Screenplay writing – it’s a puzzle

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My little screenplay tip of the day: If you can start a screenplay with an ingenious idea and write the whole thing in a week, all power to you. But don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t work out the way you want it to. Most likely you’ll find that you get stuck someplace along the way, rewrite, get stuck again and find in the end you have a piece of trash art that you don’t recognize anymore. In the end, you give up and your script lands in your virtual garbage bin.

A good screenplay needs to grow and mature – like mold on that Chinese food in your refrigerator. That doesn’t happen in a day. I start outlining the main phases of the plot using a writing software called ‘WriteItNow’ which helps me organize my thoughts. Start with the main things that need to happen and then fill in the blanks like a puzzle piece. Work on each character until you’re happy. Try to stay away from cliches and don’t be afraid to break them.

For me the screenplay starts with a good idea – mostly because all the ingenious ideas are already taken – and a lot of the entertainment value of the script comes from the flow of the plot and the originality of each scene. A lot of good ideas together make a good script.


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