The Easiest Screenwriting Exercise in the World

  1. Think of a common object, something tangible, smaller than a garbage can, the kind of object you can buy at a store. For instance: hairspray.
  2. Say one thing about the object’s appearance. Something specific, but still in the realm of recognizable reality. For instance: it’s a dusty can of dollar store hair spray with the orange price tag still attached.
  3. Say another thing about the object. It could be another visual detail about it, or it could be where it’s located. For instance: it’s at the bottom of a box of old cans hidden in the back of a cluttered, hoarded out garage in a Maine townhouse.
  4. Say something extraordinary about this object. It should be story specific. Saying that Marilyn Monroe owned it isn’t that interesting. Saying that Marilyn Monroe killed for it is a little more story specific.

This basic exercise is incredibly powerful and valuable.

  • It forces you to really focus your imagination.
  • It forces you to define something that you find specifically interesting.
  • It helps you quickly figure out a concrete, specific moment in a story.
  • It challenges you to find the specific shot or scene that shows off what’s interesting in the most active and present way.
  • It demonstrates that the high concept ideas aren’t always interesting by themselves. They often need a grounding sense of reality to make them really shine.

Try this for yourself! If you come up with a good one, leave it in the comments and I’ll reply. This is a good random object generator.

For more about why this works and how to use it, click here.

Matt Lazarus
Matt Lazarus
Articles: 15

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