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How To Turn Your Good Movie Idea Into A Great One
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Many people have a movie idea that they think would be an entertaining and popular film. This is especially true of writers. Novelists in particular believe that their ideas would make excellent films. Tom Nunan has said that, "I think we're all given at least one movie when we're born, and many of us discover we have a lot more in us." If someone believes that their movie idea is a good one, there is a high likelihood that it is. However, it is one thing to have a good movie idea; it is another to make it a great movie idea.
The only way to turn a good movie idea into a great one is to work with it. The idea must be expanded, modified and completed. Even the best initial movie idea will not become great unless it goes through several evolutions.
One of the first things that must be realized is what an idea for a movie actually is. For example, "A science fiction film with aliens in Ancient Rome," is not a movie idea; it is a genre and setting. What are the characters in the movie, and what happens to them? Similarly, "A movie with a sad cat who really wants to be a dog," is not a movie idea; it is a character. Is this movie going to be a cartoon, or some sort of live action? How does the cat go about becoming a dog? Is this movie going to be a comedy or a drama?
A complete film idea needs a genre, setting, characters, plot points, and other stylistic elements. Without all of these components, a movie idea is just a fragment. In order to be a great movie idea, the idea needs to be complete. The idea likely needs to be more complete than your initial thought. For movies, a complete idea needs to leave no basic questions unanswered. For example, "A movie like The Hangover, only there are three best girlfriends and it's a bachelorette party," is not a fully fleshed idea. Is the movie going to take place in Las Vegas like The Hangover, or is it going to be set somewhere else? Is the movie going to have the same comedic style as The Hangover, or is it going to be more like a Judd Apatow film?
Once your idea is finalized, you may want to begin writing a screenplay. Unless it is turned into a screenplay, a great film idea will forever remain just that, an idea. Many novelists and playwrights have always wanted to try their hands at screenplay writing. Although experience with other forms of writing is useful in screenplay writing, screenplay writing has many differences from other forms of writing, particularly novel writing.
Novel writing is fluid, pretty much anything can go. Screenplay writing is fairly formulaic, certain conventions must be followed. These conventions are significantly different than those of prose or play writing, or even memoirs or non-fiction. Also, screenplays must be short, typically no more than 115 pages. This is drastically shorter than many novels. This gives a writer significantly less space to work with than other writing mediums.
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