June 18, 2013 at 3:24 pm #16720
We all start this writing thing with a “Us versus Them” mentality: we’re the lowly screenwriters without so much as a crowbar. The industry seems at best a closed shop and it’s very easy to feel dejected and sure talent means nothing and that it’s Who You Know that counts.
But in all my time as a script editor – over ten years now – the writers I’ve seen “make it” are not those with lots of money or friends in high places. Instead, they’ve appreciated just one thing:
The onus is on them to MAKE it happen.
So, think now what you want: maybe it’s an agent? An option? A feature film produced? A gig on a TV show? A web series? Maybe it’s something else … or ALL of the above.
Now: what ACTION are you going to take to make the above happen?
It’s all very well saying, “Write a great script.” Who sets out on their screenwriting journey saying, “I’m going to write the most dull, derivative script EVER?” So empty your mind of all things writing-related. Creating a great screenplay is a given. It’s the very LEAST you need to do.
Instead, think of how you will achieve your goals via a STRATEGY.
- When do you want your goal to happen by?
- What are you going to do to ensure it happens?
- What strengths do you already have that will help in achieving that goal?
- What weaknesses/ information do you need to help achieve that goal?
- How are you going to measure your success in working towards that goal?
- How are you going to review your steps – and make the changes necessary to achieve or change that goal, as required?
Using buzzwords like “breaking in” or “making it” gives the impression you arrive at some sort of destination, where you’re welcome with party poppers and balloons. You don’t. Instead, screenwriting is a marathon, not a sprint … You’ll feel like you’re never gonna make it … then suddenly: boom! You’re there. So enjoy the journey and ADD to your skillset whenever you can.
Author Bio: Lucy V Hay is a script editor, novelist and organiser of London Screenwriters’ Festival. She lives in Devon in the UK with her family, which includes three cats and four African Land Snails. http://www.bang2write.com
I’m a script editor and one of the organisers of London Screenwriters’ Festival – but I’m a writer too just like you. Via my site Bang2write and its social network, I frequently hear the same questions from my “Bang2writers”, such as:
- How do I break in?
- What can I do to improve my craft?
- What are producers, agents and filmmakers looking for?
So here are my thoughts on how you can tackle these 3 big writing questions, using a variety of resources all around the web: some paid-for, some free, but all of them worth it in taking your screenwriting career to the next level.
This article is Part 1 of a 4-part exclusive guest post series:
The Three Big Writing Questions… Answered by Lucy V. Hay
Part 1 Lucy V. Hay on Breaking InJune 19, 2013 at 2:39 am #16821
Yup, the biggest surprise for me was that there was no finishing line. Every job, every script you try to sell, is a whole new ‘breaking in’ experience…June 19, 2013 at 11:52 am #16878
Lucy V HayParticipant
Amen to that, Debbie … It’s a Sisyphean task without end. Just as well we love it ;)June 19, 2013 at 5:45 pm #17063
Your last point is one of the most important from my personal perspective – reviewing your steps and where you need to make necessary changes. Isn’t the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? I find that the more I keep at this thing, the more I learn how much I have to learn, and how no two projects are ever the same.
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