BY: JOE BERKOWITZ (excerpt)
You may recognize Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant from “Reno 911,” which they created and starred in. What you probably don’t know is that their movies have grossed over a billion dollars at the box office. Here, their tips for writing a movie that sells.
Every day dozens of novice screenwriters are born, ideals fully intact. They carry visions of the ultimate cinematic experience, along with their laptops, into Starbucks to pour ideas onto the page. Almost all of them are doomed to fail. Not for the reasons you might think, though....
FORMULA IS YOUR FRIEND
Garant: "You have to be incredibly original in your idea for the movie, but the formula needs to be a movie formula. You have to think of a movie that the trailer will explain in 30 seconds, and movies like that all have the same structure."
Lennon: "Ben came up with a pretty simple way to express it: You take a guy and put him up in a tree, then you throw rocks at him, and then you get him down from the tree. Die Hard, The Matrix, Casablanca: all of these movies have heroes pulled into a situation against their will, who then end up winning. That’s structure. It can be liberating, though, because following structure gives you less to have to worry about."...
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