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Welcome to the thirty-fourth of our Creative Challenges. We’re focusing on ways to blend originality with commercial viability and production risk management in our seventh week of Creative Challenges: WriteMovies’ 100-Day Creative Challenge 34 is about ‘cultural real estate’ for writers.

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 story about a real event or place that most people have heard of – but which nobody has made a major film or TV series about.

  • As you work through this task, you might also consider how this activity relates to ‘cultural real estate’ for writers.
  • Save or photograph your work as a document called “100DayCC34”. 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 #100DayCC34 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!


Feedback:

When most people have heard of something or someone, but nobody’s made a major production about it in recent decades, the result is ‘cultural real estate’. If you can stake a claim to that territory before anyone else, with a compelling concept that is production-viable and potentially profitable, then this can be a big draw to audiences and therefore producers and commissioners.

Examples: TITANIC, HOTEL RWANDA, SEVEN YEARS A SLAVE, RAY, REMAINS OF THE DAY and most other biopics…

Make clear what genre you’re pitching it as. For biopics, it’s usually best to focus on key moments in the subject’s life, not ‘cradle to grave’ tedium, and try to show us what makes that person the way they are, not giving us some saintly vision that doesn’t actually teach us anything about how we could be like that person ourselves.

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!

Go to the 100-Day Creative Challenge homepage HERE, to access further Challenges! Use our hashtag #100DayCC on your social media to discuss the Challenges more generally!

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