Screenwriting : Not knowing what to do by Ted Jackson

Ted Jackson

Not knowing what to do

what do u do when u have so many ideas for so many movies do you collaborate with someone or do you try to do at all your self

Felicia Kane

Make a list! Cannot stress than enough. I have a whole notebook just filled with random ideas. Do some simple loglines or one-sentence summaries for each idea and then chat with some people to see what they would like to collaborate with you. If you feel like you need to collab then put that down on the paper. If you think you can do all the research and the writing yourself, then put that down. I'm a person that will collaborate with anyone if they need help, but I also like to work on my own with my crazy ideas I have. Just don't be a juggler, try to get one idea at a time. Makes your life a lot more easy if you do one at a time.

Ted Jackson

Write a comment... I have a creative mind that's always thinking

Boomer Murrhee

Nobody buys ideas unless your an accomplished writer/producer. Otherwise, take an idea, research it and run with it and see where it leads. Write everyday, perfect your craft and bring your work to production standards is what has the best chance to sell in the spec market. I don't want to sound like a guru. Let me confess that to this date, I have generated interest in some of my projects but have not sold a script yet. This is the path I have been encouraged to take by friends in the industry and I'm sharing what was generously handed down to me. Lots of people have ideas, it's the ability to take an idea to bring it to the the level of quality that a producer can use is what separates the dreamers from the doers. Keep writing! Good luck and hope to hear about your successes soon.

Jazz Maine


William Martell

You make a list of all of the ideas and then find the one that you would stand in line for on opening day.... and that you know would have a really long line because it will appeal to millions of people. Use your heart and your mind to select the best idea, and then script it. By then you may have more ideas, do it all over again and select the best idea and then script it. You keep doing that for the rest of your life.

Leah Waller

Pick the most marketable idea and write it! If you have multiple marketable ideas, write a few! Then re-write!

Ted Jackson

thanks that's the best idea I've heard so far

Doug Nelson

Ted – truth be told, everyone has jillions of ideas all the time and you cannot sell ideas. Jot them all down and come back to ‘em in a week or so. Most won’t seem so good then, but a few will. Then think about what genre intrigues you the most – any of ‘em fit? Then pick a character, a time and place. What does your character want more than anything else in the world (be specific)? Who/what’s going to try to stop him and why? Will your character win/lose? Once you’ve gone through this process with your surviving ideas, the number will whittle itself down to very few. All it takes is one solid one to get started creating the story yourself. Now you know what you want to do.

Edward St.Boniface

Hi Ted, I agree emphatically with Doug. Your best ideas will always be the ones you return to, the ones you're most passionate and sincere about. And those always make the best stories because they're the ones that are most honest and from you. I tend to concentrate those ideas that make me ANGRIEST, because that's where the writing really flows. Use your own experiences and the stuff that runs around in your head because it will articulate itself and give your writing motive power and direction. Don't worry about getting it 'right' the first time because there is no right. What works is what's vivid and you polish up and format and edit and the like later, maybe in association with someone who's good at editorial. Good luck!

Chrismomofthreegirls Cruise

Well said Edward.

Edward St.Boniface

Thanks Chris. I RAGE just like Unikitty in THE LEGO MOVIE! And Ted, if you're ever really stuck, most of the classics are out of copyright. Take a leetle bit of Homer, a leetle bit of Shakespeare, a whole lot of Juvenal in my case and just stick the characters into Levis or PRADA...

Ted Jackson

the beginning stage of the script

Adam McCulloch

You should always have a zillion ideas or you won't have the creative stamina to hone them into one excellent screenplay. Write them all down, flesh out the best.

Ivan Alexei Dominguez

It is better to do more with less. In fragmented ideas, thoughts are weak, therefore becomes shy Creativity 1. the act or process of fragmentation; state of being fragmented. Dos. disintegration, collapse or break the rules of thought, behavior, or social relationship. Climbs a ladder rung to rung, foot after foot. Be patient and focus on a single IDEA! Best regards Ivan

Annette Stewart-Colon

Input your ideas in your laptop for safe keeping. Once you have finished one of your screenplays, copy write it and move on to the next idea.

