Do you want to write a great script? Listen to Christopher Nolan.
Christopher Nolan has been making films for almost 25 years. Over those two decades we’ve seen him deconstruct genres, think outside the box, and give us some of the funniest and most epic titles Hollywood has ever seen.
With that in mind, he’s obviously someone who can teach us a lot about filmmaking, screenwriting, and storytelling.
Check out these scriptwriting tips from Outstanding scripts, and let’s talk after the jump.
10 tips for screenwriting from Christopher Nolan
1. Do something you believe in rather than what others want.
It’s easy to get bogged down with the trends in Hollywood, but the best job is writing specs that come up with ideas that you believe in, rather than those that you think are trending what people do to buy.
Write what inspires you!
2. Find out what interests you and present it in a way that is interesting to the audience
Writing is a personal journey that you happen to take other people with you.
When I am trying to come up with a script idea, I like to think about what I am dealing with in life and how to thoroughly analyze this situation. Force yourself to face what you fear and what you think others may sympathize with.
3. Add multiple layers.
Stories are not just the plot we see on the surface, but the issues we see beneath the surface.
What’s really wrong with your characters? What wisdom do you need to convey to the audience? Get another level in your writing.
4. Approach the structure mathematically with diagrams.
While writing is an art form, some math can go into building the structure.
Perhaps you are looking for specific beats at specific page markers, or just seeing the foundation on which to build, or approach things with an analytical mind.
5. Start yourself asap. Grow your projects and never stop.
Every time you sit down to write, you get better. They hone skills that will take you to the next level.
So sit down as often as possible. You can only build on what you have learned so far.
6. Make a movie that you want to see for yourself.
Write your idea based on why you would go to the theater. Chances are that others are just like you and want to get involved. If you are working for yourself, it is your responsibility to make the idea as good as possible.
7. Learn a little about all aspects of filmmaking.
You might just want to become a writer, cameraman, or director, but getting to know every job on the set will not only make you appreciate the work, but also change the way you write or block a scene on the page. Empathizing with other perspectives can only deepen your understanding of the medium.
8. Write about what inspires you.
What inspires you We’ve talked a lot about coming up with ideas and pursuing what stories mean to you. I won’t go into the point any further, but you need to create pages that will get you up in the morning and move on.
Try a Le menu if not already done.
9. Have a new project ready when asked what you want to do next.
So much of this business is that people like one thing and then wonder what’s next. Have “what’s next” ready. A great spec can open many doors, but it may not sell.
If you have another script ready, you can take advantage of the heat right now.
10. Take your favorite genre, add new elements and turn it upside down.
There are many different genres in screenwriting. All of them could use a little twist in them.
Think of a genre that you love and something new to make you think of. How can you surprise the audience and turn old, tired tropes upside down? Attack these genres and bring something unique to the party.