When I wrote, my characters were written with particular actors and actresses in mind because they performed in my head helping me not only give each character a unique voice but also drive the character and script forward.
How fitting it was when moving out to LA that I found other writers doing this, but for different reasons sometimes. It was because they knew a particular actor or actress and they wrote the script FOR them.
Fact is, today, studios aren’t looking for fantastic writers. They’re looking for star driven vehicles. If the right star attaches to your project, every studio wants it where without stars attached, you just have 120 pieces of paper in their minds. Stars drive projects both big screen and small. Write with them in mind or nobody will pay you any mind. Simple as that.
Now those that go the indie route can write without this mindset but you better be Tarantino sized in cred to get studio attention. Sure that sounds over definitive but there’s truth there. Independent filmaking is an art. Studio filmmaking is a game and you gotta play it or you’re on the sidelines.
John Cusack is often asked in interviews why he does big studio pictures with the independent voice and mentality he has. I’m paraphrasing but he basically states that each studio sellout flick he makes is done so he can, in turn, make the independent fare he wants to make. It’s a give and take, part of the game. And he plays it expertly.
So next time you start a script think about what route you see the script going: Indie or studio. And then write with that mindset. This article is all about studio mindset.