What is the story that YOU want to write? Not the story that you think Hollywood wants. What is important to YOU?
For each of the original feature screenplays I have written (four to date, ALL finalists, some multiple times), I did not start out by saying, “I wonder if this will go over in Hollywood?” I just wrote them because I felt there was something intriguing about them. If I had stopped to wonder if it was “castable” or “diverse enough” or any of the other things that screenwriters are supposed to “take into consideration,” I may not have written anything, because I would have been too worried, thinking whether I was hitting all my “marks.”
I am a human being who has been around the block several times. I have seen just about everything there is to see and experienced a lot of happiness, a lot of tragedy. In other words, I have life experiences to draw from. I feel this is the reason my scripts have resonated. I feel confident that one day an original script of mine will be selected for production. I would like to believe that it’s because the story comes from a place of truth and authenticity.
The point is: write what is important to you. Say what you need to say. Create characters that incorporate all the levels, shadows, nooks and crannies of your imagination — and then let them speak to you. You will be surprised how they take hold and demand to say things that only they would say. Coupled with vibrant characters and a story that makes people think, pause, cry or laugh in a genuine way — these are the type of stories I find most compelling.
Question less; write more. My bit o’ wisdom from my magical little office in the heart of Tokyo.