You don't have to be Martha Stewart to bake a great pie and you don't have to be Robert Towne to bake a great screenplay.
THE RECIPE FOR A SUCCESSFUL SCREENPLAY
Cooking time: 6-12 months
Serves: up to 100,000,000
1 good idea of interest to a large audience
1 interesting main character with a personal goal and a flaw that prevents him from reaching it while eliciting our sympathy
1 adversarial character who establishes a challenge for the main character that requires him to overcome his flaw in order to resolve the challenge and attain his goal
1 inciting incident that unexpectedly and ironically propels our main character into conflict while highlighting his flaw
1 meaningful theme that links the main character's flaw and the adversary's challenge through which the main character can struggle from one thematic pole to the other
1 crisis that forces the main character to finally and fully confront and overcome his flaw in order to resolve the conflict and ultimately attain his personal goal
1 pound of creativity
1 teaspoon of aesthetics
1 gallon of sweat
Blend ingredients into a well developed plot which follows the accepted norms of screenplay structure. Bake in mental-wave oven at 98.6 degrees until the plot rises to a satisfying resolution. Allow to cool for a few years then serve with popcorn and a Coke.
15 VITAL WRITING TOOLS FOR THE SCREENWRITER