A frequently asked question to a screenwriter is:
How do you come up with new ideas?
This is usually followed by a question asking,
How do YOU write a screenplay?
Well... there are dozens of books on the subject. Go to google or amazon.com and type in screenwriting and you can buy thousands of dollars worth of information on how to write a screenplay and get ideas. But that never really answers the questions, does it?
What people are really asking is: How do I write great stories?
To that there is no answer.
But that doesn't stop the questions. Nor the demand for tip books on screenwriting. Keep in mind that the majority of authors that write screenwriting books have made more money selling their "How To" book than actually writing screenplays. And most professional screenwriters complain about the flawed methodology that preaches format over content.
The overwhelming stacks of screenwriting books fall into two types:
- The ones that examine successful screenplays.
- The ones that examine failed screenplays.
The problem is that screenwriting books will NEVER grant the ability to tell a story. Writing will. The more you do it, the better you become. But most people don't want to put in the work. They just want to start out as a genius.
In the words of American Idol, foul-mouthed, whiny, 16 year old, brat, Jason Anderson,
"I wanted to start out famous."
How does someone with no work ethic feel entitled to accomplish something that very few people with talent, skill, and determination are able to?
"You will be, famous. You will be, famous," his mother consoles. Slap her. Please.
Back to screenwriting. Here's a tip... 3 Act Structure, 8 Sequence Structure, The Hero's Journey, they all work. But only when dramatic content is applied... DRAMATICALLY.