Script Development – a development exec’s point of view:
“One of the things I’ve learned is that it’s really about the concept. Other things may change dramatically, but the idea always remains the same. So the job is about finding that really unique idea…and finding the right way to grow the idea into a film. When the writer is able to turn the idea into a blueprint for a movie, it’s electrifying…
You want to hire writers who bring a unique, distinctive voice to the material – a certain flair, a certain élan. There are so many aspects of writing a screenplay, from dialogue to action to atmosphere to structure. There are a million things, and a writer might be good at 40, 60, 70 percent of them. Very few people are good at all of them, and those guys work all the time.
We’re looking for a writer to come in and say, ‘I know what the movie is’… Would we hire a brand-new writer to rewrite [a franchise sequel]? Most likely not. But to find the next idea that we’re going to develop into a big movie – that’s where new writers have their opportunity.
If you’re a writer, you should know your strengths and weaknesses. There are some writers who are very good at coming up with ideas, but they can’t execute them. There are people who can execute other people’s ideas, but they’re not good at coming up with movie ideas. There are some writers who are very good at adaptations, but are terrible at original concepts. Then there are the closers. They’re your insurance, and they get paid an enormous amount of money.”
Excerpted with quotes from Charles Vignola
Tales from the Script (2010)
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