Why are you writing? When you write well, why does it make you feel good? If we are writing solely for our own benefit, what is the benefit? Writers who pursue material gains and popularity can write the same quality of scripts as writers who write to gratify their audiences, but it’s more practical to adopt a generous attitude for the long haul if your goal is to be paid to write.
How does generosity apply to writing an amazing script?
People We Love
When we personally invest ourselves
Be fearless about how you write your own life experiences, good and bad, into the characters. Don’t be afraid to let people know what you know and what you’ve seen. Avoid being guarded and stingy with the personal development of your characters and your audience will be grateful for your honesty.
Problems We Face
Writing huge problems into your story for your characters to handle creates a lot more work for the writer. If the central conflict of the story is a missing laundry basket, this is not a difficult problem for the writer to solve. It won’t tax you a bit to resolve this conflict. By establishing truly insurmountable problems for your heroes, you will likely create a giant challenge for yourself as a writer when you set out to devise a resolution.
Are you willing to give that time to your work? Doesn’t the audience appreciate a story with high stakes, where they have no idea how the conflicts will resolve themselves? Yes. Be mindful of what your audience comes to the theater for and make the sacrifice to deliver it.
The Smartest Crowd
Writers often make the mistake of working under the assumption that their audience might not be as intelligent as they actually are. If we underestimate our audience, we can write protagonists who make implausible choices and protagonists who bumble their way through the story. It’s easy to write a story if you stretch reality and hope the audience will overlook or miss the glaring lapses of logic in your script. It’s lazy and it’s not effective.
Write smart characters and even smarter antagonists that raise the stakes and tension in the audience. Follow the reason and logic of the world your audience lives in and assume their intelligence is equal to yours.
The New Story
People want to see original stories. How can a writer do this? By delivering specific details from their own lives. When we bring what we have individually experienced to the script, we write in an individual way. This unique delivery is the bedrock of a fresh script.
Why is it easier to copy movies and television shows than to write from our own experience? When we write about the experiences we’ve had watching other stories, it’s not close to home and requires very little of ourselves, aside from our memory.
When we give our own experiences, our losses, our laughter, the script becomes original and our own, but it is not easy and requires maximum and sustained effort. Share yourself in your plot and it will be like no other script, just as individual as every person is.
What is the reason you’re writing?
If you’re writing to make money or a name for yourself, there’s still a good chance you can achieve those objectives. But when we write for our audiences to enrich their lives, the reward is considerably higher. When we think about serving the audience instead of ourselves, the key elements of a strong story are equally served.
In the end, the beloved script is the profitable one, in every sense of the word.
By: Gordy Hoffman
Late Deadline: December 15th
Submit your feature, pilot or short script now and receive written analysis by February 4th.
Short Film Festival
Submit your short film by the Final Deadline on January 12th.