Screenwriting : How does screen writing work? by Greg Wickherst

Greg Wickherst

How does screen writing work?

I have an incredible true life story that everyone keeps telling me needs to be made into a movie. It's not just me talking out of my butt, I have a viral story about me, and now my life has turned into a Lifetime movie. I have a Facebook page with over 100K followers. But my personal life has turned into hell. Does a screenwriter write something in hopes of it being turned into a movie, or would I have to pay someone on the front end for them to do the work? How does this process work?

Steve Cleary

Most screenwriters have a long list of their own spec material to write, so yeah, if you'd like them to put their own stuff on hold, then an up-front, paid writing assignment would be in order :^}

Pierre Langenegger

If you want a writer to write your story for you, you'll have to pay them for it. No one's going to be interested in writing someone else's story on spec. I'm sure you have a terrific story to tell and I'm not trying to put it down but "I have an incredible true life story that everyone keeps telling me needs to be made into a movie" is an incredibly common phrase and I can't tell you how many times I've heard and seen this. My advice? Hire a ghost writer to write it as a book first, you have better odds of it being picked up by a studio once it becomes a best seller than as a spec script.

Greg Wickherst

Thanks for the advice. I appreciate it!

Dan Guardino

If the story is supper unique let me know.

Fiona Faith Ross

Sounds like you'd be best hiring a professional screenwriter in your genre (biography) to get the best possible execution of your story, or as PL says, a ghost writer to write the book, then you'd have to consider how you want to shop that.

Donna M. Carbone

I have a number of writers in my class who have been told by others that their story needs to be turned into a movie. Here's the problem. Your story -- no matter what it is -- is not unique. Every story that can be written has been written. That doesn't mean you shouldn't write it, but you need to do some research to find out what similarities it holds with already-published works. My suggestion is always to write a true story as fiction. Very few people are interested in biographies of unknown people. Plus, it is sometimes difficult to be absolutely honest when the story is about you. Both men and women will leave out personal details that are pertinent to the story because they are embarrassing. Usually, those are the very details that need to be included. By writing fiction (based on fact), you have the freedom to tell your story without hesitation. I tell my students to write the book first. Then, adapt it to a screenplay. If doable, write the stage play as well. Just in case you really do have a great story that someone will want to make into a film, you'll already have the script in hand.

Boomer Murrhee

Friends and family aren't generally a good measure of what idea would make a good movie. They're good for stroking your ego and making you feel better. That's important sometimes. Now if you're related to Spielberg or Tarantino that's another matter. That's why it's never a good idea to get feedback from friends and family outside the movie business. They're going to be polite and don't want to dash your dreams or hurt your feelings. Donna makes some good points. Go ahead and write it using your best imagination. It will be a learning experience. When you've taken it through a few drafts, get someone in the industry to look at it and go from there. Good luck.

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