During my years as a solidly working but not very successful actress, I used to do the rounds of the film school graduation projects every spring. This meant reading dozens of student film scripts and casting breakdowns. (Not to mention the seemingly infinite amount of shorts being made by film school graduates throughout the year.) I reckon a good 30% of them went basically like this:
Student film. Expenses only.
Title: The Ocean / The Shattered Soul Splinters as it Hit the Rocks / “Greg” / [Insert random French phrase here]
Writer: Greg Doe.
Director: Greg Doe.
Casting director: Greg Doe.
Dates: Two weeks Mon-Fri 9-5 rehearsal, shoot over one weekend.
Characters: Greg. Male. 22. A slight but unassumingly handsome young man.
Jane. Female. 19. An uber bitch.
Samantha. Female. 21. Blonde hair, 34D/24/34. Non-speaking role.
Greg is a gifted young filmmaker but his genius has yet to be recognised by the world. He is cruelly tormented and dumped by Jane, a fellow student. Jane is an evil bitch whose conned everyone into thinking she’s great even though she’s actually really plain and not at all talented. One day his life changes when he mets Samantha, a lingerie model whose dad owns a Hollywood studio. She falls madly in love with him at first sight. They got off to Hollywood together and he wins his first Oscar the next year. Jane falls into a volcano.
IF YOU WANT TO BE A FILMMAKER DO NOT MAKE THIS FILM EVER.
I know every single ‘How to write’ book ever says to write about what you know. I am personally giving you permission to ignore this advice. If all you know is being an aspiring filmmaker and being really depressed about it, for the love of God don’t write about it unless a) you can do so in a way that’s genuinely funny, or b) you can bring some kind of twist to it (maybe Samantha and her dad are actually vampires? No, that’s rubbish. But still better than Greg’s opus). Write a film based on a holiday you took to Butlins with your nan when you were 11, just don’t write this film. And see a therapist.