Since I joined Twitter in 2009, I've been following Scott Myers at @gointothestory. Scott not only delivers an amazing amount great content—so much content that I tease him he must have writers chained to desks in his basement—but he also pays it forward, creating a community of writers to support each other on Facebook, called Zero Draft Thirty.
Scott wrote a couple of his tweets I want to share.
Scott linked to an article he wrote in 2019, that is timeless. Read it. But even without reading his article, you get the point, which is to make you consider the importance of theme, not only in Pixar films, but in your own scripts.
Are you finding yourself exploring the same themes in your work? Why is that one theme speaking to you? Are your scripts exploring a theme at all? If not, stop writing, and dig deeper to actually deliver some sort of meaning to your work. If you aren't saying something with your art, then why bother writing.
You don't have to write about separation. But write about something that moves us and makes us care whether the protagonist reaches their goal. A powerful theme will leave the viewer (or reader) thinking about your movie long after they exit the theaters.
But before you get to theme, you need a compelling logline.
Writing a sentence or two to describe your story concept can be harder than writing the entire script. So many writer struggle with loglines.
Apparently in 1998, the TMZ movie listing described The Wizard of Oz as "Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first person she meets and then teams up with three strangers to kill again."
Obviously, that's not the real logline, but it's certainly catchy!
When you query a manager, create a well-crafted logline, because it can make or break your chances of a request to read your script. Some managers only read the logline to decide if they'll read the rest of the query. That's how important loglines are.
You can learn more about writing a great logline in these articles on Script:
- Loglines: The First Essential Step to Defining and Elevating Your Story
- 7 Crucial Logline Mistakes and How to Fix Them
- Loglines and Tigers and Bears – Oh My!
One more resource that's a must-read is Lane Shefter Bishops book, Sell Your Story in A Single Sentence: Advice from the Front Lines of Hollywood. It's a gamechanger for all who struggle to whittle their story down to a sentence or two.
Now get writing, and don't forget to follow Scott Myers on Twitter.