The Easiest Screenwriting Exercise in the World
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.