I am not an expert by any means.
But this I learned behind the scenes:
There are seven rules
you should muster,
for you to write a tentpole blockbuster.
Rule number one, is a controversial nail. Your hero must be male. It’s because his motivations are primal and plain, we make his journey linear and pained.
Rule number 2, we must like him. Make him funny, or even dim. Put him in trouble, or in despair, and we’ll follow him anywhere.
He must be the best, is rule number three. Jedi, wizard, spy or the best at archaeology. It does beg the following question, why don’t I build from picking a profession?
Rule number four, the hero mustn’t change. At the beginning and end, he remains the same. Skywalker, Jones, Potter or Bond, They are the stoics in their pond.
Of rule number five, I am a big fan. In small movies the world changes the man. But big movies are, the other way around, where hero saves the world from being bound.
Rule number six, is not worth bending. For your movie must have a happy ending. That’s why dour, depressing films are few. Do you want to sell one movie ticket or two?
The seventh and final of these rules, put somewhere in your duals. Do you have a love story that’s believable? Because if not, it’s not at all seeable.
I am not an expert by any means. But from observation, this is what I’ve seen. Master all of these seven rules, and soon you’ll graduate from blockbuster schools.
Stephen J De Jager is Creative Director for Australia’s largest film distributor, Roadshow Entertainment. He is also an enormously prolific unproduced screenwriter that is rapidly gathering ‘heat’.
Karel Segers wrote his first produced screenplay at age 17. Today he is a story analyst with experience in acquisition, development and production. He has trained students worldwide, and worked with half a dozen Academy Award nominees. Karel speaks more European languages than you have fingers on your left hand, which he is still trying to find a use for in his hometown of Sydney, Australia. The languages, not the fingers.