: Writing/PLEASE I NEED YOUR HELP
it's a very good thing to know one can get great help from here especially from professionals like you. i have written so many articles, but i have not written any screen plays before and now, i have a great idea for a comedy movie, which i know will be a block buster. Please how do i start it and go about it and above all, how do i market it?
Hi Christopher -
OK, so yours is a two-part question: writing the script, then 'marketing' it. Both parts are a bit complicated, and neither has a simple answer, so I can only give you a basic overview here. A lot of people have ideas for a screenplay - far fewer actually write them. Here's why.
writing your script, I'd advise that you...
a) Watch movies that you find funny and/or are similar in tone and style to the movie you have in mind, then re-watch and outline their movie to analyze their structure. You can also find many great comedy screenplays online. Read some of those to absorb the tone, style, format and structure. This process also helps you narrow down the sub-genre (broad buddy comedy, romantic comedy, effects-driven fantasy, etc.)
b) Read at least one of the books about screenwriting (Syd Field, Lynda Seeger, McKee, Walter, etc.). See how their thoughts about structure and character arcs apply to your story.
c) Do some preliminary writing (i.e., a couple of scenes from the beginning and/or middle) of your script to feel out the central character(s) and tone.
d) Make an outline and/or treatment for your story so you can work out the structure, think through the sequences and, most important, flesh out the comic 'journey' of the central character(s). Keep asking yourself: what's funny about that? A good comedy has laughs in the individual scenes, but also has an overall comic premise.
e) If you have someone to 'pitch' your story to, pitch it out loud. This really helps you think through the idea and make sure you have a grabby opening, compelling middle and satisfying end.
write a draft of your script.
f) Prepare for an extended writing process that takes longer than you think. It always takes longer than you think.
g) I humbly suggest my book, which gives you specific tools to get through each phase of the writing process - and/or find a writing/comedy coach who can help guide you and, most important, to provide deadlines for increments of your work.
When you've finished a draft...
h) Have others read your script and give you feedback about what works and what doesn't work about the script.
i) Re-write the script.
j) Get more feedback and re-write it again - at least once more.
Then, once your script is really solid - according to others, and I don't mean friends and relatives - for 'marketing'...
The first challenge is getting anyone to read your script. Ironically, no one in Hollywood wants to read. You can identify specific producers associated with your movie genre, but they probably won't accept an un-solicited script unless it's sent by a reputable agent. You can try and get a reputable agent or manager to read your script, but they usually won't accept a script unless it's referred by someone they know. You can enter your script in contests, but there are only a couple that really mean anything in the industry (Nicholls, Blacklist).
The most effective strategy is to think of everyone you know and everyone who they know and try to get them to read it. Simultaneously, especially if you're in NY or LA or any city big enough to have a comedy community, try to get involved in some kind of comedy scene so you can make friends and allies who can read your script, suggest improvements, and might know others in the business.
If this hasn't convinced you not
to write your script, congratulations and condolences, you're a writer. Good luck!