Do You Have An Idea for a Movie?

Donald L. Vasicek - Alfrech "Heap of Birds", Cheyenne on location in Clinton, Oklahoma during interview for the award-winning documentary film, "The Sand Creek Massacre"

Donald L. Vasicek – Alfrech “Heap of Birds”, Cheyenne on location in Clinton, Oklahoma during interview for the award-winning documentary film, “The Sand Creek Massacre”

Your Movie Idea(s)

So, you have an idea for a movie? There are steps that you can take to
make it into a screenplay. Unless you’re in the Hollywood loop, simply
selling your movie idea or movie ideas are virtually impossible. Do
you know why? Almost everyone has a movie idea or two or three, etc.
A more realistic approach to getting your movie idea noticed is to do
the following:

Steps to Take To Get Your Movie Idea(s) Noticed

A logline, a treatment, a script and a query letter should be written
by you or someone who has experience in writing screenplays. Once you
have accomplished this, then purchase a copy of “The Hollywood Creative
Directory”. There you will find studios, producers, and production
companies with their names, contact information and the kinds of movies
and/or television movies they have produced. Those are the people you
to whom you should send your query letter. You can also do an Internet
search for producers and production companies who are seeking screenplays
to produce. Also, purchase a copy of “The Hollywood Creative Directory
for Agents” and send them your query letter introducing yourself and
tell them about your screenplay as well.

Screenwriting – Montages

Without doing research on montages (I’ve only
used them when I’m directing and writing, or
working with a director as the screenwriter
when we’re writing the shooting script, which
is different than a spec script), I have to say
to limit the use of montages. I haven’t used
them for so long I find it hard to remember
how long they should be.

You want to be careful with montages. For a
new writers, some actors, directors and
producers look at new screenwriters using
montages as amateurish. Some would also
look at it as directing, which could cause
some negative feelings.

Montages are usually used in shooting scripts.
That means that the director working with
the screenwriter makes the decision, “Let’s
put in a montage here.” The director is
thinking in terms of the visuals and the flow,
how they fit into and tell the story. The producer,
on the other hand, would look at a way
to use montages to save money.

Writing Story Beats

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When writing a screenplay, by writing story beats first, it helps you organize your thoughts into a more coherent form. Once you complete writing the story beats, you can then begin writing each scene for your screenplay. By following this approach, you will find that you have a road map to follow with respect to your story beats. So, much of your grunt work goes into the story beats, while most of your creative work goes into the writing of each scene.

Story beats should show each scene in brief form. They do not have to be written in perfect grammar. They simply need to be written down in order. Story beats can be looked upon as idea beats. You have an idea for a scene. What should take place in that scene.? “Oh, yeah, this, this, and this.” Bang! You’ve written your story beats for the first scene. A word of caution, always enter your scene at the last moment and get out of the scene as soon as you can.

For example, on page 1/minute 1 of my screenplay/movie, “The Caller”, I introduce the setting. I introduce the main character. I show what she does as a professional. I show how she acts and reacts around other people. Bang! I move to the next page/scene. The story beats are: Introduce the setting. Introduce the main character. Show what she does as a professional. Show how she acts and reacts around other people. Get out, move to the next page/scene.

Once you get some story beats down, you will find that ideas come up where you want to write more in story beats you’ve already written. So, do that. If you want to expound on the setting, e.g., then add to introduce the setting, behind the stage of a fashion show. Then, get back to your story beats for the scene on which you are presently working.

Writing story beats are refreshing and very helpful to writing a multi-dimensional screenplay, something for which every screenwriter should strive.

Story beats 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6...