How to Succeed in Screenwriting Without Really Trying*

*any allusions to a certain Broadway show, even those deliberately meant to be allusions to that certain Broadway show, are entirely coincidental. Please don’t sue me.

Bad news for you: I’ve decided to abandon blogging in favor of a promising career as screenwriter. I have no “experience” in the traditional sense, but I did watch all the Rocky movies, which has to count for something. It doesn’t? Regardless, the following will cement me in the ancient and respected annals of the Screenwriter People Club-Thing.

1. Non-Linear Narrative Format. Sure the script is, at best, a community-theater-like amalgamation of cliches, filled with capitalization on  current humorous cultural events for cheap laughs, and awkward use of slang in an attempt to seem “modern” and “down to earth.” But the ending is the beginning? What? And the middle isn’t always in the middle? My God we need to invent awards to give it. So if I were to rearrange that script to be: capitalization on current humorous cultural events, awkward use of slang, and then a community-theater-like amalgamation of cliches, what would happen?

Yep. That would happen.

Yep. That would happen.

2. Modern Relationships. It doesn’t matter if it’s essential to the plot (the non-linear plot, of course), references must be made to the effect of, “we have an open relationship,” or, “it’s not serious,” or at the very least, should the protagonist’s partner be long-term, have him/her vigorously reinforce that, “we don’t need a piece of paper to know we love each other.”  These lines work even better in non-contextual situations.

"Hey how's you sal-" "Yeah so we're just keeping it open."

“Hey how’s your sal-“
“Yeah so we’re just in an open relationship, ya know?”

3. Using characters as  tools for espousing personal political beliefs. Has your Congressman angrily replied to all your letters? Voted out of Town Hall? If you feel powerless in expressing your highly opinionated voice, take up screenwriting. Abandon all effort at actually writing a good movie, and put the work into having your characters be ardent, text-book supporters of your cause, while portraying the villain or ignorant characters as the opposite of your beliefs. Why? Cause democracy.

4. Title Puns. If 500 Days of Summer taught us anything, it’s that you can disguise a mediocre chick flick with only a title pun and a cute line at the end with a breaking-fourth wall smile.

But is the glamorous life of a screenwriter, going to expensive parties and deep-sea diving and carrying messages to Tehran (I’m not really sure what screenwriters do), better than sitting at home in pajamas blogging, drinking coffee, and laughing at my own jokes? No. No it is not.

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