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The Screenwriter's Success Formula

By Author: Raymond Sanders
Total Articles: 33

Wouldn't it be nice to come up with a formula that you could use to write, sell and get your screenplays produced? Well, guess what? There is a formula. A- list screenwriters use it all the time. That's one reason they are A-list writers.
The formula resides in the genre of film they are writing. There are several steps they follow. Some say there are twelve steps. Others say it depends upon the genre to determine how many steps you use. The fine point of it is, if you can figure out the steps and execute them in your screenplay, selling and getting it produced becomes easier.
How do you do this? There are some people who write and sell screenwriting programs that outline steps writers can take to follow the formula of their chosen genre. They charge prices many screenwriters cannot afford. Other screenwriters might not be able to afford them, so they go in hock to buy them. Other screenwriters with day jobs can afford to buy them, so they do. If you're one of those who cannot afford them, then there is another way to figure out the genre formulas.
The first step is to make sure the genre you have chosen for your screenplay fits the characters and storyline. The way you do this is to think about movies that you have seen or that you want to see. Consider if your movie idea parallels any of these movies. If you find one that does, you're on your way. If you find more than one, even better.
The next thing you have to determine is if you want to write a screenplay that bears the potential of becoming a blockbuster. If you do, then you have to plug into a formula for writing it. If you don't, the odds that you can write, sell and get your screenplay produced substantially decreases.
You have to realize that by writing screenplays, you have placed yourself in a situation where the odds for success are severely limited. There just aren't enough movies made each year to match the number of screenwriters and screenplays out there. Just check with the Writer's Guild of America if you don't believe me. Check with productions companies, agencies and managers.
So, you should make a conscious decision before you begin writing about whether you want to write a formula screenplay, or go your own way and simply write a screenplay. If you decide that you want to write a formula screenplay, then, you have to follow a formula.
If you follow a formula, then you must know what genre you're writing in before you begin. Once you determine these things, in lieu of buying the expensive screenwriting program, take that one movie, or those movies you found that parallel your movie idea, and study them. Try to find others that are similar and study them. Outline them scene-by-scene. Compare what you are discovering with each movie that you're dissecting. FIND THE FORMULA for your chosen genre. It's there.
Once you accomplish this, then you can outline your screenplay using this formula, and begin writing your screenplay.
Sound simple? Try it. I did that with THE CROWN/BORN TO WIN, an action/adventure feature I wrote and sold that was produced last year. I studied BLACK STALLION and outlined it scene-by-scene. I did the same thing with several other movies of the same genre that contained elements of what I wanted to write. Dialogue. Visuals. Action. Description. Characters. Story. Even story beats. What I learned about the action/adventure formula by doing that was all the difference between getting my screenplay written, sold and produced and failing at it.
So, if you want to write, sell, and get your screenplays produced, you might want to try this. It works.


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