If you're a writer, chances are that you've spent countless hours deliberating whether your ideas are gripping enough, have legs, and are ultimately good stories to tell. Writing a screenplay is a serious personal commitment and one that you want to be a fulfilling process whether or not it leads to commercial success.
As David Schwab, a NYC-based screenwriter and an adjunct professor of screenwriting at Columbia University’s Graduate Film School, puts it in his Master Class on Finding Your Screenplay's Story, “Choosing a story in a way is like choosing a romantic partner or choosing somebody that you're going to marry; you're living with it. For years you're waking up to it. You're seeing it before you go to bed and in your dreams.”
Even for the acclaimed writer/directors that Schwab interviews in the Master Class—Tamara Jenkins, Mira Nair, and Destin Daniel Cretton—the process of picking a story is no easy feat. Read on to discover the strategies that have worked for them.