Coming up with original and compelling script ideas is one of the most challenging aspects of screenwriting. If you take a look at what’s been hitting the big screens lately, you’ll realise that it’s become tougher than ever to create something truly original that sells. Caught up with big budget and monolithic franchise spectacles, getting something more artful and thoughtful to screen has become an unfortunate rarity. But it doesn’t have to be. There are many ways to spark creativity and generate new ideas, here are a few tips to get out of that rut.

dream up next big movie or script idea

Your dreams are a treasure trove of potential script ideas. Strange, surreal and even terrifying, they can also be incredibly inspiring to screenwriters waiting for that next big movie idea to land. Keep a dream journal by your bed and write down your dreams as soon as you wake up. If it’s good enough for Steven Spielberg… then you may just be surprised at what you come up with!

While this article makes it seem as though you need to work at it, inspiration can come from anywhere. So dedicate yourself to becoming a constant observer, open to interesting stories, characters, and settings wherever life takes you. Immerse yourself in the world around you. Read the news, watch documentaries and try to meet people from different walks of life. The more you experience, the more potential material you’ll have for your scripts. Take it from some of the best sitcom writers like Larry David of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm fame, who the character of George is loosely modeled on and who often invests personal stories and funny happenings into his writing.

Want to write a great script? Read other scripts and focus on the structure, characters and dialogue. What makes these scripts come alive? How do they keep you engaged or entertained? Once you have developed a better understanding of what makes a script good, you can start to apply those principles to your own screenwriting.

Sometimes it’s a good idea to just start writing and wait for inspiration to surprise you. This can relate to writing your next script or perhaps a writing exercise could help you generate fresh ideas. You could try writing a short story about a character who has a unique superpower or a scene set in a dystopian future. Try following social media feeds that regular drop fun writing task exercises to stretch your abilities. As top golfer Gary Player once said, “the more I practice, the luckier I get!” The same applies to screenwriting as you shape and exercise your talents.

There are no hard and fast rules and inspiration can come from the most unlikely places or memories. So just have fun with it and enjoy the process of generating or stumbling onto new ideas. Collaborate with other screenwriters, join a writing group and experiment at will… you may just surprise yourself!

How to Dream Up Your Next Big Movie or Script Idea
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