‘What should I write?’ and the Advice from a Screenwriting Guru

After more than 4 Months, I guess, I am writing the blog. I was busy writing stuff and some scripts. I met some of the really talented fellow Writers during some Film Festivals recently. I also attended some one-day Script Writing workshops during these Film Festivals and came to the same conclusion after meeting a few ‘Screenwriting Gurus’. I also watched some mega-budget films like ‘Happy New Year’ recently. I wish to share some thoughts and experiences here. So without taking any names and defining situations, here is what I felt.

Let’s say you’re an aspiring screenwriter. Whenever you read an interview of a working Screenwriter or Screenwriter Guru and they are asked, “What should I write?” The response is almost always this:

“Write what you’re passionate about.”

You go to any Film Festival you will find at least one One-Day Screenwriting Workshop conducted by a big name – a proven, successful and famous Screenwriting Guru. You ask him/her, “What should I write?”, and you will get same answer:

 “Write what you’re passionate about.”

That sounds so earnest, honest, and aesthetically responsible.

But what if what you’re passionate about is a Period Drama involving three brothers, each of whom begins their journey in a different distant land, eventually intersecting at their rural family homestead for a week. There they recall their journeys, the people they met and some random, obscure stories from their past; their sagas conveyed in lengthy monologues.

Or say…

You’re utterly eager to write that script about a failed sculpture who is working on a statue of an Angel that comes to life in the moonlight. It’s also a period piece, and a musical; the story unfolds in a very lyrical way.

But facts are facts. Each of these scripts is a really hard to sell in Bollywood. Although these are the Scripts you are very ‘Passionate About’.

On the other hand, the potential projects Bollywood is dying to catch are: Comedy, Action-Thrillers, RomComs – the three biggest genres in the contemporary filmmaking. Think of them as big-budget-biggest-grossing-blockbusters, just waiting to be made – the famous Rs.100 Crores and Rs.200 Crores Club.

So how in God’s own Earth are you going to avoid these big blockbusters? You simply cannot.

Probably because those same well-intentioned Writers or Screenwriting Gurus who once told you to ‘write what you’re passionate about’ failed to let you in on the fact that ‘Bollywood barely gives two shits about your passion’. Rather they care about what they are passionate about — which is ‘Making Money’.

Comedy, Action-Thrillers, RomComs. The Genres that have proven time and again they are the most likely to net big box office revenues.

So my Advice is: Come up with a strong Story Concept in one of these three major Genres. Find some sort of emotional resonance to the Characters. And then write the hell out of it.

That’s your best bet to hook a deal in Bollywood or Indian Film Industry.

Remember: To catch a big fish, don’t stand in the water where you should actually be fishing!


One thought on “‘What should I write?’ and the Advice from a Screenwriting Guru

  1. Pingback: PART 2 of ‘What should I write?’: Alt Script – You Are Not Tarantino or Anurag Kashyap | I Learn To Write

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