We are looking for screenplays that have the following guidelines because our research has indicated that such have a certain market potential at this time. Many of the below points have been extrapolated from our past productions so that we have a better idea of the future costs of production. Screenplays that fall within these guidelines will make it easier for us to finance 35mm and Super 16mm motion features at the medium and low budget levels. Our current priorities will change from time to time with market conditions.
It is easy to spend a lot of money making a movie, but it takes extra talent, efficiency and creativity to create a show that is successful with modest amounts of financing.
Obviously there are no hard and fast rules, but the following will hopefully be useful in identifying the screenplays we are currently looking for. Thank you for your help.
o Excellent title that has not already been exploited. Sometimes titles need to be keep secret as titles cannot be copyrighted.
o A "high concept" that has not been exploited, sells the show more often than not. If it cannot be summarized as to "what it's about" in one or two lines - it MAY NOT be high enough concept to consider. Word-of-mouth takes people to the movies. Word-of-mouth is usually a line or two that generates interest.
o Audience: 16 - 23 years of age.
o Acceptable Genres: Drama, Comedy, Romantic Comedy, Black Comedy.
o Please avoid subjects about excessive violence, violence to women, street fighting, psycho killers, rape, terrorism, gun play, blade films, blood and guts, slashing, "heroes" running around blasting and mowing down the bad guys and similar dark subjects.
o Topic that depicts main character(s) seeking a goal and obtaining it. A positive scenario that gives a window into the future.
o Possible Story Elements: career goals, life goals, sports, competition, dating scene, work, confronting college, confronting new things, parents, sisters and brothers, friend problems, looks problems, sex problems, weight problems, teacher problems, grades, cars, communication issues, police problems, comedy, wackiness, science, computers, Internet, computers, superintelligence, alternative energy, (wacky) inventions, new discoveries, amazing accomplishment, total lucky situations, making movies, mischievousness, titillation, authority figures, corruption, incompetents, geekiness, excellent looking girls and guys, money problems, solving problems, creativity issues, music, playing music, music career problems, creatively, reaching catharsis, understanding life.
o Mildly didactic story is acceptable -- even with touches of philosophic reverie -- as long as the themes are universal and not drooling.
o The Picture should be acceptable to a PG, PG-13 or R audience.
o The script MUST be between 85 and 95 pages, and preferably 90 pages, typed in standard screenplay format, as set forth by Writers Guild. Courier type preferred (10 characters per inch).
o Screenplay must be written on Scriptware or MS Word.
CASTING & LOGISTIC PARAMETERS
o Movie should be character-driven (as likable, well-developed, main characters usually appeal to all audiences, especially our target audience). Characters must be between 16 and 30 years old, but mostly around 18 - 23. Several characters between 30 and 80 are also desirable. Evil, mean characters are fine and serve a purpose in that they can add contrast and challenge to the likable characters.
o The story should not involve more than three main characters. It is usually a disaster to write a screenplay specially for a particular (name) talent who you may have in mind. Be flexible.
o The story should involve, up to 5 minor characters that can be quickly developed (with one of the minor character parts a possible cameo vehicle).
o Up to 5 bit characters that can be shot on not more than 2 successive days each, AND up to 10 bit characters that can be shot on not more than 1 day each.
o No more than 150 extras needed throughout the whole film and not more than 80 appearing in any single scene at a time.
o No more than 2 expensive, or distant, locations that cannot be secured for an average of $150 per day. One or two expensive locations ($300 - $500 per day) is acceptable if very relevant to the story.
o No location scenes that would require talent, staff or crew travel or per diems.
o No futuristic or period sets, props or wardrobe and no extensive vehicle requirements (such as 30 cop cars or a fleet of boats), unless they are definitely available for product placement credit or on deferment.
o The story should take us through at least 35 different locations but no more than 42. Although many locations can double, there should be no more than 10 to 20 physically different locations. One of the cheapest ways to make a movie is to shoot it all in one house (or location) however it often looks cheap (or dimentionally truncated).
o The screenplay should have about 16 to 21 interior scenes and 14 to 18 exterior scenes with about 80% synchronous sound. No more than 10% of the picture should be exterior night, but any amount can be interior night.
o At least 2 exterior night scenes.
o Up to 2 special effects scenes, one moderately inexpensive, but not cheap looking, the other about five times as elaborate and effective as the first.
o Include all or some of the following:
- Two interior action sequences that break a lot of inexpensive middle class American luxuries. The foreign market likes to see the way we live in America. Anything out of a Sears catalog (up to $9,000 worth) can be smashed. e.g., TVs, video players, musical instruments, microwave ovens, coffee makers, lamps, radios, kitchen appliances, lawn mowers, bikes, motorcycles, etc.
- Interior action scenes can include such low budget effects as breaking fake glass, punching holes through balsa wood doors, walls, floors, ceilings . . . stuff that can be done in a controlled non-studio environment without fire or explosives.
- Backstage scenes where we only hear the audience or see stock shots of the audience (as long as they do not have to include a character in the shot).
- One exterior tracking shot with sync dialogue.
- One interior or exterior action sequence with fast tracking which lends itself to fast cutting.
- One interior sync dialogue scene in a car during day or night.
- One or two non-contrived passionate scenes. Nothing X-rated, however tasteful or sophisticated sex/romance, with non-gratuitous nudity is okay.
- At least three scenes in some location that has "never" been filmed in before.
- A nightclub scene.
- An easy-to-film scene in some public spot (where stock footage could possibly be integrated).
- A sequence out in the COUNTRY, MOUNTAINS, FOREST or by a STREAM (that works well with the established settings in the story).
- Possible locations: THE AMERICAN KITCHEN, VACANT APARTMENT, MACDONALDS, UNDER A CAR, CELLARS, FILM PROCESSING LABS, SAND DESERT, MUSIC VIDEO SET, SLICK AGENCY, HOTEL LOBBY, BY PARKED AIRPLANES, GYM, EYE DOCTORS, ELECTRONIC SUPPLY SHOPS, BEAUTY SALONS, HOUSE UNDER CONSTRUCTION, DISCO, LUMBER YARD, ANIMAL HOSPITAL, MUSIC STORE, COMPUTER DATA PROCESSING CENTER, SOFTWARE STORE, CHURCH, BOAT YARD, NEW CAR SHOWROOM, SOLAR ENERGY STORE, GENERAL CONTRACTORS OFFICE, MAP SHOP, MOTOR HOME OR CUSTOM VAN, AD AGENCY, VIDEO SHOP, VIDEO EDITING BAY, DEPARTMENT STORE, ARTISTS STUDIO, HORSE SHOW, COVERED BRIDGE.
o The ending is very important. It should wrap up all the lose ends and provide an up-beat catharsis. The ending should not have to rely on a lot of explosions and things blowing up. How many movies have you already seen where everything gets blown up in the end?
o Kenneth Gullekson, a well known writer/director, wraps it up this way: "The most important things are a gripping story and engaging characters. Any subplots focusing on individual characters must be inextricably interwoven with the main plot".
NOTE: Permission is granted by the copyright owner to disseminate this article provided a link to the article's source URL
and this NOTE is not removed.
| Mission Statement |
| What's New | Overview | Virtual Studio |
| Bookstore | Professional Services | Useful Information |
| Employment | In-Development | Script Submissions |
| Script Reading | Website Development | Non-Linear Editing |
| Film Distribution | Discussion Den | Contact MEC |
| Lee Garmes Cinema Institute |
© 2003 by dNa DevelopMent All Rights Reserved