7 steps to writing an award-winning screenplay. Yes, it’s this simple. By Tuno Van Stowe.
The Intergalactic Business Report enlists expert advice from master storyteller and screen writer Tuno Van Stowe. Van Stowe’s work in the film industry has garnered him major awards and recognition including as Hollywood’s most influential young voice*. Below, he teaches you the seven steps he relies on to develop, write, and bring a story to life on the screen:
When I first started writing screenplays, I did it because I was broke and lonely, and it seemed like the best way to pass time in my small New York studio apartment, which wasn’t much larger than a closet and actually had a toilet in the living room.
In those days, if you wanted to be a writer, you moved to New York or maybe L.A. I chose NYC because I felt it was the kind of place that spoke to my gritty, emboldened nature and I struggled, mightily, till I finally moved out to Los Angeles and started writing screenplays. This is my story of how I made it and I hope it helps. I came up with 7 rules I think apply to anyone who’s aspiring to be a great script writer. These worked for me and they will for you.
1. Start with an idea that speaks to you and don’t let go of it. For me, this was the story of ninjas and other karate-type people fighting their way out of a prison. I don’t know how I got this idea, but it may have been from nights of watching late night t.v. where there were movies about martial arts guys fighting each other. There were also movies about prisons. I just combined the two. Do you have a great idea? If not, I’ll give you one now. Your movie is about how you go out to Hollywood to find a super impressive screenwriter who wrote a movie about Ninjas in prison. You want to have sex with him (but only if you’re really hot) and you make it your goal in life to accomplish this.
2. Your title needs to boldly announce your movie. I chose the title: “Ninja Destroyah,” because I felt this embodied the ideals of my film. It was about ninjas and they destroyed stuff (and people too). For your film, you can call it something like, “I wanna have sex with Tuno Van Stowe,” but again, only do this if you’re really hot.
3. Write what you know and then keep writing. For me, I knew a lot about ninjas from watching them in action on t.v. and also in my mind. I call this the “research phase” of the process. When you feel like you know enough, then write about it. In your case, I would simply fly out to LA and have sex with me. Then write about it.
4. Become the vice-president of marketing for your project. You need to make promoting your movie your full-time job. And (I can’t emphasize this enough), if you’re super hot, then you need to come out here and have sex with me like it’s your full-time job, which includes a performance review at the end of the year.
5. Get in the room with the people who make movies happen. If you don’t get your script to movie producers and other stuff like that, then you will never get an actual movie made. I remember this challenge well. I followed a movie producer to an In-N-Out Burger and tried to shove him into the bathroom where I would pitch him my script. He was stronger than me and I hadn’t calculated for that. I would recommend that someone like you, again, if you’re what most men would consider objectively attractive, just try to overpower me and shove me into a bathroom and have sex with me.
6. Re-write, re-write, re-write! I always say this three times in a row because if I just said it once it would be a really dumb headline. Please come out to Los Angeles and have sex with me. It gets lonely here and a lot of the women are stuck up and have issues, which would be all right if they were more interested in having sex with me because I can look beyond a lot of things. For instance, I haven’t asked you once about your personality or interests and have focused exclusively on your looks. Which means I’m pretty progressive and understanding and will accept you for who you are as long as you meet the very simple requirement of being insanely hot and willing to bang me.
7. Don’t be afraid to throw away your script and start over. Ultimately, my screenplay for “Ninja Destroyah” was met with confusion by people who read it and many of them simply told me it “wasn’t ready” or that it “sucked” or that that they think I “should see a psychiatrist or something.” So, I started over with a new script called “Ninja Destroyah 2: the Itching,” which was a sequel to my first script. Then I filmed it on my iphone with me doing a voiceover as I shot footage of my grocery store mostly. Look for it in theaters, I guess. And also fly out to LA and have sex with me.
*You can award awards to yourself because there are no rules against it.
Tuno Van Stowe is an award-winning writer, producer, and voice actor. If you would like to contact him to make a movie or to have sex with him or both, please send him a note at email@example.com.
The Intergalactic Business Report unearths some 80’s lyrics you haven’t heard since probably the 80’s. Can you name the artist and the song?
“Stop… And give me a booty bump while you fill up my gas at the full-service gas station…”
“This Rubick’s Cube only fits half way in my asshole… Let’s party all night long!”
“I don’t deserve your love… But I can reserve your love… like a library book.”
“Steppin’ into the porno section of the video store… All right! Gonna swing through the cowboy doors and make my pick for tonite!”
“Why does all the frozen food suck? Maybe one day, baby, they’ll make pizza that tastes like delivery, but for now, we’ll eat this Red Baron/Tombstone misery…”
“Here comes my favorite song… on the radio… but the DJ’s talking the whole fucking time…so…”
“Oh… Fuck… My cassette tape just unraveled… Gonna try to wind it back in this thing… Gonna make it all sound like gravel…”
“Tonight’s the night… That I sexually harass my secretary… Cause there aren’t any laws yet to protect her from unwanted advances from her boss… Let’s party all night long!”
