Original Creative Writing: Screenplays

By Matt Vicker

Last night was the Oscars, which, had it been on at a reasonable UK-friendly time, I would have watched closely, but it wasn’t, so I didn’t. Reading the results, I was incredibly pleased to find out that Spike Jonze film, Her, was awarded ‘Best Original Screenplay’. It personally has been the best all-round film I have seen in a long time. But this got me thinking, how hard is it to write a successful, original screenplay? Although there were some great films in the category this year (American Hustle, Blue Jasmine, Dallas Buyers Club and Nebraska) it is seemingly much easier to adapt an existing concept. Films in the ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ were; 12 Years a Slave, Before Midnight, Captain Phillips, Philomena and The Wolf of Wall Street – arguably ‘bigger’ films that the original ones. Although I do love sequels, prequels, book-adaptations (sometimes) and the occasional re-boot, if something is distinctly original, it will catch my attention.

Writing a screenplay is something that I would love to do, but I imagine it would be quite time-consuming and likely to induce mental-blocks. i don’t know about you, but I find I get random spurts of inspiration to write at odd times of the day. A top tip for anyone who gets good ideas and then forgets them – get a small notebook to carry about with you and note down things that pop into your head. I have one. It’s at home on my desk somewhere… But I’m sure you are a much better-motivated person than me (I can pretty much guarantee that even without knowing you personally) so give it a go and see how you get on!

Budding writers among you, I would like to employ you (figuratively, of course, I’m not literally going to employ all of you) to write a treatment of a film or just a concept, in order to get your creative juices flowing before the end of the year. If you have a bright, original and unique idea, get it out there – you might be on to something! If you win ‘Best Original Screenplay’ in the next few years, be sure to thank me in your acceptance speech!

Embrace your creative side!



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