4 Tips On How to Develop an Indie Feature Film Screenplay

Breaking into the film industry as a writer can be challenging. Oftentimes, beginning writers opt to start with indie feature screenplays instead and use that as a foothold into larger markets. Listed below are a few tips that can help you while you are writing an indie screenplay.


Tip #1: “Don’t chase what’s hot, just focus on what you like.”

You want to make sure that you have a personal, emotional connection to the story you are writing. Jessica Rhodes, who works for Blumhouse Productions says, “If a project gets you and the people that you work with excited, then it’s worth pursuing, in spite of what a trend report might say.”


Tip #2: Do Your Research.

Make sure that you take time to do the proper research and investigation for your script. Since an indie script doesn’t have the budget for large scale VFX or props and such, make sure that you make the world as real as possible. Sammy Montana, who currently runs Anarchy Management, warns that, “If a writer is unsure about developing an idea even after all this research then better discard it. Uncertainty makes a terrible script.”


Tip #3: Make sure the script is written as a micro budget feature and embrace your limitations.

Indie producer Jennifer Weston encourages writers to, “Think about where your film fits in the marketplace.” Make sure that you remember who you are going to try and option the script to. While you can cut corners and overall budget by setting the script in one location, remember people get tired of seeing films that are set in an apartment. Try and break up the script with small, easy to film, outside locations.


Tip #4: “Ultimately people want to work with those who they feel they’ll get along with, no one wants to work with a Diva.”

Since the indie industry is so tight knit, you want to make sure that you become known as a writer who is easy to work with. By developing your personal qualities as well as your writing qualities, you will be able to make long lasting connections, which can be beneficial to your future career.

All in all, being a writer isn’t easy, especially if you are trying to force an idea out onto the page. But by embracing your limits, you might find that your writing actually becomes deeper. Leaving you with a screenplay that grips your audience through the characters and the story, which is exactly what the indie industry thrives on.

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