Persons of Letters! Hoping that this was probably justify a gander. What do you think?

Hello Freelancers, this could potentially be good.

Today is Day 2 of Prep to write a screenplay in 2 weeks. You can read the announcement for the 2 Week Screenplay Challenge here.


We’re five days away from FADE IN and we’ve got a ton of work to do. By this time tomorrow, you need to know what script you’re writing.

Yesterday, I told you to prepare 5 loglines for scripts you want to write. Then, either e-mail five friends of yours and ask them to rank the ideas from best to worst. Or post the loglines right here in the comment section and have the Scriptshadow community rank them for you. Whatever gets the most votes, I’d suggest you write that idea.

If you want my personal opinion, my logline service is still cheap. $25 for a rating, a 150 word analysis, and a logline rewrite. I will reintroduce the 5 loglines for $75 deal through the weekend. E-mail me at [email protected] if you’re interested.

Like I said yesterday, committing to an idea will be the most important decision you make in this challenge by far. Good ideas inspire exciting stories. Weak ideas are like swimming with cinder blocks tied to your feet. Every scene is a chore. Finding the next plot beat is akin to finding toilet paper at the supermarket.

How do we define a good idea versus a bad one? While it may seem like how good an idea is is in the eye of the beholder, there are things you can do to improve an idea’s potency. A good idea is one that does a lot of the writing for you. Common factors include a strong main character goal, a heavy dose of conflict in the way of your hero’s journey, and the stakes feel big. That’s important – that this story feel like major consequences are involved. If you want to add even more charge to the idea, contain the time frame. Create a sense of urgency (the goal must be achieved soon or else…).

I would also like to introduce a new concept that has a major effect on how appealing your idea is to others. It’s called CREATIVE POTENTIAL and you want your ideas to have it. Sure, you can put a John Wick like character in your lead role and say he has to kill the evil bad guy within 28 hours or his family will be executed. That hits all the beats I mentioned above. But with zero creativity behind the setup, it doesn’t leave a lot of openings to give the story anything people haven’t seen before. Nor does it offer opportunities for surprising plot revelations. It’s a bland straightforward idea that lacks anything to distinguish it from the pack.

So what’s a good idea that contains all these things?

Jurassic Park, duh. I know it’s an oldie, but it’s a goodie. A group of people gets stuck on an island of dinosaurs. Goal = escape. Stakes = their lives. Urgency = they’re being chased so they have to achieve the goal NOW. Conflict = dinosaurs are trying to kill them. Creative Potential = a freaking island of dinosaurs. There are so many fun creative plot things you can do with this setup.

Okay, what about a bad idea? An idea that doesn’t “write itself.”

I’m going to say Marriage Story. I know I just used that as an example yesterday of an easy script to write but now I’m having second thoughts. The idea doesn’t have a goal. It doesn’t have any stakes really. The damage to this couple is already done at the start of the story. The narrative is used to get us to the legal finish line of the divorce. There’s clearly no urgency here. The script’s sole dramatic engine is the conflict between the central characters, which admittedly works well. But because you don’t have any real goal pushing the narrative, coming up with scene ideas for this must have been a nightmare. It’s always easy to see how they got there in the rear-view mirror, but I suspect there were a lot of long nights of Noah Baumbach staring at the blank page not knowing what to write next. Goal-less characters are responsible for driving many a writer insane.

And here’s another good idea…

This one a longtime Scriptshadow reader alerted me to from a previous contest – “It’s Christmas time in Berlin, 1944. A serial murderer is on the loose, and a confounded police detective springs a famed Jewish psychologist from Auschwitz to help him profile and catch the killer.” – The script would go on to sell to Fox. We’ve got our goal – catch the killer. We’ve got stakes – people are dying. We’ve got urgency – the longer it takes to catch him, the more people die. We’ve got some great conflict at the center of the story – A German police officer and a Jewish psychologist working together during one of the most tense times in history. And the creative potential of this idea is off the charts. You know you have a good idea when anybody who reads it can start thinking up fun scenes to write.

Finally, here’s one of Magga’s loglines from yesterday, which I had issues with. I hope Magga is okay with me critiquing it because your other idea, Shalloween, sounds great.

LIVE FOREVER – At the height of the britpop craze, demand for the Oasis live experience was so high that several cover bands got national reputations in England. This is the story of a fictional one.

Where is the goal in this idea? I suppose it’s for this fictional cover band to perform live? Okay. I guess that’s not terrible. But if I have to dig to understand the goal, then I don’t know what the stakes are. I can’t find the urgency. I’m not seeing any conflict in this logline, which gives me no sense of what the second act is going to be about. It also feels weird that the first half of this idea is about a real time and real people and the second half introduces a fictional element. Who cares if some fictional Oasis cover band gets to play live? This would be so so so much better if this was a true story.

But look, don’t feel bad if your idea isn’t loved. Picking ideas is an inexact science. The reasons we fall in love with an idea don’t always match up with how the rest of the world perceives them. Our hero may remind us of a fresh take on our favorite movie character of all time, “John Smith” from the movie “Takedown.” Meanwhile, everybody else just sees a generic straight-to-video action thriller. This logic can be applied to Live Forever. Magga may love Oasis and that’s why they’re passionate about writing a movie about them. But all we see is a confused story with a weak narrative.

That’s why I want you to share five movie ideas instead of one. At the very least, you’ll be working with an idea that beat out four others. So, if you want to participate, post your five movie ideas below in the comment sections. Please include titles and genres.

You must pick a movie idea by tomorrow because tomorrow we have to start prepping to write the script. We only have five days for prep. So let’s get to it!

Was I on the nose?
Thank me later.