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I've got a really good idea for a film (part 2)

I run a filmmaker's website and most of the queries I get about screenwriting (or even filmmaking) amount to roughly the same thing . . . "I have a really good idea for a screenplay". It's not what I want to hear because I know myself, in the early days, I said exactly the same thing - and often. I now know that basically - it's meaningless warm air.

I dread the day someone tells me their idea and it's a good one and I go away and write it down - legally claiming all copyright to an idea they may have had in their family for generations. That's right. Your idea is only legally an idea if it is written. Of course, I wouldn't take someone's idea like that - not without telling them. But legally, I would be well within my rights. After all, I have reams and reams of evidence to say that I write screenplays. And for every screenwriter, life is research. Conversations are the best research.

The "I have a really great idea for a film" statement requires greater scrutiny. It's a statement not without merit. Indeed (but highly doubtfully) it may even be true. It's probably driven by a burning need to do something. Or at least, the need to be seen by others to do be doing something. And there's something in that. Sometimes it is good to be seen to be doing something - even if you're not doing anything. Especially by the right people; investors, clients, society in general. People feel accepted when they are seen to be doing something. It does something for the confidence.

The actual process of writing is long and arduous and often boring. By the time you've written a screenplay 15 or so times (like we have) you're a little bit over the "I've got a really good idea for a film". Getting someone to read your 100+ page manuscript is a Kafka-esque trial in itself.

I've just uploaded the website for The Last Train to Freo. The crew and cast are all panicking and I can feel their excitement as we approach September 14th (release date). And somehow I feel a part of that - because I'm their web guy. They don't know that I'm also a writer / filmmaker. As the web guy, I get to talk and deal with all the distributors and all the important film people. Directors, investors etc.

I feel like a guy who has a really great idea and just has to let it out - probably to the most inappropriate person in the chain of command. Like I've got a scrunched up piece of tissue-paper in my back pocket with a script idea on it and I've got butterflies in my pocket because I'm about to do an impromptu pitch. How great would it be if I gave my pitch right over the phone during a file upload? To the new marketing girl - or even the secretary at Dendy Films.

That would be wrong, readers. Very very wrong.

Don't perform your idea, write it.

Pitching is the thing you do after the film is written. Indeed, some kids these days go straight into production on the computers in their own bedrooms. But there's a lot to be said about that and I don't have the time here.

I have to go. I feel anxious.

I'm about to do something towards my next screenplay . . .

Right now, it's just a really great idea.


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