Start me up: Lean screenwriting for American entrepreneurial cinema | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 5, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1759-7137
  • E-ISSN: 1759-7145



This article proposes a new approach to script development modelled after lean software development practices and entrepreneurial startup principles. First, it argues that the Hollywood mode of production and its methods of project development, when applied to microbudget film-making, are inherently wasteful and fail in the face of extreme uncertainty and unpredictability. Second, it argues that entrepreneurial screenwriters and writer/film-makers can adopt lean thinking in order to eliminate waste from their creative labour and enhance learning at every stage of development and production, adding value for their audience. Finally, it argues that inexperienced writer/film-makers are particularly susceptible to the false security of the ‘blueprint’ metaphor, often clinging to an original plan even as it fails them. The flexibility inherent to lean thinking, on the other hand, not only reduces waste but also enhances creativity and collaboration, increasing a project’s chances of success.


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