Are you interested in making a movie? Or maybe you just want to be a part of the process...try something new...be an extra. I want to give you some practical guidance, especially if you're in the midwest and want to get started. Step 1 is a good story. As you know Three Socks Media is all about stories, so I want to start here. Whether you're a script writer or a director, the project always starts with a good story. Now we've all seen movies where the storyline was basically nonexistent. In fact, if you're familiar with Mystery Science Theater 3000 (either the 90's version or the recent reboot) you know that the world is full of movies with no story lines. How did that happen? There are a few things that could have been at play here:
So what's a good storyline? Well, from a writing standpoint, I was once told that to create a great story you put your grandpa up a tree and then throw rocks at him. A bit harsh I know, but the point being that you need something to be happening to someone the audience cares enough about to root for during the movie.
My first piece of advice to anyone who wants to write scripts is to create character people will love. If your audience is going to give up an hour and a after to three hours for your story, they need a reason to invest. And after that, they need to see things developing. Whether you choose to have a positive adventure or a negative one for your characters, they need to have an adventure. And finally, the ending should always create a "Oh wow!" moment for your audience. Maybe you give a happy ending or maybe you give a sad one, either way, take your audience's breath away whenever possible.
Now when it comes to endings, I'm a bit old school. I think the writer owes something to the audience, a kind of THANK YOU for watching. That means giving the audience some kind of satisfaction, and yes, that means I didn't like the ending of LaLaLand. There was great talent in that movie, but if I'm giving up my time, the writer needs to give me some satisfaction at the end.
What do you think?
Lynne M. Smelser is an executive producer and scriptwriter. For more than 20 years she has been an active writer who has won many national awards. She also holds a Ph.D. in English from Michigan State University.