Zeitgeist. It’s an odd sounding German word. It literally means “ghost” of the “times”. It refers to what is in the air – what people are thinking about socially, politically, economically. Think about (even relatively) recent events in the news: Kate Middleton is expecting a baby. Sandy Hook brought gun control to the political fore in the US. Pussy Riot is still in prison. The singularity approaches. No doubt the new iPhone is in the works. Mali is in trouble. Gangnam Style is out, the Harlem Shake is in.
So – is your script in step with these things? Well, if you are writing a historical drama, who cares, right? But if you are writing a romcom or just about another genre, it matters. For example, if you are writing an action thriller and the bad guys are Russians – you’re pretty out of synch. Or maybe not – Russians may just have cycled right back into our consciousness. But you get my drift.
Take a minute to jot down what you think the current zeitgeist is. If you feel clueless, just take a look at your Facebook page. What are people talking about, primarily? What is coming up politically, what are the funny videos? Also, watch the news. What is going on internationally? Make sure that you double-check to make sure that your script is up with the times – if not a step or two ahead of it.