Here’s How to Get Out of The Box for a Screenplay

Screenplay requires screen time

Here’s How to Get Out of The Box for a Screenplay

Pro Tip: Start with a logline

It is often considered that creating out of the box ideas need extra-ordinary minds. But as they say, a human’s brain has no boundaries and can leap into any creative dimension. This requires effort in the right direction and a few considerate steps can lead brains into a creative bliss. Always remember, more brains produce more ideas so it’s always better to work with a team.

This creative bliss allows people to effectively engage with each other and produce good results. This engaging further requires some common elements. You wouldn’t want people working and using their brains in opposite poles. Ideas on a certain project need to have some common elements provided. Take it like a tree. It has to have a strong stem from which multiple branches emerge. These branches are the ideas you can get from one base.

Now here are a few steps that can help develop ideas. So if you are an aspiring producer or a writer then you should definitely use them to engage your best creative teams.

Brainstorming Knows No Boundaries:

The producer must create a comfortable space for his team to ‘think’ creatively. Ambience has a huge role in triggering the right side of your brain. Once the ambience has been created and the mood dive into the wonderland has been set you must be all ears to what is being created. You must welcome all ideas so there is room for more to generate.

If the surrounding is not comfortable with all types of ideas than you are limiting the scope of brain. You must listen to every idea, appreciate accordingly and encourage to do more. A positive space is essential for brainstorming, it has to be free of judgements.

Stealing is a Big NO, Giving is a Big YES:

Don’t steal ideas, give credits to whoever came up with it first. It creates a level of trust among your team and together you all can do more. If somebody wants to add to your idea let them do it, allow people to play around your work. If you become possessive of your idea then your team will avoid sharing their minds with you. This creates a blockage and what could have been a great idea is now lying half done on your drafting pad.

Take a Break and Relax:

Not only should you do it but also allow your team to do it as well. If you think you cannot find a great blockbuster idea sit down take a break and relax. You can also go out, take a walk, play with your dog, eat at a nice place or do anything that helps you think.

You can also be in the situations or places that you want to use in your masterpiece. For example, you want your screenplay to start off in a casino, you can visit one and it can help you think further on how to go about it.

Winner Gets a Prize!

If you feel that your team is all tired of the work and needs a motivation, organize small screenwriting competitions among your team. This will motivate them to do better and they will put more effort into it.

You could also hire a screenplay consulting service to do a competition. For example, there could be a Best Screenwriting contest where people can have a platform to share ideas. To further narrow it down, there could also be themes for contest where many creative brains can ponder over one subject and pour in ideas on a certain subject like LGBT screenplay contest.

This can give your firm/ production house publicity as well and can be a name known among people. The screenplay contest winners would get prizes for their writings and this could not only be a great marketing strategy but you could get multiple ideas from all the writings.

Know Your Place!

Every person in a screen play has his or her own role. The producer, writer and director see each event from their own perspective and lens. A creative piece is a combination of many things such as budget, locations, lighting, marketing etc. One must play their part from their domain. And let others play their part from their expertise. Don’t try to be jack of all trades because this then creates problems and can keep you stuck at a certain level. Others must also get a chance to use their brains and find solutions to little problems.

Keep in touch!

When you are working on an idea, your brain keeps going back at it. Sometimes, the ideas you get after a meeting are better than the ones you have during the meeting. Share them at once! Keep in touch with the idea not just in your head but practically as well by sharing it with your team mates often. It helps in moving forward and when you meet again, you don’t have to spend time in building a momentum but you already are at a place from where you might be able to just refine your idea and work on it further.

Screenplay requires screen time:

Watching other plays and movies is a great way to jump into the land of creativity. You can always look into other projects and find something that inspires you. It could be something that is not noticeable at all in that piece and can be your lead for something amazing.

You could also watch some greatest movies of all times and can draw inspiration from them. Appreciation for other person’s work is a great way to trigger your brain and push you forward into producing exceptional work.

Watching your favorite movie or TV show is also one of the ways to relax yourself and find something new that you haven’t noticed before. Your favorites could also give you a lead.

Watching something is not only a good way to produce ideas for writing but could also be a good inspiration for finding characters, locations and sometimes actions.

