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What Should Your First Script Be About
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Sitting down to write your very first script is an incredibly exciting time. Then, it hits you: Is my movie idea really commercially viable? How do I know that the subject that I chose for my first script is too trendy or behind the times?
As screenplay writing takes a lot of time and energy, it's natural to want to be sure that your first script will have an actual chance at being read by studio executives and have a good shot at being made into a feature film. The key to making sure that your movie idea is fresh and exciting is to pay attention to the trends in what's popular now at the theaters but not to follow them but use them as a starting point for your screenplay.
For example, one of the hottest film franchises today is the Twilight series of films. This series of films about vampires and romance is red hot, but that doesn't mean that you should sit down now and bang out a script about young vampires and the pretty young things that love them. If you did and handed it to a film producer they'd probably look at you and say "It's been done" while chucking your script into the rubbish bin. You don't want to look like you're just copying what everyone else out there is doing.
The way experienced screenwriters handle this is to look at the films that are gaining a huge audience and then look for the broader trend and find a way to incorporate that into a new story. So, while vampires are probably on the way out, a screenwriter could see that things like supernatural beings are very much in fashion right now and from that decide to write a script about say zombies or werewolves or something else that is similar but not quite exactly the same.
To carry that idea further, not only should screenwriters look for the broader trend in what is currently popular, they should find a way to marry that with their passions and their experience to create a story and characters that are very much in keeping with the trends of the day but that are also fresh and compelling and authentic.
A Few Things To Keep In Mind While Writing Your First Script
1. Never forget that your first script is going to be facing some fierce competition, both from established screenwriters and other hopeful writers just like yourself. If you want to stand out, you're going to have to find a way to buck the trends and write something original and compelling. The surest way to be ignored is to be just like everybody else.
2. You can learn a lot, however from taking a close look at what's currently popular in the theaters and looking for broader trends that you can incorporate into your stories. The idea is to use what is popular as a starting point for brainstorming and not as a model to copy.
3. Don't for a minute think that copying what's hot today is a safe route unless your goal is to wind up in the recycling bin. Write about what you're passionate about and craft a story and characters that have meaning for you. Don't be another passenger on a bandwagon, be the one that starts the next big thing.
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