Four more of Scriptcat’s tips, tricks and tactics to help you survive in Hollywood’s trenches…

August 17, 2015 § Leave a comment

script revision photo copyIf you’re new to this blog—welcome and thank you for the follow! And if you’re been reading my articles for the past few years—a hearty thank you too! I hope that I’ve been able to offer up some useful nuggets of screenwriting wisdom to help you survive in the trenches as you forge a career. As I’m sure you already know, it’s not easy to sell a screenplay or land an assignment job—but I’ve done both, so I’m here to tell you that dreams do come true. But only with a game plan, a passion and respect for the craft, strict disciplines, and an unwavering tenacity to weather the storms of rejection, criticism and failure on your road to success.

Soon 2015 will be over. I hope you’ve created new opportunities with new screenplays and have pushed your projects closer to success. Trust me, I know if can feel like you’re banging your head against a wall hoping for a breakthrough, but only finding the same results of rejection and criticism. You must realize that the screenwriter’s journey is a long haul to reach any level of success. I’ve written professionally for nearly twenty years and earlier this year completed my 28th feature-length screenplay that just wrapped production two weeks ago as my 8th produced film. I’m now working on my fourteenth paid assignment and getting the job done.

In addition to my tips on Twitter (@scriptcat), my Youtube Channel and my free mobile app Screenwriting Guru, I’ll be posting new tips here every month in addition to new articles. Dig in as I’ve written over 180 articles on this blog. I’m also broadcasting live during the week on the new app PERISCOPE. Check it out. Thanks for reading and as always: Carry on, keep the faith and keep screenwriting because if you stop, you’re guaranteed never to have any chance at success! Okay, let’s get right to the action—here are four more useful survival tips for your journey…

TIP #1

Protect your precious screenwriting schedule.

boxerYou need to protect your precious writing time and treat it like a job because it will be exactly the same when you finally do get paid—but you’ll have the added pressure of being under contract, being paid and having the producer expecting “great things!” Carve out a writing schedule and stick to it. Hemingway said, “Work every day. No matter what has happened the day or night before, get up and bite on the nail.” Working every day, even if it’s for a short period, creates discipline. The longer you write the more you’ll get to know yourself better as a writer.  You’ll discover your strengths and weaknesses, if you write fast or slow, and if you’re easily distracted or if you can work in a crowded coffee shop. When the writing gets difficult, time becomes your enemy as you never know each day if your creative juices will flow or dry up. Do yourself a favor and always protect your precious writing time from the forces of interruption and distraction. You’ll keep on schedule, writing will become a habit, and you will be acting like the professional you’ve become. Hemingway said it best, “You can write any time people will leave you alone and not interrupt you. Or rather you can if you will be ruthless enough about it. But the best writing is certainly when you are in love. If it is all the same to you I would rather not expound on that.”

TIP #2

Keep the intimate details of your screenwriting journey to yourself.

never believe them untl the check clearsAs you would when playing poker, keep your cards (specific information about your progress) close to your vest. Put on your best poker face and get the work done. Do not continually talk or boast about the status of your projects or the page count.This expends precious energy and writers find themselves talking more about their craft and the process than actually writing. Hollywood has a bizarre time warp that works on its own schedule. Every project will take longer to move forward than you will ever expect and you don’t need others believing that you’re blowing smoke when you continually talk about the status of your material or career. The reality is it takes an incredible amount of time for any script to find a home (if ever) and to get produced. Sometimes the less you say about your progress the better. We all have our inner demons of self-doubt, but why give fodder for your critics and skeptics who will use it to diminish your dreams? They will taint any good news you share and use it to belittle your progress because they didn’t have the courage to risk everything and pursue their own dreams. They enjoy raining on your parade instead. Protect your dreams and cut out the naysayers from your life. Keep your work close and protected until it’s absolutely ready and you’re confident to unleash it upon the world and presented as a viable professional work. William Faulkner said it best, “I never feel the need to discuss my work with anyone. No, I am too busy writing it. It has got to please me and if it does I don’t need to talk about it. If it doesn’t please me, talking about it won’t improve it, since the only thing to improve it is to work on it some more. I am not a literary man but only a writer. I don’t get any pleasure from talking shop.”

