The Importance of a Great Script

Everything starts with a great script. You can make a great movie from a great script, but it’s impossible to make a great movie from a lousy script. Hollywood has plenty of experience turning great scripts into lousy movies, but it all begins with a great script.

Many aspiring screenwriters think that they need an A-list star like Tom Cruise or Angelina Jolie and their script will magically be turned into a movie. That may be true, but that doesn’t guarantee that it will be any good. Before you think of marketing tricks or clever ways to promote your story, start with a great story.

That’s it. Without a great story, you have nothing to offer. Hollywood is loaded with mediocre scripts and many of them get made. However, Hollywood is dying for great scripts. Half the time when Hollywood finds a great script, they’ll turn it into garbage by loading it with special effects and changes that make no sense whatsoever, but a great script is the foundation of every great movie.

A while back, I remember seeing a Jean Claude van Damme movie where he plays an undercover police officer who goes to prison and uncovers a black market organ system where prisoners are killed for their internal organs. The movie was typically bad for a Jean Claude van Damme movie, but the story actually seemed to hold promise. It could have been a good movie, but for whatever reason, they turned it into a bad Jean Claude van Damme movie and it suffered.

I’m sure the screenwriter banged his head against the wall after seeing the studios mangle his script. Still, the script was good enough to get someone’s attention and get made and that’s half the battle right there.

There’s only one cure for dealing with poor directors. Write a great script. You have no choice if you want to create a great movie. No A-list star is going to save you, no hotshot director is going to turn a poorly written script into a great movie. If the script stinks, the movie will too.

If the script is great, maybe, just maybe, the movie will be great too. You have no control over that, but you do have control over writing a great script.

So get busy.

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