Gail Clifford

Ted, Hope you have taken the time to write down each and every idea, check to see if you really, truly, honestly think it's a commercial idea to sell (or just something you want to write for you) then try to elevate it with the "What If?" question - what if my story took place in a different world or time? what if the antagonist was a different gender, race, ethnicity, species? for everything from the theme to the plot to the characters. One thing I found TRULY helpful: I took 4-5 of my loglines and ran them past people (asked permission of them first) - firends and strangers - and watched their reaction... NOT what they said - people try to be kind... but HOW THEY LOOKED and how excited the idea made them to hear more. I narrowed it down to my top three from that time, and wrote the one that I was most interested in. And I kept going. Make a point of trying to generate new story ideas at least once a week -- every day if you can. Keep a folder of inspirational quotes or newpaper articles or anything that makes you go Hmmmm. Look at them and ask yourself if there's a movie there -- and if so, is it commercial, is it for the art world, is it something I want to do so that it can be a writing example? If you're a strong writer in keeping your story matched to theme and have a strong voice for both male and female characters, and can work quickly, you may not need a writing partner. If you find your challenged by pacing, by action, by the female voice... whatever, see who you trust and enjoy working with to collaborate with then sign a contract in advance about how things will go if you sell whatever you're working on. It can be loads of fun -- hope you enjoy it! and always, always.... keep on writing!

Boomer Murrhee

@ Gail, I think you are right on. Good advice.

David Dogman Harvey

Consider yourself blessed. Concepts that are new, interesting and different are the gold. Many can write, but are their ideas commercially good? I started writing for myself only. I strongly agree with what already been said.

Ted Jackson

I like to look in between movies and pull things out to create another movie aka sequels sometime my mind is like a scanner or a sensor that picks up on things and creates

David Dogman Harvey

Watch for any copyrights infringements. Change locations, time, and names. I once starting writing the sequel to the most asked for sequel in films. The Professional. Natalie Portman would have to come back, but my script was just about a female Hitman.

Adam McCulloch

If you're basing characters on existing properties owned by someone else then you are essentially writing fan-fiction and it is my understanding that, while such writing can not be prosecuted for the similarity to the source material (see the plethora of fan-fiction sites) your writing also must not be commercial in nature or you are in breach of copyright. Some other legal type folks on Stage 32 might know more but that's my take.

Ted Jackson

most times I will get a different idea from seeing from another movie is just that that one scene in a movie might give me an idea for a whole different movie then what that is

David Dogman Harvey

I get that. You're watching a film and expect it to go one way and doesn't. You then think, hey if it went in this direction it would have been better or more interesting or even move into another genre.

Anthony Mouasso

I have notebooks filled with ideas. I kept them not too far so that I can take a look. An idea, is not a product you hear that a lot and it's true. If you have an idea for a statue it's not the finished sculpture. Remember that, and try to find the best container for your ideas...

Boomer Murrhee

Take an idea and pitch it to your friends or better yet, friends in the industry to gauge their interest. If they like it and want to know more, take that idea and develop it to a production-ready script that a producer can use. This takes time and effort. Many aspiring writers drop out because they didn't realize how much work and commitment goes in to crafting a screenplay to a level that a producer can actually use. Putting words on paper in the proper format is one thing, but hooking an audience for two hours with a complex screenplay with proper pacing, subplots and character arcs is not for the faint hearted. This is where learning and perfecting the craft of screenwriting is an exciting challenge. If you are willing to put in the work and be open to new perspectives, I don’t think there is much competition. I wish you well with your endeavor. I hope your ideas can lead to something special. With hard work, I believe they can.

David Dogman Harvey

Boomer's lucky. Most people don't know anyone in the industry. When I wrote my first script as a challenge from my wife, I had little knowledge of the craft of screenwriting. I've worked with Playbooks as an actor and that's close as you get. I gleamed what I could from the Internet. When I finished the first rough draft I consulted with an older veteran actor. He asked some questions about my script that added some great scenes for motivation of my characters but some of his advice was counter productive. I padded my script with useless information and scenes. He really new about theater not screenwriting. Here's a scream. I always got high marks for story and concept in contest, low marks like 7's for formatting and structure. Re-did my plastic template I used and corrected all the margins. It's close to perfect without the software. Just got back my evaluation from PAGE for my comedy. Used the old bad template on it. Got a 10 in formatting and structure and 6's and 7's for story and concept. They really like my dialogue which is rare for a rough draft. I never got a 10 in anything. Go figure. I'm getting long winded because you're me three years ago. Start with the story you have the most passion for. Write an outline for it. I always know my end and how I'd like to introduce my characters. The middle is the bitch for me. I wrote my third screenplay backwards. I then knew what scene I needed to flow into the scene I just wrote. Good luck and have fun with it. Since most writers don't make money or much money, you might as well enjoy yourself. It's a hobby till someone pays you.

Stuart Scowcroft

In my view, all scripts are essentially stories so you have to be a your family, kids, friends, people in the supermarket queue...anyone who will listen. if you can engage them, that is a good start. Personally I believe in the process of collaboration. It usually helps enhance your ideas and often suggests new material. I love working with other people and sharing the creative process most of the time.

David Dogman Harvey

Through this site I've seen a number of screenwriters in my general area. A monthly support group meeting for coffee or whatever to discuss our problems with scripts from loglines to needed scenes would be a good idea.

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