This book helps answer these questions and gives readers a better understanding of the mechanics of “script writing.” Beyond the Pages was created by the founder of Silver*Ware Studios, Inc. He was an five year instructor of John Casablancas Modeling and Career Center and film columnist for the Creative Minds Magazine. The book is to help aspiring film writers begin and/or perfect their craft in script writing; rather it's commercials, television, and/or film.
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Beyond the Pages
This book is a program in words to help you create a script for film, television and/or commercial. It has sixteen chapters that goes through every step it takes to create a script and teaches you the businesss and knowledge behind the career of the script writer. By the end of this book you will have a better understanding of the mechanics of script writing and the business that goes withit.
Chapter 2: Genre & Ideas
At the early ages of my script writing, one of my mentors, Fran Burst of Burst Entertainment, told me,
“Travis, you going to be a screenplay writer because you write shit people want to see.”
I took that to heart. You should write what people want to “watch,” not what they want to “read.” There is a difference. You could sell your soul to the devil (executives) and write what they think makes a good script.
“Do they know what makes a good script?” you may ask.
No. What studios like are names and credit lists. They care about who’s in the film, who’s directing it, and how they can make money. Oh, yeah! They care about the script – but only if they don’t have to pay a lot for it. They’re more into “the bottom line.” So what are you suppose to do, then? Write.
Write about the man that got hurt in the train accident. Write about the woman that fell in love with her best friend. You just have to write. Because in the end, it’s not you that makes them money, it’s the audience. It might sound a little harsh, but it’s the truth, and that’s what I’m here to tell you.
The person you need to listen to is your neighbor, the mail man, the taxi driver, the woman you met on the bus, the American People! They are the ones that will make your story famous. They are the ones that go out and pay $10 a person to see your film.
As a writer, you are obligated to write what they want to see because if it weren’t for them there would be no reason to write. But, what makes a good story? Is it a good actor, a good director, or a famous producer? No. It’s the script. It’s what comes out of you that make it to the “Big Screen.” You have to come up with the ideas and the genres. So…where do you look?
Everywhere your eyes and ears see & hear. The world is filled with stories and ideas; all you have to do is tune in. You come home from your 9-to-5 and click on the TV, and what do you see on the news? Violence, drama, and action.
I myself think that the news is the most violent thing on television, but it keeps you glued to the TV to see why the little girl was hit by an oncoming car while walking in front of a school bus.
The American People love a good story. They will pay for it, either at the theater or on “bootleg.” Yes, I said it! Don’t act like they don’t exist! You have to find what sticks in your mind and write about it. You don’t even have to hear the whole story. The headlines themselves can give you three scripts in about the first ten minutes of the show.
“Woman killed her husband with a pair of serving spoons.”
“Man was shot while coming out of a Dunkin’ Donuts.”
Yeah, they both have holes. Come on! You were thinking it! You get the picture - and you can’t use those; this book is copyrighted.
Even the newspaper’s got tons of stuff. Just flip through the latest articles, and you’ll have at least six months’ worth of work. This doesn’t mean that you have to copy the story that is written, though; use your imagination and come up with your own conclusion as to why those things happened.
Also, go to www.imdb.com, see what’s out there, and see what’s making money or what flopped. You’ll probably have to get IMDBPro to find out what’s making the big bucks.
Now you have to find out what your Genre of Choice is - but be careful. If you stick to one genre, you can be labeled as that type of writer. Let’s list the most popular ones:
8. Martial Arts
10. Adult (Porn)
Now you know what kinds of scripts are out there. The list covers all areas of script writing, from film to television to commercials. And, yes, porn does have a script - but we’re going to move on, OK?
Another important saying is, “Write what you know.” This means write what you enjoy watching. If you spend most of your time watching James Bond movies, then spy films might be the way to go, or at least action or adventure films. You have to know what you are into. If you’ve seen Sleepless in Seattle at least 46 times STRAIGHT, then romantic comedy films are your ticket, or at least one of the two (comedy or romance).
Now, if you never in your life have seen an action or martial arts movie of any kind (God, I hope so), please don’t try to write it! It could get very frustrating and boring to you. You might not even like those types of films. Stick to what you know.
There are two types of scripts.
Action-Driven scripts are your martial arts, action films, sci-fi, and, yes, adult films. The story is driven by the action of the hero. Example: Star Wars III – When Anakin had to go around killing all the Jedi on the planet. His actions are what drove the story to the next scene. If you haven’t seen the movie, shame on you! But, the majority of the film’s movement or action is what makes the story go.
Character-Driven scripts are your dramas, and sometimes comedies. Comedy can be either-or because your character has to be the one telling the joke or reciting the dialogue that makes the scene funny; that makes it a character-driven script. But, if he or she is showing you a funny movement, like Kramer on Seinfeld, then it can be an action-driven script.
People have asked me what kind of scripts I like to write. I told them the kind that people go to see. I would never give them a type of genre; like I said, you can be labeled.
Here’s what I’d like for you to do: after you finish reading this chapter, I want you to go wherever you store your DVD’s, videos, Hi-Def, Blue Ray, or “bootlegs,” and see what you have been buying lately. See what have you been watching and enjoying. The average wins; if you have more comedy than drama, then there you go! The ones you’ve got hidden way under your bed don’t count (just kiddin’). Turn the page.