The current work slate involves a few story ideas, a fair mix of new and old, and all of them appeal to me as far as being “I’d want to see this” and “that sounds like fun” types of material.
As they should.
But it’s easy to forget that while you may be crazy about your story and totally get it, others might need a little more convincing.
It’s one thing to have a built-in audience already clamoring for your material, but what about trying to appeal to everybody else?
That can be a little tricky, but it’s not totally impossible.
This line of thinking reminded me of a post I wrote a little over two years ago, and I believe it’s still relevant.
“As you work your way through the various stages of assembling your story, how much do you take the audience’s needs and wants into account?
You’re obviously writing something you would want to see, but do you ever consider the viewing tastes of someone who’s not like you whatsoever?
While I may write high-concept tales of adventure that would definitely appeal to 12-year-old me, it’s also my objective to try to craft those stories in such a way so they could entertain anybody of any age.
(Strong examples of this kind of storytelling? Most of the Pixar catalog.)
Here are just a few things to take into consideration:
-Are you treating the reader/audience the way they should be treated? Which means with intelligence. I’ve always hated when a story feels dumbed down, and suspect most other moviegoers do as well.
-That being said, is your story simple enough to the point that anybody could understand what’s going on, or at least have a general understanding of it?
-Regardless of what genre your story falls into, how much are you taking advantage of the elements of that genre? Since you’re most likely already a fan and probably have a good idea of what’s expected, this is your golden opportunity to show the rest of us what’s so appealing about it. Play on those strengths.
-With modern audiences more knowledgeable and movie-savvy than most writers realize, it’s more important than ever to come up with material that’s really new and original. What is it about your story that really sets it apart? What can you offer that we haven’t seen before?
As we start with an idea, develop it into a story that will eventually end up as a script, a lot of us daydream about the resulting movie, and how totally awesome it would be for it to be a big hit.
We can just picture the tremendous box office, rave reviews, non-stop awards, a king’s ransom of a paycheck, being begged to pick from a smorgasbord of new projects, all stemming from this story we cranked out with our own little hands, now practically guaranteed a place in the pantheon of pop culture.
“Everybody’s going to love it!” you imagine.
The reality is – they’re not, and a lot of that stuff won’t happen. But don’t let that stop you from trying.
The best we can do is write a solid, entertaining story populated with interesting characters who find themselves in unique situations, and hope people like it.”
One thought on “Big net still at the ready”
I think it’s important to make a distinction between ‘The Audience’ and ‘The Market’.
Let me elaborate. ‘The Audience’ are those people who sit in the dark and watch it. Maybe at home. Maybe in an independent cinema. Hopefully in a Megaplex. I think your post is addressing ‘The Audience’ … for the most part. And it’s all valid concerns.
But you’re also writing for ‘The Market’ – and that’s a different target. It filters into your choices. “I have a GREAT IDEA FOR A VAST EPIC TIME TRAVEL SPACE OPERA.” which will cost many many millions to make. vs “It seems to me, there’s a solid market for small intimate scripts that take place in two or three locations…” Within that market – can I find my groove? Comedy, RomCom, SciFi, Thriller. Can you shape your vision – to fit THAT market? Because unless you’re self producing – the producer’s are going to the gatekeepers to your idea.
Just another take on how to shape your concept. Once you’re on fire for an idea – consider not just the Audience – but the market for your particular idea.