Joss Whedon is a screenwriter, director, and producer. He's best-known for creating the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Whedon also co-wrote both Cabin in the Woods and The Avengers feature films.
Recently, Whedon was part of a roundtable discussion for aspiring writers hosted by actress Lily Cole for the website Impossible.
Here are a few of his most valuable tips:
- In a script everybody matters.
It became apparent to me very early on, that not only do I need to understand my characters, I need to understand the characters that you don't generally need to understand. I think it's almost insulting to hire someone to be someone and you don't know who he is...it will ultimately inform what happens.
- 2. Lean on your genre.
I need genre, I lean on it, because there's always structure as well. If it's a musical video – they're going to sing – if it's a horror movie, they're gonna be scared...I love that – the humanity obviously comes within. Every – every – story is a story about people, or it sucks.
- 3. Believe in your concept.
Time travel is a concept that has been done and so is every other thing you will ever think of. So the thing that makes it worth saying is only going to be you.
- 4. Enjoy your craft.
I myself have never enjoyed anything more than writing. I love to live in that world. In fact, I need to. I've had so many people come and be like, "Y'know, I'd like to write,"...and I'm like, "Just leave." I know writers who, it's torture for them, they hate it, it's like "AARGH AARGH!" but they can't stop.
- 5. Embrace your weirdness.
Whatever makes you weird is probably your greatest asset.
A version of this article was originally published on MoviePilot.com.