Screenwriters : Are there too many screenwriters that stick to formulas?

Are there too many screenwriters that stick to formulas?

It seems very typical, especially for beginning screenwriters that want their work produced, that they mostly focus on sticking to formulas as much as possible instead of creating new stories and characters.

When I write a story I just write it in the way that my mind conjures it up. I see so many writers that are obsessed with what story point must occur on a certain page, they seem more focused on the established structure from other movies instead of letting their story grow freely in it's own direction.

I guess what I am trying to say is that more writers should try following the story ideas instead of whatever movie was popular in the past.

Re: Are there too many screenwriters that stick to formulas?

I would not say there is a "formula" as much as there is a storytelling "form" out there. In my experience as an aspiring screenwriter, not enough people know the proper storytelling form that their scrips end up being not very good, such common errors as: story taking way too long to get really started, lacking motivation, too much random events that do not string together, and so on. Many also suffer greatly from not knowing a way of blending together Lines of Action in a progressive consolidation to the climax, hence a common thing I get is "I'm at page 66, and I'm a scene away from my climax!"

Mind you though,, most people pick up a screenwriting book and stop there, or even finish it and think they are ready to compete in the active market... It makes time to really get a grasp on it through trial and error and critical feedback. Once one gets good at it, they can mesh out a story without worrying about Beats as it is gets ingrained into them. It is an overall storytelling form that has been around for thousands of years...The wheel isnt being reinvented by anyone, it is just made in such a cleaver and creative way that it appears that it is being reinvented.

Like the first reaponder above posted,, yes once you are established, you can get away with what you'd like more so.. But it should be interesting to note that those who have the popular belief of "breaking the rules" do not really do so, the likes of Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, James Cameron, and so on, most of their scripts hit pretty close.

Re: Are there too many screenwriters that stick to formulas?

Well, familiar sells and that's how most writers stay in business. Yes, there should be more risks but the fact is, film and TV are a job like any other, and with that comes certain strings.

Plus, formula in and of itself doesn't negate imagination, just provides a platform. Films like say Hot Fuzz or Guardians of the Galaxy aren't drastically altering screenwriting principles, but rather its the quality and spark of the writing that gives them their unique flavour and makes them stand out.

Re: Are there too many screenwriters that stick to formulas?

I agree. Formula isn't necessarily a bad thing. Buildings need to be structurally sound or they fall down. Ditto a story for screen.

It's about respecting the art form and providing the collaborators, investors and audience with what they need, want and expect.

If you want to be a rebel, maybe an expensive medium like film ain't the best place to be kicking shins.

Re: Are there too many screenwriters that stick to formulas?

Stories are a little less tangible than buildings.

I think there are two immutable rules when it comes to storytelling. And I feel like they only exist because they are the defining characteristics of a story.

1. Don't be boring - which just means create conflict

2. Tie it all together - which is pretty self explanatory.

Without conflict you have static. And without cohesion a story lacks purpose. If everything logically flows into the next seamlessly, then people will go with you no matter what.

Re: Are there too many screenwriters that stick to formulas?

Has anyone used IMDB to get a movie made or sold? I am swallowing my

pride and have decided to start begging for someone to notice my work

- I hear it is rather good!!

Formulas suck - especially comedies, so predictable, what's funny about that???