Continuing on from my post on basic screenwriting structure, here’s a list of things I jot down before getting into the meat of the writing. First up…
E.g. Geek young adults, ages 16-25; Girls, ages 12-14; Children, ages 3-8; Couples, ages 40+; Science Fiction nerds, all ages; Horror fans, all ages; Horny boys, ages 14-17.
Knowing your audience is key. It helps you define the work, lace it with appropriate content and envision the outcome for the end goal.
Coming of Age
Know the format, structures, tropes and styles of the genre you’re working in. Really, just watch and read a shit load of stuff in that genre.
The major and minor conflicts in your story usually come in these forms:
Human vs. self
Human vs. human
Human vs. nature
Human vs. environment
Human vs. technology (machine)
Human vs. supernatural
Human vs. god
Make sure you have a good understanding of what’s going on in each conflict. And there should be a lot of conflict!
Overcoming the monster
Rags to Riches
Voyage and Return
They say there’s seven main plot types, as above, some say otherwise, like there’s more, but I’ve found these seven cover the bases nicely. So, if you have a pretty cool idea for a plot but are unsure on how to execute it then maybe choosing one of these types will help.
Every good story should have a premise. You can come up with one by asking…
What would happen if…
This is your theme in its entirety. The notion comes from Robert McKee’s STORY. He makes a very good argument that there are two parts to a theme.
E.g. Order is restored because evil cannot withstand the power of love.
See, the first part is Order is restored. That’s going to happen no matter what, right. But how? Because evil cannot withstand the power of love. The second part here also denotes how the story climaxes in Act 3. So, this film may have themes of Justice and Love. Cool, no? Here’s a list that may help in decision making…
I honestly can’t remember if I came up with this or got it from a book, but you should write down the main change that occurs inside each character. It helps keep their paths in focus.
E.g. Scrawny weakling becomes Super-powered soldier – Captain America
E.g. Bored writer becomes Adventurous private eye – Bored to Death
Write down how you want the climax to play out.
E.g. Order is restored… when the hero lays the final blow.
You can see the first part here relates back to the CONTROLLING IDEA.
So, yeah, keep this stuff in mind when writing your story, and you’ll be as awesome as this guy…