“Gonna beat my meat to this Sears catalog! Now I’m in the women’s underwear pages and my dick is like a log! Party all night with my fake Sears catalog girlfriend… She looks so hot in her conservative, non-revealing outfit! Gonna have to use my imagination hard tonight!”
“Oh… Shit… My phone cord only goes so far… How’m I gonna reach the fridge while continuing this conversation? Should I call back? No… Should I say scuse me a sec? No… Gonna just keep talking and forget about the food…”
“Gotta neon workout onesie stuck in my ass crack… Gonna try to pull it out now! Whoops… That didn’t work… Let’s party all night!”
Ed Mountaineer offers his soul to Corporate America (again). Will they accept it now?
My name is Ed Mountaineer and I hereby offer my soul to Corporate America if they will accept it. I pledge to talk about, reference, and draw all conversation I have in the future to advertise and support products or services for whoever pays me. Let me give you some example scenarios below.
SCENARIO ONE: DOMINATING THE SKIES. In this scenario, United Airlines has hired me to be their non-stop talking mouthpiece who not only promotes their airline, but also assuages people’s fears about flying. This would play out in the following example interaction:
PERSON WORKING AT MCDONALD’S: May I take your order?
ME: Sure. With the United Airfare sale coming up, I’ll probably go to Hawaii or something.
PERSON WORKING AT MCDONALD’S: Are you going to order any food?
ME: What’s your favorite flight destination?
PERSON WORKING AT MCDONALD’S: I’ve never been on an airplane?
ME: Ohhhh. Well, there’s no need to be such a pussy. United planes never go down. You can book a plane ticket at United’s awesome Web site. Or on their app? You must have a phone, right?
MCDONALD’S MANAGER: Is there a problem here?
ME: I’m glad you asked. The problem is that people like, uh… This guy… Don’t fly because they’re afraid it’s going to crash. But that’s bullshit. And United has an airfare sale coming up, so it’s a perfect opportunity to try it.
MCDONALD’S MANAGER: Sir. There’s a big line. Are you ordering food?
ME: Whatever. I just came here to use your bathroom. Fly United.
SCENARIO TWO: CHIPOTLE SUPERSTAR. Here, Chipotle hires me to promote their restaurants by my constantly putting the idea into people’s minds. See how it might work below:
ME: What are you doing? Going to Chipotle?
GUY: Probably not.
ME: Well that’s stupid. Chipotle has queso sauce now. That’s a total game changer and if you don’t start eating it pretty soon, you’ll probably be visited by a demon in your dreams or something. That’s what I heard.
GUY: Do I know you or something?
ME: Do I know about Chipotle? Yes, absolutely. Did you have a question about their new menu or would you like to come with me now to their nearest location?
GUY: I’m just trying to take the train to work, man.
ME: Correction. You’re just trying to take the train to Chipotle.
GUY: No. No, I’m just going to work.
ME: You work at Chipotle?
SCENARIO THREE: DRINKING COLA, THINKING COLA.Nobody has more money to spend on advertising than the Coca Cola Corporation (I guess), so in this concept, they hire me to not only promote their brand, but to fight with valor against their competitors. (THIS IS A TWO PART SCENARIO).
A restaurant I know doesn’t serve Coke.
WAITER: Can I get you something to drink?
ME: Coke please.
WAITER: We only have Pepsi.
ME: Then you SUUUUUUCK!
WAITER: (Stunned, not speaking, just looking dumb like people who drink Pepsi)….
ME: Fuck you.
A family reunion in a public park.
ME: Hey, what family is this?
PERSON: We’re the Abernathy’s.
ME: Cool, I’m Jeff Abernathy. Do you have anything to drink?
PERSON: Sure. Over there, at that table.
ME: I don’t see any Coca Cola products.
PERSON: I guess not.
ME: I guess the Abernathy’s are a bunch of fuckwads then.
PERSON: Excuse me?
ME: I think you heard me you fucking Pepsi prick!
Anyway, you get the picture, Corporate America. So please get your offers into me as soon as possible at firstname.lastname@example.org. And please remember this is kind of a first come first served thing. I can’t do Burger King and McDonalds at the same time, okay?
Poems. Nobody really likes them because to understand them you need an interpreter with a Ph.D. who smokes a pipe after having sex with his students he promised A’s but only gave C’s, because that’s the only way he can get an erection.
To remedy this, the Intergalactic Business Report’s own Cedric Bigglestone re-imagines poetry they made you read in high school in a way that makes sense for today’s world. Below is his first entry:
Original poem (pretty much). The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost.
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
New, more relevant version. Handling my junk, by Cedric Bigglestone.
“I woke up this morning and stood over the toilet,
Two roads of pee diverged in a yellow stream,
And be one penis, long I stood,
And looked down one as it sprayed against the wall,
To where it splattered in a direction that made no fucking sense.
Two streams diverged from my penis, and I--
I stopped pissing for a second, hoping they would finally be just one stream of urine,
And that has made all the difference, because after getting enough out, I was able to pee in a straight line and get the rest of it in the toilet,
Even though the wall was covered in pee.”
Cedric Bigglestone is a self-taught journalist, and poet. Contact him at email@example.com.
Like yoghurt, we keep it cultured actively.