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Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Essential Screenwriting Tips - What's The Big Idea? (Part One)

Good evening Gartholomites!

Hope you've all had a great day -  especially you, you crazy Latvian bastard! 

We haven't had any tips for a while and I feel ashamed, though that has more to do with the fact that my trousers fell down in town today, which wouldn't have been a problem if it wasn't pant wash/ go commando day. And it was in Poundland.

Anyway, in the next couple of weeks, providing I don't get roped into paving any more fucking gardens, I'm going to furnish you with some ideas so powerful they must have originally been ejaculated by Poseidon himself.

We're going to discuss, well probably not discuss, that was just lazy writing, pure and simple - I'm going to write about structure and why subtext is the key to being both a great writer and a formidable lovemaker.

But first: -

Every aspiring screenwriter needs an idea that's so damn frisky it could lubricate even the vagina of Roseanne Barr, so compelling that any writer you mention it to will want to steal it, and every reader who reads it will want to finish it.

These are called high concept ideas, because they can be summed up in a single sentence and, from my experience, they are what you need to break through.

So that incredible drama script you've got, you know, that one on which you wrote Gary Oldman in pencil over the name of the protagonist, about the vegan who gets washed up on an island where literally nothing lives bar battery farmed chickens, put it away, you won't be needing it until people actually know who you are.

So, how do you come up with high concept ideas?

One simple way is to take a classic tale and update it, so that's what we're going to do.

I'm not talking about an adaptation, and I'm not talking about ripping anything off, I'm talking about using an idea that you know is great and splicing it with zeitgeist and the human condition, until it becomes something fresh - like an early Will Smith, you know, before he became a cunt.

If you're still unconvinced just think of Oldboy. An incredibly original and brilliant piece of Korean cinema. Nevertheless, it is basically The Count of Monte Cristo. They took the classic Dumas tale and shoved it face first through a meat grinder until it wouldn't even be recognisable to it's own mother or, in this case, pere. 

So, in part two, we are going to take a classic tale, or myth, and fuck around with it until it becomes a shit hot script idea.

Anybody care to suggest one?

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