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Getting Started

First Step

There are so many excuses you can make.  The only way to do it, is to stop it and get started.  The key is to take 10 or 15 minutes everday and you will be surprised how much you have done by the end of the month.  The ideal way would be to wake up every morning and spend an hour working on your script with the morning cup of coffee.  Get every day started right making progress.  If you find an hour becomes too hard then focus on a shorter time.  I would recommend especially in the beginning to not spend more than an hour but focus on working on it daily.  Even if you came up with one idea everyday while in the shower you are making progress. The key is to commit to doing it and getting started right now.


If you are doing this because you want to quit your day job or become rich and famous then this isn’t going to help motivate you.  Think about how many movies get made by the big studios each year.  Then think about how many of those movies are Super Hero’s, licensed properties like games or toys, and sequels to already established properties.  Now take a look at boxoffice mojo and look at the box office gross of the top 100 writers.  Now google their network.  Most of these top 10 script writers are only worth a few million dollars.  Think about the odds of you becoming on of those top 100.  The good news.  The writer gets about 5% of the film budget.  If it’s your first time and you are an unknown it’s less.  The fact is 5% of a $100 million budget is a lot of money.  So let’s say you get 2% of a small budget film which would be $5 million budget.  That is $100,000.  This is not chump change but you also make residuals if the movie spends a long time on HBO or Netflix.  You get healthcare and retirement benefits from the writers guild.  One successful film can set you up for life. Two successful movies and your doing better than most average Americans.

How To Start

Think about this for a minute.  Most scripts are made up of 40 scenes.  So if you came up with one scene a day in theory you could get the first draft done in less than two months.  If you break the process down into smaller segments you need a beginning middle and end. Start with coming up with a great ending.  Then figure out your log line.  The the three basic points of each act. Come up with the inciting incident and the mid point. Then work on your characters.  What type of lead would make this story interesting. Below is a list of some basic things you need to gain some momentum on getting the script written.

1 – Title

2 – Concept

3 – Ending

4 – Logline

5 – Three Acts

6 – Characters (Pro and Antagonist)

7 – Midpoint and Inciting Incident

That is one week if you did each of those elements each day. If the above sounds confusing then pick up a copy of Save The Cat.  It’s a very easy read.  Even a slow reader could get through it over the weekend.  Take a mini vacation and spend some time reading it.

What makes a good movie

What Makes Story Good?

A good script is one that has conflict.  People generally judge a movie on how entertained they are.  Conflict is tension.  Even comedy a good laugh causes tension.  To do this successfully you must create  tension and then release.  Continually create a negative and then solve it with a positive.  As Robert McKee states book mark that positive with another negative.  This means you want to setup your next scene’s conflict being caused by the resolution of the last scenes.  That resolution causes the next conflict in the story.  A great example of this is the AMC tv show Breaking Bad. Typically this might be the protagonist making a bad decision. At the time that seemed like the only logical option but in doing so it set a chain of events in place that will cause a ton of future conflicts. Donald Trump might have thought that going into Super Tuesday with all the southern votes at steak if he tried to play dumb and not disavow David Duke he could lock up votes from southerners who might lean towards sympathy to David Duke.  It made sense at the time based on his anti-immigration platform but it set in place a chain of events that will haunt him for the rest of the election.  The first conflict is leaders of Republican party refusing to support his nomination.  In the general election it might be independent voters refusing to vote for someone they view as racist.  That one little event or decision setup a chain of events that will cause great conflict.  After all Donald Trump is an entertainer.

The more obstacles you can sprinkle into your plot the easier it will be to create conflict and thus have a very dramatic story. The key plot points must create greater levels of obstacles. Think about Raiders of the Lost Arc.  The rolling bolder that Indiana barely escapes is followed by him facing 100 spears.  As the story progresses his ultimate obstacle is not opening his eyes and being turned into melting flesh from looking at the power of the arc. obstacle should progress in intensity as the story unfolds.  Ultimately you need a very powerful ending. Something memorable like Paranormal Activity. This is why Hollywood has made so many twist endings over the years.

Remember at the heart of every dramatic story is conflict. In order for your protagonist to reach their goals they much be confronted with conflict. There is a lot more on this from our main website Broke Film Makers the Indie Film Resource Blog.