Big Budget or Low Budget Spec?

Just got this great question:

Is it easier to break into screenwriting with a high budget/high concept/solid script or a low budget/indy script?  Basically should new comers avoid writing the next Matrix and concentrate on getting their work made low budget style first?

The answer is really determined by what you mean by “break into screenwriting.”  Is your goal to work in the Hollywood system, live in LA, and make a full-time living as a screenwriter?  If that’s the case, big budget/high concept is probably the way to go.

BUT, if your main goal is to write something that will be produced (ie: You REALLY want to see your idea made into a movie) then I’d definitely write a low-budget film.

ANOTHER advantage to writing a low-budget screenplay, is that it can turn into a high budget film if it generates heat and an A-lister gets attached.


Low budget movies give you limitations – which usually SPARK creativity.  Only a few locations?  Better make them count – use EVERYTHING in those locations in your script.

Plus, with low-budget limitations, you’re less likely to concentrate on the crazy world you can imagine and more on such things as story, characters, and other little things..

Or as John August says, “Story is free.”  Make yours shine.



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