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Are We Getting Too Obsessed with ‘Story’ in Our Screenplays?

This article originally appeared in Script Magazine. It is reprinted here with permission. To read the original article head to

For the last few decades, the industry fueling aspiring writers has been focused on ‘story is king’. Come up with some high concept moment of genius, and your path to a riches-filled screenwriting career is assured. What if that’s no longer true? What if focusing your energy on story is actually holding your career back?

Don’t panic, story matters. Having a beginning, middle and end is important. So is structure. Maybe not those complicated charts that make screenwriting look more like math, but as a general rule, every script needs a basic sense of story and structure. If only to show readers you’ve learned the craft.

But consider the realities of today. The studio system who bought high concept ideas in the 1980/90s – isn’t buying many original spec scripts today. But the indie world is vibrant. Streamers want movies, and there is money around. And the studio ‘open writing assignments’, where the screenwriting gold lies today – are going to a ton of writers who ‘broke in’ with a script that resonated on an emotional level, or was aimed at a smaller audience. So you literally have nothing to lose by infusing your story with a solid emotional foundation…

To read the full article head to

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