Things to Remember While Researching for Your Screenplay

Better screenplay ideas

Things to Remember While Researching for Your Screenplay

Pro Tip: Start with a logline

We get a lot of screenplay ideas in a day but some ideas are not easy to write on, they could be complex, have a lot of history attached to them or we might not have any knowledge on the topic but just passionately feel about it. In such case, it gets difficult writing screenplay dialogues or just penning down the whole concept. For example I might feel inspired by the personality of Winston Churchill and would also want to write a story on him but I don’t know a lot about Churchill, extensive research would be required if I intend to draft a story based on this particular character.

Researching on a topic is an art too, surfing a few screenplay website or history articles only won’t be counted as authentic research. On the contrary one has to spend hours reading, collecting and dissecting material. There are multiple ways to conduct a comprehensive research and there are multiple platforms as well. It is upon a screenplay writer to decide which medium he wants to choose and in which manner he wants to use it. At the end of the day, the goal should be to craft a well-researched character and story, something which is based on facts rather than mere opinions.

What are some of the essential that you need to remember in all cases while doing research for your next screenplay? Well, here are a few pro tips.

1. It’s not JUST about collecting facts

A lot of writers assume that they just need to collect the correct facts if they are writing a screenplay on a historical or mythological character. Writers participating in a screenplay writing contest often choose to collect facts quickly and craft a story around them because they are short on time. This could turn out to be a grave mistake. Merely collecting facts will never make your storytelling interesting. Let’s take the example of a writer who wants to draft a story on the after math of World War 1. Just collecting facts around World War 1 such as when did it happen, how many people died, how many families were separated etc. will not make a strong story. Don’t people have enough information on this already?

If you have attended any screenplay exercises then you must be familiar with a fact that a key to writing a good screenplay is to establish an emotional connectivity with audiences. Presenting facts in a chronological order is highly boring and nobody will watch such a film therefore while researching don’t just look into the facts but understand the context, character and the environment. If you are writing a story on a certain character then explore aspects which have not been known before, this will intrigue the audience.

2. Avoid adaptation unless you have the rights

Screenplay writers read a lot of books and some books are so good that you immediately want to adapt those and make it into a film. What writers tend to forget is whether they have the copyrights with them or not. Never jump into something without getting copyrights. Conduct your research after you have acquired the rights otherwise all your hard work will go down the drain.

Many books offer exclusive rights and there could be a lot of trouble if you adapt them without acquiring proper rights. Biographies are a tricky area so be particularly careful with them.

3. Organization is key

If you want the process of research to be a swift one then one easy way is to be organized. Make sure that the information is correctly segmented, there are separate files made for each chapter or each aspect. For example character traits could be one file, order of events could be other, and personal life could be another. The more organized you are while conducting your research, the easier it will for you to incorporate your research into your work. If you have written messy notes in an old notebook which even you can’t find later then you shall be wasting your effort. Organizing information is key! If you are tech savvy then you can even use some apps in your mobile to sort out the information. This way your research will be with you round the clock.

The important thing is that how relevant your information is, you can do all the research in the world but if the information you collect is not relevant then you might not be able to write a strong story.

4. Don’t undermine research

Don’t ever think that you can get away without doing research, no matter what you are writing, collecting some background information is always helpful. It opens up your horizons and makes you realize about some of the mistakes you could have conducted, at a very early stage. Most of the research you do helps you to define subtle elements of your characters and plotline. One can easily differentiate between a well-researched script and poorly researched script because the command over a particular subject is very easily visible to the audiences. Remember, you cannot fool the audiences.

5. Your story should not be driven by research, it should be backed by research

Writers often fall into a trap and that is they center their story on the research instead of just using the research smartly to strengthen their narrative.

A film is a complete experience and nobody goes to the cinema to read a history book, they go there to have a fulfilling experience. If your screenplay is purely based on research and you have forgotten to develop an attractive narrative then your screenplay is not fit for a film. Remember research is done to add strength to the script; the whole script cannot be solely based on research work! A good screenplay needs to have a lot of layers and nuances so that it appeals to people!

Hopefully, now the process of research will be a swift drive for all of you!