So you wanna create movie magic? I guess that’s what we all set out to do in the beginning, but unfortunately only a minority ever make it to the big time. There’s no simple answer when it comes down to what makes a great movie magic screenwriter. It’s some sort of divine spark that some have and some haven’t.
I don’t know what’s more difficult; adapting an existing novel to the screen, or writing something totally new. Actually, I do know; they’re both as hard as hell. In one instance you’re taking an existing story that is already written with characters, a plot, and scenes that the author has already created. But when it comes down to the crunch, new or old, you’re still the movie magic screenwriter whose job it is to bring the story to full, believable life on the screen.
It doesn’t matter what environment you are trying to paint. One of the golden rules for the movie magic screenwriter, (and we’re talking about big nuggets here); you must know your subject matter. Explore it; look at it from the outside, from the inside, from on top, from underneath; from every which way but loose. Remember that you are painting the picture. You can’t expect to paint a realistic picture that the audience can feel is authentic and they equate with, unless you believe it first, and to do that you’ve got to know it inside out.
The same goes for the characters. Okay, so the actors have to take a teensy-weensy bit of credit here too; but in order for those characters to be believable, they’ve got to say believable things. You’d be gob smacked at how many lines just don’t really ring true. As with your scene, a good movie magic screenwriter has to get to get inside his/her characters too; get to know them as well as you know yourself. To do that well, you can write a mini autobiography of each character, and that way you’ll know what they’re likely to spout forth, and how they’re likely to react in any given situation. Realism – that’s the name of the game.
The other super nugget size golden truth for the wannabe move magic screenwriter, is read, re-read, read again, and then…… yep, you’ve got it! – read it yet again. It’s all too easy when you’re writing in full flow, the juices are running and you’ve got the bit between your teeth, and sometimes your pen, (hey, we’re back in the days of quill and parchment!), or rather your keyboard, gets a life of its own and you write gibberish. It sounds great at the time, but when you revisit it sometime later – oh lordie, lordie, it just doesn’t work; worse still, it might not even make sense. You can never read your work enough.
Lastly, if you’re going to be a magic movie screenwriter, you’ve first got to become your own worst critic. If you do get your screenplay in front of the right pair of eyes, you want to make double sure it’s as near perfect as it’s ever going to be. You only get the one chance, so don’t fluff it! When you read your work, don’t just clap yourself on the back and congratulate yourself as to what a great chap or chapess you are – critique your work. Look for the errors. Look for the out of place or the non-believable. It’s almost certainly there somewhere, so find it before somebody else does.
No one said it was going to be easy. Being a great movie magic screenwriter is about as tough as it gets. But the rewards are worth it for those who make it. Good luck!