1: Inside the movie business

A quick trio of related posts, starting with…

Although recorded back in 2017, a Ted Talk came into my stream the other day that provided a profound insider’s view of the movie business – and in particular the way scripts get chosen. It’s worth sharing.

Ted Talk pic 1The talk, by Franklin Leonard, is entitled “How I accidentally changed the way movies get made” and the focus is on The Black List that he created.

I found this talk worthwhile (links at the bottom of this post) on several levels.

First and foremost as an insider angle on the script selection process it is truly fascinating. Franklin Leonard is a wise and engaging speaker.

Second level, I found the number of feature scripts swilling around the movie business to be staggering. Is everyone writing feature scripts? I thought it was just me!

Which leads to level number three: Written a script? Sent it off? Waiting for it to be made? Think again.

The Black List puts scripts in front of industry professionals. It’s a clever filter and yet, even filtered, it has more than 3,500 scripts in its system. That’s a lot of quality scripts that’ll never get made.

After watching I had an overwhelming urge to stop writing. What’s the point? It’s impossible to get through to movie makers. There are too many scripts out there. I can’t compete. It’s hopeless.

Well, actually it isn’t hopeless. Peel back the processes of writing a film script and the core is nothing more or less than the strength of an original idea – which admittedly makes it sound all too easy, which it isn’t.

And to help on that front, find out what I discovered (about “The Idea”) in post 2 of this series.

Meanwhile, here are the promised links:

Franklin Leonard: “How I accidentally changed the way movies get made”

About The Black List

2: A good idea is to read this book

Post number two in this mini-series of three is about a book that explores the basic underlying requirement of every movie script.

The Idea book coverThe book is by Erik Borg and is entitled: THE IDEA: The Seven Elements of a Viable Story for Screen, Stage or Fiction (links at the bottom of this post).

It’s a must-read.

Initially turning the word PROBLEM into an acronym for Punishing, Relatable, Original, Believable, Life-altering, Entertaining and Meaningful, the book then goes deeper into how and why a neat idea makes a good script great.

I can relate to this in my dim and distant copywriting career. We never had meetings about the mechanics of advertising – we only ever discussed the idea, the concept or concepts that we’d come up with. Everything else followed on from there. And everything else was basically some one else’s responsibility/job role.

In screenwriting terms, Erik Borg’s book takes the discussion of the idea to a whole new level. He’s one of my favourite bloggers on screenwriting (The Flying Wrestler) and his book is a tremendous read.

So, what’s the reality about getting “the big idea”? It’s tough. A twist on this, a play on that. Come on idea. Pop up and tell me your name!  It’s that kind of angst, sweat, toil and tears that can make a writer very unhappy.

Which, coincidentally, links to an article written by another of my favourite writing bloggers, Lucy V Hay. More of that in the third and final post but now to the links as promised for this post:

THE IDEA: The Seven Elements of a Viable Story for Screen, Stage, or Fiction.

Erik Borg speaking about his book.

3: Good news for unhappy writers

If post one and two got you into an unhappy state (it did me), esteemed blogger on allLucy 3 things writing, Lucy V Hay, puts us absolutely straight.

Her post “How To Stop Being An Unhappy Writer” hits nails on heads. It’s sage advice from someone who knows. And encouragement for us all to continue our writing quest.

I’ve long been an admirer of Lucy and her blog. I don’t think there are many who put so much free time into inspiring writers like us.

And on that note, to conclude these three interconnected posts:

Watch Franklin Leonard’s Ted Talk, buy Erik Borg’s book: The Idea and subscribe to Lucy Hay’s blog.