Based off a true story vs. Inspired by true events

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  • Based off a true story vs. Inspired by true events

    Hi all,

    I wrote a fictional screenplay. Some of it was based on some of my experiences, but most of what I have written in the script did not happen in real life. I don't want to do anything irresponsible by saying it was entirely based on a true story when only a small part of it really happened. Would it be more accurate/responsible to say that it was inspired by true events?
    Last edited by Danigirl; 10-25-2016, 05:06 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Based off a true story vs. Inspired by true events

    I wrote a fictional screenplay. Some of it was based off some of my experiences, but most of what I have written in the script did not happen in real life.
    First, just to let you know, so you do not keep making the mistake, the proper English is 'based on', not 'based off'.

    Next, it is your screenplay. Fiction. Some of it is based on your own life, but that is completely irrelevant. When you sell your screenplay and become famous, you can give interviews and tell everybody about your life experiences and how you used them in your work.

    But for now do not complicate things by talking about 'based on a true story' or 'inspired by true events'.

    Anytime you talk about 'based on true events' in any way, it just raises an issue of whether you have the legal rights to use something.

    Keep life simple.

    Usual disclaimer: I am not a professional of any kind in the film industry. My opinions are based on experience and common sense, so they may be worthless.

    "The fact that you have seen professionals write poorly is no reason for you to imitate them." - ComicBent.

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    • #3
      Re: Based off a true story vs. Inspired by true events

      Originally posted by ComicBent View Post
      First, just to let you know, so you do not keep making the mistake, the proper English is 'based on', not 'based off'.Usual disclaimer: I am not a professional of any kind in the film industry. My opinions are based on experience and common sense, so they may be worthless.
      Sorry! Typo. Thanks.

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      • #4
        Re: Based off a true story vs. Inspired by true events

        FARGO was a "true story" that never actually happened. I wouldn't worry about it too much, especially if it's your own story. You can put "This all totally 100% happened, I swear" if you want.

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        • #5
          Re: Based on a true story vs. Inspired by true events

          Originally posted by juunit View Post
          FARGO was a "true story" that never actually happened. I wouldn't worry about it too much, especially if it's your own story. You can put "This all totally 100% happened, I swear" if you want.
          Think I'm just going to say it's fiction, inspired by true events. Seems like the most accurate way to describe it. Like CB said, keep life simple.

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          • #6
            Re: Based off a true story vs. Inspired by true events

            Regarding the "based on, based off"...

            I know it's "based on". If you need proof of my knowledge, I can happily provide it. I was doing talk to text on my phone. It does not always translate properly. Sorry for not proofreading before posting. Didn't realize I was going to bother so many people and if I have, I sincerely apologize. Okay?

            Thanks to those who answered my question. I'll just go ahead and do a Google search to find more info.
            Last edited by Danigirl; 10-25-2016, 05:26 PM.

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            • #7
              Re: Based off a true story vs. Inspired by true events

              Originally posted by Danigirl View Post
              Regarding the "based on, based off"...

              I know it's "based on". If you need proof of my knowledge, I can happily provide it. I was doing talk to text on my phone. It does not always translate properly. Sorry for not proofreading before posting. Didn't realize I was going to bother so many people and if I have, I sincerely apologize. Okay?

              Thanks to those who answered my question. I'll just go ahead and do a Google search to find more info.
              My opinion. Not based on anything but what I think, but my experiences with producers does color it.

              No one cares if they're YOUR true stories. In fact, it turns producers off. (Not on) You're much better off just letting it be a work of fiction. And like someone else said, if it gets made and is a success, then you can say a little of it was you. Producers hear every day from writers who say,"My life should be a movie." And every day, it makes them a little more physically ill.

              They want based on a true story or inspired by a true story to be something they can look up someplace that was newsworthy or infamous. As far as Fargo goes? That was the Coens. They get to do anything they want. Hell, they got to make Hail Caesar, a film no one else would get to make.

              Write your film and let the story stand on its own. I wish you nothing but success.

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              • #8
                Re: Based off a true story vs. Inspired by true events

                Originally posted by EdFury View Post
                My opinion. Not based on anything but what I think, but my experiences with producers does color it.

                No one cares if they're YOUR true stories. In fact, it turns producers off. (Not on) You're much better off just letting it be a work of fiction. And like someone else said, if it gets made and is a success, then you can say a little of it was you. Producers hear every day from writers who say,"My life should be a movie." And every day, it makes them a little more physically ill.

                They want based on a true story or inspired by a true story to be something they can look up someplace that was newsworthy or infamous. As far as Fargo goes? That was the Coens. They get to do anything they want. Hell, they got to make Hail Caesar, a film no one else would get to make.

                Write your film and let the story stand on its own. I wish you nothing but success.
                Thank you, Ed. As always, I greatly appreciate your advice.

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                • #9
                  Re: Based off a true story vs. Inspired by true events

                  Originally posted by EdFury View Post
                  No one cares if they're YOUR true stories. In fact, it turns producers off. (Not on) You're much better off just letting it be a work of fiction.
                  Yes to this. Whenever a producer hears that it's based on or inspired by your true story, it rings alarm bells. It starts to sound like a vanity project and there's the fear that you may be to personally invested in it and too 'clingy'. Don't say it's based on a true story unless the true story is really remarkable and has some cache in and of itself. Just present it as a wonderful work of fiction.
                  "Friends make the worst enemies." Frank Underwood

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