Step One in writing a Good script

If you want to make a movie, your script is step #1.

I should say, your story is #1.

Well, actually that’s not right either.

If you want to make a movie that other people – lots of other people – enjoy watchingyour story is the most important consideration.

And that includes your characters – love them or hate them, your main people have to elicit some emotion. Boring characters are the death knell for any story, and boring films are just narcissistic time sucks for everyone but the filmmaker who gets off on power-tripping.

So make an interesting story.

It’s been said that there are two kinds of stories: Stranger comes to town (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), and Hero takes a journey (The Wizard of Oz). At the least, you should be able to relate your story to one of these.

There are lots of other sub-categories to story type, which we’ll discuss in the coming weeks, but you should be able to neatly fit your script into one of the above.

The next key consideration is your characters.

As I said above, if your characters are dull, your movie will fail. They don’t have to be lovable (David Carradine in Kill Bill, James Cagney in White Heat), but they have to hold our interest. We have to love to hate them. This goes for ensemble casts as well.

PS – Lots of pyrotechnics and CIG do not replace good story and character, although it seems Hollywood sometimes forgets this.

Bottom Line: Develop a good script, and don’t be afraid to get feedback, criticism, notes…anything can be made better. And make sure your story and characters are compelling; until you’ve got this huge issue solved, nothing else matters.