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The Secret Script Writing Formula Of All Successful Movies




The formula for writing a blockbuster movie is quite simple. Your script must be 106 pages long., It must involve spaceships and trucks that turn into robots. Your script must contain not one but two cross-dressing roles for Adam Sandler and/or Eddie Murphy, and most importantly, on page 47 there must either be a kiss with a vampire and/or an attack on a Soviet nuclear installation!

Follow these guidelines and you are guaranteed to write a script that makes you money. What's that? Ridiculous, you say. Well of course but is it any more ridiculous to write a script according to a 5 act formula created back when Star Wars was released or plot your story with an 87 Part B cheat matrix?

The real secret to writing a screenplay is to stop looking for a secret, a quick fix a shortcut or a paradigm. A paradigm is defined as an example serving as a model or pattern, but here's the thing about patterns. Artists rarely use them in the act of creation.

It's only later when the buzz wears off and the hangover starts that critics look at work and say 'Oh, he's using the old 12 act midpoint Joseph Campbell mythic structure'. They're missing the most fundamental point of all which is cover bands do not rock the world.

Do you know anything about jazz? I'm not a huge jazz fan but with enough red wine, I can sort of get in the mood. Anyway, here's the thing about jazz. If you can play the notes perfectly to a song just like Miles or monk or Chet Baker if you can master the form as the Great's did you can end up with a gig at the Tucson Ramada on a Thursday night.

If you can build on what came before you and create something new, something nobody has ever seen or heard of before, you can change the world. You can create a new paradigm. So the number one secret to writing a screenplay that doesn't suck will make you money and totally Rock the movie business is this.

Don't worry about secrets, worry about creating interesting characters. Make characters that only you are capable of dreaming up and put them in impossible situations. Don't focus so much on your act to mid point and your act breaks. Think about what really makes you mad and upset. What is it you'd be willing to die for or maybe kill for?

Write about that. Trust me, there's absolute gold there. Now I know what you're saying. This all sounds really nice but what about structure? What about outlining? What about rising action and plot points?

Okay, here's the best secret I know about that stuff. In my opinion, this is all the structure you really need. Your screenplay needs a somebody who must do a something that they really don't want to do, or else something really bad will happen.

So now there's something they have to do and it must be the last thing they ever want to do. They only do it because they fear that if they don't do it ,something really bad will happen, which will be much worse.

Now somebody told me I have to eat chips and salsa every day for a month, or the Russian mob will kill me, that would not be very hard. First of all, I love chips and salsa. Let's say that same


Russian mob comes and says 'we need you to rob the 7-eleven down the street or we'll kill you'.
This would be a very difficult choice.

This is a dilemma and the more difficult you can make the dilemma on your character, the more interested the viewer will be. If you keep working at it, eventually all the act breaks and plot points that you freaked out about will take care of themselves. You've got to have that simple form. You have to have that foundation.

Here's an example. An insurance adjuster is a very conservative guy and the last thing that he would ever want to do is shave his head and go to a punk rock festival. That'd be the last thing that he would ever do but what if he did it to find his runaway daughter? Now we're getting somewhere.

Now it's a story and we could play this as a 7th heaven type family comedy. We could play it as a dark David Fincher type thriller. We could do it as a musical. The genre doesn't matter. What matters is we have this impossible situation. You could spend a Saturday at Starbucks and in two hours come up with a competent act breakdown of this punk rock dad script.

You could do it because you have a foundation. You must have that foundation. The foundation is that somebody has got to do with something they really don't want to do, or else a bad thing will happen. That's the formula. You don't need a 7 act, or a 5 act, or a 3 act structure.


You just have to have the basic structure of somebody pushing beyond their comfort zone. There's nothing more interesting to us as viewers to see somebody push themselves past their old. limitations

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