I am standing in the truth of my identity more and more each day.Nov 01, 2021
That's what the film industry is looking for in a screenplay. Or so we're told, anyway.
The industry also wants to produce films that do well at the box office. Great pains are taken to decipher whether this intellectual property or that one will become a hit. It's the reason bestselling books are often adapted for film. A previously built-in audience of considerable size may see it in theatres. Numbers exist, calculations can be made. Executives make their bets.
It's hard to be an original. But, when writing a spec script, that's the measure of it's value. That and excellence in craft, of course. Even then, a good concept can be reworked. Rewritten until it feels like a hit, like it measures up to the caliber of films that have gone before it. So much for originality.
"It's fresh," they say. "Kind of like this film meets that film."
There is nothing new under the sun.
And so it often goes in our lives as we grow up and try to find a place in the world. The pressure to be like others is so great when new relationships and gathering new life experiences are involved. We don't want to stick out, but eventually it becomes necessary to find out what makes us unique, what we as individuals can offer the world.
If your uniqueness has drawn you to screenwriting, I'm excited for you. Storytelling is an opportunity to stretch your creativity to it's limits in discovering new experiences and points of view, then putting them into words. Screenwriting also provides a safety new for those who love structure in it's need for standardized formatting and story arcs. Creativity thrives with a few screenwriting structures built in to give direction and flow to the art.
Originality in content alone won't create a worthy screenplay, though. An audience needs an emotional connection to the stories we tell. This is where your desire to fit in and connect with others can shine through.
Your human experience and that of others in your life are the key to creating characters and situations others will relate to in a story. It's the great irony in writing that the more specific you get with emotional detail, the more universal your story becomes.
So go ahead and be yourself in all of your messy human truth. Your vulnerability will help others see themselves in you and their own uniqueness beyond the words.
CREATIVITY CATALYST: Think back to when you were a teenager or young adult. Do you have a specific memory of when you discovered you were different from other people? Did it hurt or feel good? How did you begin to realize that others could relate to this experience, as well? Write about discovering yourself as an original human, connecting with others and how you feel about it today.
Is your screenplay ready for feedback?
My screenwriting guidebook will help you find out.
The PDF is free. Click the link below.