By knowing about films with relation to The Industry I mean getting your head (and keeping your head) focused on what is happening on the front line. What's hot? What's not? Where are people, real people, handing over hard earned cash to see silly stories. And why? Some people have misinterpreted this as advice to write only what is selling - to write for the box office.
This isn't what I mean at all. You may want to go that way. And hey - blocks always need busting buster!
Instead what I mean is - know your cinema onions. What are the trends in the business? What sort or stories and characters are catching people's attention. As (ongoing) students of story that should be of interest to us anyway. But this piece of advice has a practical purpose as well. It let's you know which of your current projects on the backburner should be now on the front burner. It lets you know what films are 'hot' that you can compare yours to in a pitch. Do you still want to call it a Woody Allen style comedy in front of producers if you look at his Box Office figures of his last few films? And maybe, like me, you look to trends to see what is unpopular - so you can fill the gap and offer something different.
For all those reasons it is sensible to have a rough knowledge of trends. How do you get that knowledge?
1 - standard magazine like Empire
2 - 'proper' publications like Screen International
3 - IMDBs BO page.
So keep an eye on the cash - and be a head-in-the-sand writer no longer!
New to this diagram?
What is it? - How do I get a copy? - Read from the beginning on the blog.
The Scriptwriter's Life diagram is by Tim Clague from a joint venture by Projector Films, South West Screen & MartonHouse.
The diagram can be used by anyone and is under a Creative Commons License.
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