Film Courage: Why do you say that most movie ideas are very simple?
Naomi Beaty, Writer, Screenwriting Teacher and Consultant: I think movies tend to be based on really simple stories. One of the things that newer writers can end up doing without realizing it is overcomplicating their stories because they feel like especially if they start writing without a solid outline and they get stuck they feel like Oh, I have to add more complications to give me more story to write and they’ll end up making things overly complex. Where the movies that we tend to see are pretty straightforward stories, they’re concise and set up some good escalations in the middle and then wrap it up in the end. It’s the execution that makes things entertaining and interesting. It’s not that we need very complex stories in movies. A lot of times overly complex stories will be hard to follow, a little bit bloated, it’ll be hard to go deep in a character’s experience in a story that has too many complications or too many characters. Whereas typically in movies what we see is one person pursuing one thing and what’s interesting or entertaining about it is the way that is executed. The interesting, cinematic, cool stuff that happens along that journey which is actually a pretty simple journey allows us the space to dive into how that character is transforming, the emotional experience of it and the cool cinematic stuff that happens along the way.
Film Courage: Does a simple idea mean a boring screenplay?
Naomi: No, I don’t think so. I think if you look at most movies it’s actually a very simple storyline. It’s pretty straightforward, one person trying to achieve one thing. I think a lot of times newer writers worry that their stories are…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
Naomi Beaty is a writer, screenwriting teacher, consultant and owner of WRITE+CO., along with the author of LOGLINE SHORTCUTS: Unlock Your Story And Pitch Your Screenplay In One Simple Sentence and THE SCREENPLAY OUTLINE WORKBOOK: A step-by-step guide to brainstorm ideas, structure your story, and prepare to write your best screenplay.
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