Writing a Movie

on April 6, 2014 in Misc

Have you ever wanted to make a movie?  What I mean is, have you  had the urge to put down on paper your story in the form of a screenplay, then imagine being on the set while it’s filmed?

film making

Yeah I know, I’m traipsing through Fantasy La-La land on this one.   But see, the reason I’m asking is because I have a story idea that’s becoming so vivid I’m seeing whole scenes and hearing the dialogue.

And that’s just it – I’m SEEING my story as in a movie, which means I don’t want to write it down as a short story or novel, and not just because I’m in the process of swearing off writing anyway.  What’s happening is that this tale is taking over my brain, and it really would be so much fun to see it come to life.

But here’s the wretched reality:  if you think it’s tough getting a novel published by a good traditional publisher, try shopping around a screenplay.  The odds are actually better that you’d get a huge advance for your novel or win a couple million dollars playing the lottery.  That’s no exaggeration.  Screenwriting in Hollywood is now, more than ever, notoriously tough to break into.

the haunting

Granted, there are really good independent movies that don’t cost a fortune to make.  So if I ever win the lottery I can make my movie. And that notion may not be farfetched because my story isn’t a big honkin’ production; instead it’s a spooky  horror/paranormal thriller in the vein of The Conjuring or The Haunting (the 1963 version, not the ridiculous remake) and inspired by the ghost stories I grew up with, the ones my Irish relatives swear were real and happened to them.  The ones that scared the holy crap out of me as a kid and wouldn’t let me sleep at night, but I still asked to hear over and over.

Speaking of Ireland, the move Once, which won an Oscar for its theme song, was made in Ireland by some first-time filmmakers for around $200,000.  It went on to be a hit here in the U.S.  So maybe there’s hope for me yet.

I just know a bunch of you have wanted at some point in your lives to make a movie.  Would it be a drama, a comedy, or a sci fi?  There are so many genres to choose from.  Or maybe no genre at all because what you want to create is very original.  Wouldn’t that be cool?

13 Responses to “Writing a Movie”

  1. I see all of my stories as movies – just how my brain works.
    Good luck if you do write a screenplay. I’ve seen some good low-budget films, so it is possible.

  2. All my books I see as movies in my head — even with actors to play them and the sound of their voices. (DayStar sounds like Anthony Hopkins and McCord sounds like Tom Selleck.) :-)

    HER BONES ARE IN THE BADLANDS with Marlene Dietrich, David Niven, Errol Flynn, John Ford, Iron Eyes Cody, and Tom Mix as actual characters helped me visualize that book as a movie!

    I even have a soundtrack to most of my novels — Emmy Lou Harris’ THE PEARL runs all through END OF DAYS though I do not quote it (don’t have the money to buy the rights!)

    Lovely, thoughtful post as always. Roland

  3. Hart Johnson says:

    Did you know I know a small time movie maker IN COLORADO who I know likes horror. (he also writes, so no clue how interested he is in making something somebody else wrote, but he may be) He’s a great guy (brother of my buddy Stacy who is one of my closest writing friends–her family has sort of adopted me) but I usually she HIM on Facebook–where I don’t see you. If you want me to check with him though, and see if he’s open to the idea, I can.

  4. Helena says:

    Alex – I hope your Cassa series are picked up and made into movies, and the sooner the better!

  5. Helena says:

    Roland – I LOVE David Niven! When I was young I wanted him to be my uncle, one who would whisk me away to Europe where he and his lady love would show me how sophisticated, fun people really lived.

    Now I know I want to read HER BONES ARE IN THE BADLANDS. I am so impressed that you really know the old-time actors.

  6. Helena says:

    Hart – You are always so thoughtful! Maybe it’d be a good idea and fun for me to get together with him. I’d love to see what he does and how he does it, kind of be the fly on the wall.

    Yeah, I’m still not on Facebook and I still have issues with that. One of these days…

  7. I actually think that getting a movie or film made is probably easier than getting traditionally published. What makes it hard is not committing to the industry. People that want to make movies start out making movies as children. Then they go to a school and study film and make film for the school and work at the school’s facilities. While there, they make contacts in Hollywood, they write scripts, they make more contacts and perhaps get hired to a studio if sufficiently talented. Then they get apprenticed to someone like Joss Whedon or any number of big directors. That’s how you get a movie made (in my humble opinion). You commit yourself 100% to the industry from the very start.

    But yeah, if you’re just doing it on the side and have a day job, getting one made is like winning the lottery. You gotta have those connections or just be lucky.

    Also, there is little difference between film and books as far as stories go. I’m impressed with both and think that a movie is just a different way of telling a story but no less artful. I’ve been blown away with what television is accomplishing. In many ways, t.v. is more impressive than books that I’ve been reading.

  8. Nas says:

    It’s great that you can visualize your story. It will turn into a great novel. All the best!

  9. Helena says:

    Michael – Some TV shows really are impressive, aren’t they? And they’re definitely not afraid to explore the darker reaches of human beings.

    What you say about storytelling, whether in movies or books, is true, except that in books we can really get into what a person is thinking and feeling, whereas when we watch a movie we’re on the outside, watching. But a good example of a movie/book crossover could be Ransom Riggs (great name!) who went to film school, wrote two screenplays, couldn’t sell them, so he wrote and illustrated with vintage photos his novel, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which as you know is a humongous bestseller and is about to be made into a movie.

  10. Old Kitty says:

    It sounds so unbelievably tough but not impossible!! Darn it!! I’d like to think so! I think if there’s a sliver of a chance then it’s a chance worth aiming for!! Especially wnen one is totally forcused and determined like you are lovely Helen!! Yay!

    Given a chance, I’d make an intimate drama!!

    Take care

  11. My students are writing scripts this month, and it’s great to see their creative energy flow. I haven’t tried my hand at one yet, but I like to imagine seeing Captain Quasar on-screen someday. Or maybe in a graphic novel.

  12. Helena says:

    Old Kitty – And I bet your intimate drama would be very moving and wise. And have two kitties in the background.

  13. Helena says:

    Milo – I think Captain Quasar would make a fun, excellent film, and definitely it could work as a graphic novel too. You have very visual writing.