TIP #3

Learn how to execute screenplay notes or you’ll be fired from the job.

thIf your goal is becoming a working screenwriter in Hollywood, you must learn the craft of executing notes quickly and effectively.  You’ll usually get one crack at your second draft and if you haven’t mastered the art of rewriting, they will fire you. It’s business, not personal. Producers do not have time to deal with a writer who is unable to effectively make the necessary changes needed. Don’t fight your producers, executives or director about script notes or changes. Become the writer who understands and is willing to do anything to make the scene or script better. Also understand a director’s issues when shooting the film and write your screenplay with that in mind to help push it through the development process. A team player considered a creative collaborator stays on a project longer than a temperamental diva who grimaces at every dialogue change. That’s why producers and directors generally don’t allow the writer on the set.  There are just too many tiny changes to a script during production. If you aren’t a team player and feel that script changes are death by a thousand cuts, you will not last a day on a movie set. The minute your frustration shows, they will not invite you back.  Part of being a screenwriting professional is acting like one.

TIP #4

Take all criticism and rejection lightly.

smash head in wallThat doesn’t mean you totally ignore notes that you don’t agree with, but find a good constructive balance where you are open to other ideas and you don’t allow the criticism to destroy you. We all suffer disappointment, but when you can accept criticism and rejection as part of the process, you can better adjust your temperament and not take the criticism personally. There’s a myriad of reasons why a producer might reject your project but they could still like your writing. You’ll deal with notes your entire screenwriting career so get used to them now. Selling a project is great, but if it doesn’t sell, your writing ability and your solid screenplay can also land you a job. Think positively and train yourself to avoid negative, self-worth thoughts. The more you think negatively, the more it becomes an emotion and then it’s hard to separate the two. You can actually start to believe a reality that isn’t true and will end up destroying your confidence.

Remember if you stop writing you’re guaranteed never to have any shot at success.

Scriptcat out!

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You must write every single day of your life… You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads… may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.”—Ray Bradbury

“One of the things that young writers falsely hope exists is inspiration. A lot of young writers fail because they aren’t putting in the hours. Whether you can write all day every day, or whether you can write four hours on Sundays, whatever it is, you have to protect that time.”—William Goldman

It is one thing to study war and another to live the warrior’s life.”—Telamon of Arcadia, mercenary, 5th Century B.C.

Believe me that in every big thing or achievement there are obstacles — big or small — and the reaction one shows to such an obstacle is what counts not the obstacle itself.”—Bruce Lee

“Having spent too many years in show business, the one thing I see that succeeds is persistence. It’s the person who just ain’t gonna go home. I decided early on that I wasn’t going to go home. This is what I’ll be doing until they put me in jail or in a coffin.” —David Mamet

“Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure. But the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria if you let it. [F]ailure means a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself to be anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena where I believe I truly belonged. [R]ock bottom became the solid foundation on which I built my life.” ~ J.K. Rowling

“Everyone holds his fortune in his own hands, like a sculptor the raw material he will fashion into a figure. But it’s the same with that type of artistic activity as with all others: We are merely born with the capacity to do it. The skill to mold the material into what we want must be learned and attentively cultivated.”—Johann Wolfgang Von Goeth

Treat screenwriting as your daily job because that’s what professionals do…

August 8, 2015 § Leave a comment

procrastinaton screenwritingLife is horrible when you wake up in the morning and go to a job that you hate. Too many people lumber through life “working for the weekend” and hate their day jobs, but must show up every day because they need to pay the bills.

If you’re blessed to work regularly and forge a screenwriting career, the reality is that it’s your job and how you make your living. It’s not some romantic ideal, but the reality that paid work comes from you filling blank pages—either of your own creation or from ideas that producers pay you to write. That’s what is known as a “working screenwriter.” That’s always been my goal since I started making films as a wide-eyed eleven year old kid—to work as a filmmaker in Hollywood. I’ve now been able to live my dream many times over during the past twenty years of my career with eight produced films coming from one spec sale and fourteen assignments.

Playwright, novelist and screenwriter Patty Chayefsky once said, “Artists don’t talk about art. Artists talk about work. If I have anything to say to young writers, it’s stop thinking of writing as art. Think of it as work.”  If you start treating it as your job, even if you do have a day job, you will begin to act in a professional way and with that comes disciplines you must practice and master to prepare you for when it finally does become your job. If you dabble in screenwriting, it’s like sticking your pinkie into the Pacific Ocean. You’ll need to jump off the cliff without fear and plunge into the abyss with all of your might. Screenwriting professionals follow strict disciplines used to help guide them on their journey to success.

