Welcome to the twentieth of our Creative Challenges. In our fourth week of Creative Challenges, we’re exploring the nature of profitability for screenplay writing: WriteMovies’ 100-Day Creative Challenge 20 is about how to work with top talent, and what they need or demand from you.
Guidance: For the next 20 minutes, use whatever method you like – thoughts and ideas, mind maps, diagrams or sketches, a sample of script, prose, poetry – as you prepare a creative piece, about:
A megastar who everyone wants to work with.
- As you work through this task, you might also consider how this activity relates to how to work with top talent, and what they need or demand from you.
- Save or photograph your work as a document called “100DayCC20”. Then reflect on this experience and what it has taught you about you and your writing: what comes naturally to you, which aspects were easy and difficult, and the subjects, angles and attitudes that you like to focus your writing on.
- Share online if you like using the hashtag #100DayCC20 to compare to other people’s experiences and support each other, or submit to our Academy Lite if you’re a subscriber!
When you complete the Challenge – or if you get completely stuck – then look at the Feedback below!
Stars cost a lot of money, and bring a lot of other baggage and requirements too. And yet productions are almost always sold to audiences based on their stars, not their writer; even the director gets a more limited profile. Why? Because it’s the actors who we experience the story through – and who we therefore associate the most directly with that story and how it made us feel. No wonder star actors cost so much money – they bring a guaranteed audience with them, thanks to that factor.
Steven Knight (PEAKY BLINDERS, TABOO, THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB, BURNT, LOCKE, DIRTY PRETTY THINGS…) told me and some colleagues once that when they trust you enough, executives are happy to give you $5m for a low-budget movie and creative freedom to deliver it your way. $5m for backing a proven writer/producer with a star attached, makes a low risk, high-reward investment to these guys… he told us that his Jason Statham movie REDEMPTION (aka HUMMINGBIRD) was in profit before it was even shot, thanks to an advance distribution deal (“we already know that if it’s a Jason Statham movie, we can sell it for $xx million”).
Of course, new stars are being made all the time, and other stars are falling from grace. But everyone wants a role that will take them in the right direction for the future. You have to build desirable and charismatic roles for all of your leading cast – and try to give those traits to your supporting characters and bit-parts too, to elevate every aspect of your storytelling.
General tips and feedback:
Many writers, naturally, don’t find it easy to be creative ‘on tap’ – especially for work that they didn’t set themselves. But to write professionally, you will usually need to meet deadlines and requirements, that can’t be put off, for briefs you didn’t choose for yourself: even if you’re ill or feeling down, you’ll usually have to just find a way through, and get the results that are needed, to the quality that’s necessary. So the WriteMovies Creative Challenges are designed to help you find ways around the crucial issues of ‘block’.
We do this by setting a (deceptively!) simple brief, and encouraging you to use a variety of methods, approaches and creative products in order to find ways around it, and generate some kind of outcomes that might be useful to you in the future. Whatever state your mind and mood are in – energetic or tired, stimulated or bored, motivated or disengaged, etc – there are different ‘modes’ of creative productivity which you can engage, to make the best of it: editing your work if you can’t write, making notes if you can’t generate script, etc. Try a mix of methods to make the most of activities such as the Creative Challenges, especially anytime you get stuck: just keep adding notes, sketches etc freely, you can decide later whether any of them are useful! Also note that the brief is to ‘prepare’ a creative work – not to actually make it straight away, before you feel ready to! But if you’ve come away from this with a passage of prose or script or even poetry, well done!
Hopefully this activity will have shown you the potential value of our Creative Challenges, and the benefits of making a routine to complete them, and persisting with it day by day to gradually improve all aspects of your writing and to develop solutions to ‘block’, that you will become more and more proficient with over time. We recommend that you commit to fulfilling the 100-Day Creative Challenges, sharing your outputs to gain the support and feedback of other writers working on the same activities, and if you’d like expert daily feedback from us on this and much more, additional material, subscribe to the WriteMovies Academy Lite now!