My favorite part of a flight is right before takeoff, when you can sneak a peek at your fellow passengers and learn some interesting things to use in your script. For example, how would your character deal with flying?
Looking around the plane right now, I can see a variety of different reactions to the impending takeoff – a baby crying, a woman popping a pill, a man carefully stowing his bag and jacket but refusing to stop using his cell phone.
My writing system teaches you to begin your writing process with yourself first. What is your reaction to the prospect of flying? Are you a seasoned traveler who’s never fazed? Or, is there something about air travel that worries you? Where is your fear based?
Are you, like the comedian Louis CK suggested on Conan, someone who can’t believe that man is able to fly? Are you worried about a crash? Or maybe it’s the snakes?
Once you’ve figured out which part of air travel has you worried, think about what you do to deal with it? Do you curl your toes like in Die Hard? Or practice in a flight simulator a la French Kiss? Or just get off the plane like the “survivors” in Final Destination? Do you find this actually helps, or just passes the time?
Now, consider the main character of your own story. How would they deal with a flight? Would they patiently wait for the next chapter in their life like John Cusack at the end of Say Anything, be calm, cool and collected like John Cusack in Pushing Tin, or a man of action like John Cusack in Con Air.
Even if you don’t have an airplane scene in your screenplay, by considering how your character will react to a flight can offer interesting layers to your script.
And, in case you can’t tell, I deal with my own travel anxieties by writing.
Good luck and happy writing.