I read an interview with Ehren Kruger the screenwriter of Arlington Road, The Ring, Scream 3, The Skeleton Key, and The Brothers Grimm. In building on my post from last week about how to pick an idea to write into a full screenplay I found this bit from the interview fascinating:
JRM: What do you wish you’d known when you started out?
Ehren Kruger: I wish I could have known better which stories not to write, which ones were not going to make it to fruition. That I’d had a better sense of which of those stories that I wanted to tell would have a chance of getting other people excited about them and getting made.
That, for example, I could have seen more clearly and said, “Well that’s a derivative premise,” before I wrote fifty pages of it. Or, “That’s just not a movie that studios are making this decade,” before writing ninety pages of it. Or, in the case of more specialized, art house ideas: “Much as I love this story, there’s just not a great role for an actor, and without a great role, this will never get financed.”
All of which is my way of saying that I wish I could have put a more objective, realistic business eye on some of the ideas and stories I started to tell—things that, in hindsight, I look at now and recognize “That one really never stood a chance.”
If you have a moment check out the full interview which can be found here: http://johnrobertmarlow.com/lonelykeyboard/sa__ehrenkruger.html. It’s wroth reading.