Screenwriting is one of the most under appreciated aspects of the film industry. Many people don’t realize the immense task it takes to commit to write and actually churn out a great screenplay or the emotional and psychological commitment. A lot of people just assume it’s thinking up a story and just throwing words, scenes and dialogue on paper till it reaches 90 or 120 pages. Perhaps that’s why we see a lot of derivative, cliché , contrived and outright appalling things on-screen at times.
A screenplay is like a blueprint. You hire a trained architect to come up with a blueprint. He takes time to design the building(story) , taking into cognisance , structure, shape, durability, resistance and other factors. After the blue print is done, many people will from the blue print to bring that building to life. Same for a screenplay. The Director, Cinematographer,Art Director, Costumer, Hair&Make up department and so many others take guidance from the world the script has created.
So im always baffled when people take a cavalier attitude towards it, and think they can just jump into it without learning the principles, the rules and the craft of creating a screenplay, that wont collapse on its self. I still don’t understand how some producers give a writer an idea on Monday and expect a completed feature screenplay 7-14 days later. Would anyone expect a novelist to churn out a book at that same time?
IMO, the writing team of Simon Pegg an Edgar Wright , that brought us SHAUN OF THE DEAD and HOT FUZZ are amongst the best duo in around right now, (right up there with Monty Python). For each collaboration, they go to a secluded area for a few weeks, where they have no phones or email to distract, and they have a writing/story conference,; where they knock out an outline for how their screenplay is going to work.
From the results of the three films, it’s evident that this meticulous planning worked, cos those films are AWESOME.
This is the outline for their latest film THE WORLD’S END