Zelda fandom is chock full of passionate followers. Even so, since I’ve started writing this blog, I’ve been surprised at a few comments I’ve read by people who plan on turning Zelda into a movie – apparently singlehandedly. So I thought I’d give a few comments on my own beliefs about the best approach for those wanting to write a Zelda screenplay (myself included).
First, it’s not enough to simply write a screenplay. This works for completely new individual stories, but almost always whenever a company wants to turn one of its existing franchises into a film, it hires established screenwriters. If the Zelda series ever is transformed into a movie, you can bet that it will be a big budget film. And that means big budget screenwriters. This is good for everyone because it means that the movie will more likely be pretty good. However, if you’re an aspiring Zelda screenwriter, and you aren’t an established screenwriter yet, that’s something you should probably work on. So the first step is not to write a Zelda screenplay, but actually to write an original screenplay and get that made into a movie first. Build up a reputation so that when the decision is made to turn Zelda into a movie, the production studio will come knocking at your door.
Of course, that isn’t to say that you shouldn’t think about a potential plot for a Zelda movie. I think you should. And if things don’t work out Zelda-wise, perhaps you could transform it into an original story and move forward from there.
Second, it’s not enough to be passionate about the Zelda series. It’s not even enough to know everything about the Zelda series. You must understand what makes a truly compelling narrative. Ultimately, there are thousands (perhaps hundreds of thousands) Zelda fans out there who will see a movie purely due to the fact that it’s Zelda. But that’s not enough to make back the budget spent on making the film. A movie like this needs to appeal to the masses. And if the story isn’t compelling, the masses won’t care, and the film won’t be financially successful.
Some might argue that the understanding of what makes a compelling narrative is entirely innate and can’t be learned. But I’d like to disagree with that and say that it can. One of the best things you can do is to read good books and see good movies. And if you can find them, read a few good screenplays too. Depending on your circumstances, you might even be able to take a creative writing class. A simple class like this can do wonders – especially if you allow yourself to absorb positive criticism and use it improve your style.
Another suggestion I have is to read a book. One that I recommend is Story by Robert McKee. It’s pretty long, but it focuses on writing screenplays from the focus of compelling narratives. I began reading it because of a book club I was part of at the time, and I have to admit that initially I was skeptical of McKee. However, by the time I finished, I had to admit that this guy really knows his stuff. He’s not necessary the end all of story-making, but if you can digest a couple hundred pages, it’s a fantastic read for anyone who wants to be a screenwriter.
Third, if you know what it takes to write a compelling narrative and are an established screenwriter, you might simply want to make it known your interest in the Zelda series. This can be done pretty easily – through social media, blogs, or however. If you are an establish screenwriter, you probably have an agent, so they’ve probably got more ideas for you than I do in this area.
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