There is no rhyme or reason to how writers make their way to the big screen, and though many begin by going to film school, a good majority of Hollywood's most successful scribes do not. The first step toward a career in screenwriting begins with making time to write, and the big names below prove that what aspiring screenwriters need to set themselves up for an Oscar is money to pay the bills and time on the side to work on their scripts. For a dose of inspiration, we've taken a peek at what some of Tinseltown's biggest names in writing were doing as their day job when they got their big break. Quentin Tarantino was working at a video rental store.
The source of my boredom was that pages upon pages were going by and not much was happening. This, I realized, could be construed as the definition of screen-reading boredom: If nothing interesting happens for too long, the reader either physically checks out closes the script or mentally checks out starts skimming.
They were just few and far between. It took forever to get to them. The more of them you have within reasonthe more likely your story is to remain entertaining. But how many plot points do you want in your script?
And how many is too little? Here are a few prominent ones. It could even be simplified down to one word: Which keeps us engaged. With R2 running away to find Obi-Wan, it forces Luke to act, changing the direction of the story. This is another huge plot point as it motivates Luke to join Obi-Wan on his trip to Alderran.
I did not expect there to be that many plot points. However, the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. So in retrospect, that number feels just about right.
I also noticed a few other things here. We see the same thing when our heroes escape the Death Star, as Obi-Wan is killed in the process. An escape is exciting. So double up on those plot-points where you can boys and girls! Another thing I noticed was how important it is to mix your plot points up.
In Star Wars we have interruptions, surprises, mysteries, deaths, goals, unexpected character intros, raising the stakes. You need that variety to keep your story fresh.
So mix it up! In other words, not every movie is a summer blockbuster where a lightning fast pace is required. And these movies require a slower pace.
And a reader only makes that deal if you give them something in return. Character development and strong dialogue are two of a number of variables that will be expected in that deal.
Also remember that your plot points are only as effective as a how clever they are b how original they are, and c how clear they are. You still have to come up with interesting plot points, just like you have to come up with interesting characters and scenes and dialogue.
I occasionally read a script with a ton of plot points — tons happening — yet all the activity leaves me lost.
Plot points are pointless unless we understand their impact on the story. Finally, I understand that plot points can be a little confusing. My definition of them is by no means perfect, and encompasses a lot of different scenarios.James Cameron has the luxury of showing a film to a real audience who can give him feedback which we don’t have.
So do the best you can without a live studio audience. If you’re really nervous or unsure, ask other writer friends to look at your screenplay or consider paying for a script consultant.
Screenwriting is a tricky trade and certainly not one that its practitioners fall easily into. There is no rhyme or reason to how writers make their way to the big screen, and though many begin by.
by Karel Segers. To my taste – I was not raised on popcorn fare – James Cameron is the only true-bred Hollywood writer-director. His cinema is high concept, superbly entertaining and truly spectacular. Syd Field was the first true screenwriting guru and his book Screenplay is still a standard, more than thirty years after its initial publication.
During his first visit to the city with his name, we interviewed him about his career and craft.
James Cameron has the luxury of showing a film to a real audience who can give him feedback which we don’t have. So do the best you can without a live studio audience. If you’re really nervous or unsure, ask other writer friends to look at your screenplay or consider paying for a script consultant.
James Francis Cameron was born on August 16, in Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada. He moved to the United States in The son of an engineer, he majored in physics at California State University before switching to English, and eventually dropping out.