Q&A: Low Budget Blockbusters

Q: I’m from India, and I want to know why we don’t see low budget Indian movies where the protagonist has a CLEAR & VISIBLE goal. Why are these movies always “character driven,” which means they don’t become blockbusters like big budget productions? Please elaborate on how to make a low budget blockbuster.

A: I can’t speak to issues of the Indian or Bollywood film industries, since I have little experience with them. But I would suggest you stop worrying about writing a blockbuster, and concentrate on creating stories that excite YOU — screenplays for movies that will create an emotional experience for the mass audience. ALL stories, regardless of their budgets, are character driven — they are about the ways their heroes react to the events you (as the writer) force them to face. Whether this unexpected situation is getting stranded on Mars (THE MARTIAN), being trapped in a room for years (ROOM) or learning of the Catholic Church covering up widespread child abuse by its priests (SPOTLIGHT), the characters in these films face seemingly insurmountable obstacles in their attempts to deal with these situations. And this is how they “drive” their stories. Follow that approach, and your scripts will be headed toward success – no matter how much they cost to produce.