Great Ideas Don’t Make Great Movies – Guido Segal

Guido Segal, Screenwriter, Journalist, Film Critic, Instructor: Great ideas don’t make great movies. They can help but great movies need events and conflict and characters.

Film Courage: What’s your writing process?

Guido: My writing process starts off with procrastination and I’ve got to say this because every writer does it and it’s terrible, I don’t recommend it. But let’s be honest, writing starts off with an idea and you get excited about this idea and you have to write it down. Again I’m talking about writing on spec. It’s very different if you’re coming in to write something or if there’s a pre-existing…let’s start off with writing on spec and I’ll answer the question separately if I’m writing based on someone else’s material. If it’s my own script there’s an idea and I’m very excited about it and I need to write it down and I need to capture it as best as I can. Usually it might be on my computer or might be just hand written and I’ll take a notebook and I’ll start writing. Of course I’m very satisfied with that but then you realize Okay, this idea is not the story. Everyone has a great idea but then you have to break it down into characters and beats and it’s so much more complex. Of course it will change because great ideas don’t make great movies. They can help but great movies need events and conflict and characters and so on. At some point you start breaking down a story, you get very frustrated because now it’s real. Ideas are up there flying in the air but then you’re breaking it down and now it’s gotten real. You start breaking it down and you explore characters separately and if some people do backstory I discover backstory as I go along. Some people start off from theme. I love theme by the way. It’s something I think about. I think of theme as a question. Some people will use words like…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).


Guido Segal was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Before moving to Los Angeles to pursue his  MFA in Screenwriting at UCLA, he was a journalist and a film critic, selected as a Juror at la Semaine de la Critique, during the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. Segal has worked as a documentary filmmaker for History and Discovery Channel covering political topics (Asylum Seekers; Sicarios). He also has vast experience as an assistant director and screenwriter for films and TV. Segal co-wrote the Argentinian films Leones (2012) and Kékzsakállú (2016). He was also staffed as a TV writer in three shows: Un Año Para Recordar (2011-2012); La Asombrosa Excursión de Zamba (2014-2016); and Siesta Z (2016). The last two animated shows were nominated for International Emmy Awards in the Kids category. Segal has lived in Argentina, Spain and Finland, and taught Screenwriting and Film Analysis in Universidad del Cine (Buenos Aires), Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona), TAMK University (Tampere, Finland) and UCLA. 






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