What's the Big Idea?

The beginning of the year! Time to brush off the dust of yesterday and tackle ye ol’ New Year’s resolution. What’s that, you say? You want to write a screenplay? Well, what the hell is stopping you? It doesn't take money. You don’t need a crew. You can do it anytime you want. There are no tools, equipment, weaponry needed. Except for the little box you’re reading this on. So let’s get started, shall we?

But what are you going to write about? Ahh. Well, there’s a stopper.

Sure, everyone has an idea for a movie. But is it one everyone wants to see? The movie business is, after all, a business. And no studio, network or independent financier worth their salt is going to drop a dime on a movie no one wants to see but your grandmother. So make sure it has broad appeal.

Write what you know. That’s what the writing scholars say. No one is going to know better than you what it’s like to be a single parent, a cancer survivor, a blue-collar cop or priest in training. Writing what is in your world allows you to write with authenticity, which wins over even the most critical of critics. But be sure also to write what you want to know. You’re going to be spending the next three weeks, three months, three years laboring over this baby. Might as well delve into waters you’ve longed to swim. Maybe you are fascinated by the afterlife, aspire to be a brain surgeon or yearn for a romantic adventure on the French Riviera. Now’s your chance to live vicariously through your characters. Bringing them to life will inevitably breathe oxygen into your life as well.

Most of all, write something that will be fun to write. We’re not coal mining here. We’re writing movies. They’re supposed to be fun, exciting, a break from the everyday. And your joy, your passion, your enthusiasm will show up on the page. Every time. And trust me… if it’s not fun for you to write, it won’t be fun for anybody to read. Or watch. Including your grandmother.