Crafty Screenwriting: Writing Movies That Get Made

Screenwriter's Utopia

There is no point writing a screenplay if it isn't going to get produced. In theory everyone knows that, but most of the thousands of screenplays I've read in my years as a development executive were never in any danger of being made into a movie. From the moment the writer conceptualized them, they were doomed.

This column won't be solely about writing "commercial" screenplays. Ninety percent of will be about how to write a great movie. But there is no point writing even a great screenplay if it is not going to get made into a movie sooner or later.

That's because a screenplay is not just writing intended to be turned into film. It's important to understand what else a screenplay is, if you're going to go to all the trouble of writing one - because if you don't, you may well be wasting your time.

A screenplay is the first element in what the movie business calls a package. A package is a combination of a star actor and/or a star director and some material - a book, a screenplay, even just a concept - that movie people are betting a lot of other people will want to go see in movie theaters or on their TVs.

Like it or not, a screenplay is an element in a deal.