Career Strategy

Mindset: Look For Movie Ideas In Public Domain

One way to come up with an idea for a screenplay is take a classic story that’s proven to be relevant over time and retell it in current day.

Why choose to adapt a literary classic instead of creating your own original screenplay? There are many reasons;

Films based on the classics, (including Shakespear, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Mark Twain, Bram Stoker, Lewis Caroll, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Wells) are generally considered to have a very...

Career Strategy

Screenwriter’s Mindset: Adapt An Article

True stories are a great place to look for movie ideas.  People love true stories.  And t the rights to a newspaper or magazine articles is that the rights are generally affordable.

Unlike books and plays, newspaper and magazine articles don't get the attention of producers like Scott Rudin or Jerry Bruckheimer. If you find an article that you think will make a great film, you have a chance of getting the rights.

Fortunately for the screenwriters who...

General

Movie Ideas: Adapting Book and Plays

The Godfather. Terms of Endearment. Casablanca. On The Waterfront. Chicago. Harry Potter. The Exorcist. Jaws.

They’re all examples of novels or plays that were successfully adapted into screenplays. Lately, a lot of successful movies have been adapted from comic books.

As long as movies have been made, stories have been adapted from original source materials.

Let’s look at an example.  One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest started as a novel written by Ken Kesey in 1962. Kesey wrote...

General

Where Movie Ideas Come From: Mashups

The movie Outland is basically High Noon, with Sean Connery in the Gary Cooper role, and it takes place on one of Jupiter’s moons. Alien was pitched as Jaws in space by Ridley Scott. The Coen brothers came up with the idea for Oh Brother Where Art Thou, using the plot from Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey. They just changed the characters, the tone, and the setting-- to the rural south during the 1930’s.

Notice how...

ageism

How Older Screenwriters Break In to Hollywood

What are some ways older writers can find help trying to break in? If you’re older and can write a really great spec script for a TV show that’s on the air, and a really great TV pilot, there are workshops that might help you, regardless of your age.

For example, there is the Warner Brothers Writers Workshop, the CBS Diversity Institute (which has a Diversity Mentoring Program for older writers. There’s a Disney/ABC Writing Program, a...

ageism

Writers Mindset – How Old Is Too Old For Hollywood

George R. R, Martin is 67 years old. He's the originator of the Emmy winning Best Drama, Game of Thrones. He seems to be doing quite well in television at his advanced age. It does happen. Of course he was a successful novelist first. And that makes all he difference.

However, that is most certainly not the case with most writers over 67, or 57.

The unfortunate truth is there is ageism in Hollywood. However, that doesn’t mean...

agents

How Writers Get Agents and Managers

One of the most difficult tasks ahead of aspiring screenwriters is finding representation. Agents in today’s screenwriting marketplace are so busy scratching and clawing to get their established writers work, they have little time to grow “baby writers” who may or may not ever sell anything.

Adding to this is a troubling trend among the studios away from buying original screenplays, and especially away from buying original screenplays written on speculation. Studios want built in audiences, and...

Career

When To Quit Your Day Job

In deciding whether or not to quit your day job, you’ll have to consider all of your expenses. You’ll have to pay rent and in LA that can be $2,000 a month easily. You might want to get a roommate to help with the payments. Then there’s the car, food, clothes, gas, and the rest of it.

A big budget item these days is healthcare.  If you start selling scripts to  Writers Guild of America’s (WGA’s) signatory...

Career Strategy

Some Screenwriters Never Quit Their Day Jobs

There are lots of reasons even working screenwriters don’t quit their day jobs. Some of them love their jobs and can’t imagine leaving. Some aren’t making enough writing screenplays, and need the security. Screenwriting can be a lonely occupation. For some writers the only time they see other people is at work.

You would think the whole reason to have a day job is so you can quit it when you become successful. But let’s say...

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