Monday, January 14, 2008

How to write a movie

A lot of people are asking “How can I come up with new and interesting film ideas?” And now the answer is as easy as A, B, three. . . All you need is a TV Guide. First go to the back and peruse the films playing and their brief descriptions. Here are some examples:

“A cowpoke is accused of murder but escapes to track down the real culprit and win the hand of the girl he loves”

“A runaway kid meets ups with a factory worker on his way to an arm wrestling competition and they become friends”

“A brother and sister who were condemned to eternal death 12,000 years ago must eat virgins to keep their bodies from rotting”

OK what does this tell us? Well first we need a main character or characters….
So let’s go back to our tv guide.


A powerful NY gangster
A French schoolboy
The Caped Crusader
A paralyzed man
An aimless tv salesman
A minneapolis waitress
A blind Australian
Members of a film crew
A circus owner
General Douglas MacArthur
A 16th century thief

Now we need a dilema or a conflict or just something that happens:

Gets a taste of high society.
Hooks up with a widows teenage daughter.
Assumes the mantle of a superhero.
Video tapes her affair with a married Detroit salesman.
Decide to take their act to Bolivia.
Is surrounded by a bevy of beautiful students.

Now we just mix and match to our hearts content:

An aimless tv salesman decides to take his act to Bolivia.


A French schoolboy is accused of murder but escapes to track down the real culprit and win the hand of a minneapolis waitress

A paralyzed man and a circus owner hook up with a widows teenage daughter and become friends.

General Douglas MacArthur assumes the mantle of a superhero.

A 16th century thief video tapes her affair with a married Detroit salesman.

Members of a film crew get a taste of high society and become a blind Australian.

A powerful NY gangster and General Douglas MacArthur are surrounded by a bevy of beautiful students and must eat virgins to keep their bodies from rotting.

Voila! You're a screenwriter.



4 comments:

mike said...

Actually, "Voila! You're a logline writer."

Pick one one of those juicy loglines (TV guidelines, Guideposts blurbs, pitches, elevator frontal assaults, whatever; then, write the first draft of that script and we'll all scream, "Voila! You're a screenwriter! Yay."

Love it when the goal of a movie is "they become friends." There's just so much boiling-over conflict when people don't know one another.

Shine on you glazey diamond.

anonononononymus said...

It takes a logline writer to know one.

Coleman Miller said...

Mikey - i knew i'd be hearing from you here.
Loglines.....hmmmmm.
2 Bloggers and a circus owner decide to take their act to Bolivia and in the process become a logline.

maybe i should have readers send in the logline for their life, so far. (this sounds like something you do in therapy... some writing is meant for thyself.) just what you want to hear from a blogger, eh?

Amy E. C. said...

Finally! Someone else who appreciates the creative potential of the TV Guide!

Here's some of what bounty they can yield when you mix-and-match them them randomly, Dada-style:
http://www.abecedarienne.com/gallery/artwork/pleasant_day-lrg.jpg
http://www.abecedarienne.com/gallery/artwork/typo_book02-lrg.jpg
http://www.abecedarienne.com/gallery/artwork/randomtitles-lrg.jpg