Tuesday, February 22, 2011
No, I'm not talking about where you set your story.
I'm taking about THE most important thing in screenwriting -- the big idea!
Screenplays are like real estate.
You can build the house.
You can fill it with amazing details and furnishings.
You can remodel it.
You can tear it down and rebuild it from the ground up.
But you cannot change the location.
This is as important for a screenwriter to remember, as it is for a real estate investor. Don't build your dream house on a lot that isn't worthy of it.
Once you have decided on the IDEA of your script, that becomes the idea for your whole script. You can change settings, characters, structure, scenes, and all the details you want -- but your idea is your idea. So make it a GREAT IDEA, just as you would chose the best location.
If real estate is LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION, then screenplays are IDEAS IDEAS IDEAS.
Even the worst house built on the best lot on the street is more valuable than the best house on the worst lot. You will have real-estate investors FIGHTING to buy a bad house on a great lot. They know the secret. If you have the lot, you can rebuild the house you want. Without the lot (IDEA) nobody will fight over you script. It is not a GOLDMINE waiting to happen. If you have a great house on a decent lot, you may get a lot of offers, if you have the nicest house in the world in the worst lot, it may sit forever and never sell. Or sell for much less than it is worth.
Remember this. If you have the BEST HOUSE on the BEST LOT – you will be in an exclusive market. You will be selling to MAJOR players, with money, with resources. These investors are critical. They have money. They have a lot of places to choose from. Give them a LOT they cannot resist. And then build them a house to match it’s unmistakable beauty. Give them a house so unique on a lot so gorgeous, that they simply HAVE to HAVE it. And the beauty of this, is that to build the BEST HOUSE on the BEST LOT in the world will cost you millions, if not billions. To give somebody the BEST screenplay idea with the best story execution will cost you nothing. But time, sweat, tears and your creativity. You are in the same spot as everyone else. You do not need money behind you to come up with a prime piece of screenwriting real estate. You have it within your power to break into Hollywood. So do not build a cookie cutter house on a cookie cutter lot and think that you will stand out from the crowd.
GO FOR IT. Think grand. Think big.
Think LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION.
Monday, February 14, 2011
The holiday of love is upon us.
You don’t have to look very far to see roses, chocolates, stuffed hearts, and an explosion of red. Some wonder why we celebrate, some complain it has gotten to commercial, and others feel an enormous sense of pressure. But deep down inside, everyone just wants someone to love and be loved. And most of us know that expressing that love publicly is something that makes our love stronger. Valentine's Day, a holiday that was established in 496 AD, has stood the test of time, because it gives everybody a day to stop and put love first.
So if Valentine’s Day is traditionally a day on which lovers express their public love for each other, then think of the climax of your romantic comedy, a version of this holiday. The third Act of our romantic comedies must be dedicated to expressing love. It is here where our character learns that love is the most important thing to them, something they value over everything else. It is here, where publicly, our hero must learn and grow and change. It is here, where publicly, our hero must sacrifice what he thought he wanted, for what he actually needs. It is here, where publicly, our hero must put his heart on the line and lay his soul bare. It is here, where publicly, our hero must express to his lover, why they are meant to be together forever.
Valentine’s Day, like the climax of our romantic comedies, reminds us that doing little things to show our love is what keeps it alive. It reminds us that publicly celebrating and expressing our love for one another is important. It reminds us that buying flowers and writing love poems will help express our love. Valentine’s Day is a symbol of how important it is to put love first – not just one day a year, but everyday. It is a reminder for lovers to keep love front and center in their lives.
And similarly for our characters, it is a reminder that the climax of our films must be a public declaration of love, to the person that they cannot bear to live without for even one second longer.
Valentine’s Day, like a great romantic comedy, reminds us all that to love and be loved is all that truly matters.