Familiar, but different.
That’s what we’re told Hollywood wants. But the more I read the loglines or concepts of spec scripts that sell, there sure seems to be a lot more ‘familiar’ and a lot less ‘different.’
I mean, how many stories of an aging hitman/cop/gangster out for revenge or to settle one last score do we really need? Or a family/child terrorized/haunted by demons/evil spirits? Or a career-focused woman who would gladly throw it all away for a shot at true love? Or a man-child acting unrealistically outrageous?
And let’s not even get started on the Tarantino ripoffs. There’s only one of him, so stop trying to write like him. Please.
Every so often, something truly original will come along and capture the public’s attention. It’s labeled a success, and before you know it – BOOM. A deluge of poorly-written, second-rate copycats.
Thus the challenge all of us are facing – write something original. Something they’ve never seen before. Sure, you can incorporate familiar elements, but the tough part is putting your own spin on them.
I strive to write stories that are different. I want you to remember my script because of it’s originality (as well as being extremely well-written and entertaining, but those go without saying).
Take a good, hard look at your story. What makes it really stand out from the rest? If you can’t easily answer this question, then you’ve got some editing and rewriting to do.
Remember, it’s you versus every other screenwriter out there busting their ass just as hard as you to succeed. Harder, even.
I’m in. Are you?