Monday, July 11, 2005  

Forum Post - Can We Go Over This.

The grand opening of the new site,, went great. From time to time I'll pull out a few of the informative posts and share them with visitors to the blog. So here we go, one of what I hope will be many great topics to share with you.


How do you know if you have a good theme or premise?

What exactly constitutes a premise or a theme? The title? The dialoge or the characters?

Do all movies have a theme?

How do you get your movie to have a theme? What if your premise is bad but your title is good... Or what if the theme is great, the premise rocks bu the title sucks... what about--

Can you ever tell what is right or wrong?


In all honesty, it’s hard to judge whether you have a good premise or theme. What’s good to one person may be the worst idea ever imagined by another. A quick litmus test would be to ask yourself, is my premise original? Has it been played out before on the big screen? It my story intriguing enough to keep people entertained for two hours in the theater? A premise, is the soul of your story. It is the story.

The following article does a good job of explaining this in more detail.

The premise is your story stated in a single sentence. This is the most important decision you make in the entire writing process, because every other decision you make stems from here. It’s like the root at the bottom of the tree. Make sure your story is grounded properly. Take time to explore your premise before you decide to write the story. Take a lot of time. No, more than that.

Story Premise

A theme, by definition, is a subject of artistic representation. The theme of a screenplay is the message of a story. What are you, as the writer, trying to tell the world? Every great script has a theme.

Here’s another article that should be helpful:

Deep Thoughts
by Terry Rossio

A for a title… keep it original. I have seen a lot of great movies that have crappy titles and a lot of crappy movies that have great titles. Let your title inspire you. Let it feed your own desire to right a compelling story. That’s what I do.