First, let me say, I love your blog! I’m making my way through the archives, and it’s worth more than many of my screenwriting classes! Second, I was wondering if you could share what studios/producers are looking for right now. For example, I’ve heard comedies are currently more popular than dramas because people want to laugh in the current economic climate.
If someone was looking to break in, what type of script would be more commercially viable? Or is the important thing to tell an interesting story well, no matter what it’s about?
Thanks for taking the time to read my question, and I look forward to your response (when you have time)!
Thank you for such a kind email! (check it out, guys!)
Your question is a good one and when you find out the answer, let me know. I kid. Sort of. Everybody would love to have the answer to this question, most notably every single executive, producer and agent in Hollywood and their brother. Yes, I have also heard that during these tough times, audiences do gravitate toward comedy, but I wouldn’t use that as a strategy for my writing. Your second sentiment is correct: An interesting story, well told is the brass ring. As Omar Khayyam said: “The moving finger writes; and having writ, moves on…” – wait, no, Omar Bradley said: “Set your course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship.”
That about sums it up, Deb. If anyone in Hollywood knew what would make a hit movie, all movies would be hits. Nobody knows. Write what you love to write. If you love comedy, write that. Write the best, most unique, hilarious comedy you can. But if you really love thriller or sci-fi or action – write that. Writers looking to break in simply need to have VOICE and TALENT evident on the page. Easy, right? Wrong. But that’s not the point I’m trying to make. You just cannot chase what you think might be popular as a way to break in. You’ll chase your own tail like a cheeky monkey and eventually collapse in exhaustion and disillusionment.
Write what YOU love – that is really, truly, madly, deeply the best advice I could give any writer, anywhere, writing anything. Otherwise, what’s the point? Write because you love to write. And if you play your cards right, you might just make a career out of it. But stay true to yourself and to your writing first and foremost. You can sell out to the wiley, witchy beeyotch we call Hollywood later on, when you’re established and can afford therapy, a masseuse and expensive Kentucky bourbon in which to drown your existential sorrows.