We all know writing a screenplay is incredibly hard. While it gets easier as you go, every story is a new battle. When I sit down to write, I chase treatments, beat sheets, and outlines before I open my screenwriting software to tackle the story. Turns out, the Russo brothers are the same.
They're the minds behind Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, among other titles. They came from the TV world, where they worked on shows like Arrested Development and Community. Through all that, they've honed their storytelling abilities. They've worked with some fantastic writers over the years and even taken to working on some writing themselves. Recently, they sat down with Yahoo to talk about their process.
The Russos work often with writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. They came together at Marvel and now are working on The Gray Man for Netflix. Together, they have a shared process.
Joe Russo says:
"We took what we call 'the room' in television and we converted that to a process of working with four people collaborating in a room for a decade—Anth, I, Markus, and McFeely. We've made a very specific and disciplined chart of how we do that. And we use that process for our big IP movies. We start with a three-page document that could take weeks or months on end to create. Basically, the first page is Act 1, the second page is Act 2 and the third page is Act 3. You need to agree as a group on what that story is before you waste your time turning it into a much larger document that's harder to unravel, and that could get off track in a way that could set the project back months, if not a year or more. Once we do that three-pager, we go to a 10-pager where we start to infuse character and thematics, and we do some sample dialogue. And then from that, it's very easy to write a script. You're working in a more malleable format for a longer period of time before you commit to building the house instead of building the house and realizing that you don't have any doors on it."
This was a really interesting look into the process of some of the most successful writers and directors ever. I like that so much time is put into an airtight document. It makes the actual writing easier.
If you have a strict and specific outline, you won't get stuck with what to write next. I also like the idea of a building document. Going from three to 10 pages is nice. It takes off the stress off the idea at first and lets you flow. Then as you build, you could unravel things, but the center of the idea will always be there for you to build.
Let me know what you think in the comments.