Disciplines like…

1. Create a daily writing schedule and stick to it without interruption. Meet your designated page count so projects don’t languish. If you stick to a regular schedule with self-imposed deadlines, maybe with a day job you can even write one or two feature specs a year. Once it’s your job, you will create under the pressure of a contracted deadline, so train now to get used to this reality.

2. Do the writing necessary to create a solid body of material that will represent you and compete in a competitive marketplace. One script will not do it and it might take five scripts over ten years to see any level of success in the film business. Remember, time is a writer’s greatest asset or worst enemy—it depends on how it’s used.

3. Look at the big picture of your screenwriting career goals and set up a yearly master plan. Make a project list of ideas, pitches, treatments, finished scripts and set deadlines and stick to them. Make a list of your contacts and where you submitted your scripts in the past. When you complete a new script and it’s completely ready for a read, follow-up with your network and offer them your latest creation. Lather, rinse and repeat. That’s how you will eventually sell something or get hired for an assignment.

4. Be humble and know that it’s a long climb to reach the top of the mountain you’re climbing. It’s your dream and no one forced you to choose this path, so take responsibility daily and hone your writing skills to reach the next plateau. Professionals respect the craft and climb the mountain every day. Sure it’s fraught with the pitfalls of rejection, criticism and failure, but a professional soldiers on in the face of adversity and for every two steps back, takes four steps forward.

Treat your screenwriting like a job and you’ll be acting as a professional and preparing yourself for the time when you do finally score the gig that opens the door to a career.

It’s a business with no guarantees—even if you do sell your screenplay. So keep writing and keep the faith because if you stop, you’re guaranteed never to have any shot at success.

Scriptcat out!

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Screenplay consultation servicesAre you struggling with your screenwriting career goals? Maybe it’s time for a checklist? Check out my new archived webinar “A Screenwriter’s Checklist: 10 Questions Every Screenwriter Must Answer to Stay in the Game.” Now available for rental. Click on the icon below for the link to my streaming website.

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“The professional prepares mentally to absorb blows and to deliver them. His aim is to take what the day gives him.  He is prepared to be prudent and prepared to be reckless, to take a beating when he has to, and to go for the throat when he can. He understands the field alters every day. His goal is not victory (success will come by itself when it wants to) but to handle himself, his insides, as sturdily as he can.”— Steven Pressfield, “The War of Art

“You must be confident enough to believe that you can “make it”—but humble enough to know it’s a long journey with much to learn.”—Scriptcat

“So the only environment the artist needs is whatever peace, whatever solitude, and whatever pleasure he can get at not too high a cost. All the wrong environment will do is run his blood pressure up; he will spend more time being frustrated or outraged. My own experience has been that the tools I need for my trade are paper, tobacco, food, and a little whiskey.”—William Faulkner

“A professional respects his craft. He does not consider himself superior to it. He recognizes the contributions of those who have gone before him. He apprentices himself to them.”—Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

Why I Decided to Direct After Writing Movies for 15 Years…

July 6, 2015 § 1 Comment

We’re blessed on MY BLANK PAGE once again to have writer/producer/director Christine Conradt back for her second time as a guest blogger with a fantastic article about her transition from being a screenwriter/producer into directing her first feature.

Why I Decided to Direct After Writing Movies for 15 Years.

by Christine Conradt

“Action!” I yelled and slid the white painter’s mask back up over my nose and mouth as my voice echoed through the dark, dank corridors of the ‘dungeon.’ Tucked back into a dusty corner, squeezed up against my script supervisor, Katie, one of the co-producers, Noel, and Patrick, Lauren, and John—hair, makeup, and wardrobe, respectively, my eyes flicked back and forth between two monitors as I watched the actress struggle to free herself from the grip of the actor that was kidnapping her in another room.

Christine Conradt with Cinematographer Roberto Schein.

                 Christine Conradt with Cinematographer Roberto Schein.

Our dungeon was the basement of the Herald Examiner Building in downtown Los Angeles, now under renovation to become office spaces and condos— and it didn’t require much dressing. A labyrinth of low-ceiling hallways and cages, it was built in 1915 and housed William Randolph Hearst’s newspaper printing business until 1989. After that, it became one of L.A.’s most filmed locations. My movie, would be, sadly, one of the last to be shot there.

My actors duck past the second camera cinematographer charged with getting a low-angle shot of the action and disappear from my monitors. The only sound now is the hum of the overhead Tungstens. I wait a few seconds and call “Cut! Same thing again!” The set becomes a flurry of activity with props being reset, my DOP calling out orders for lights to be adjusted, and the glam crew making the actors look the way they did before the struggle ever started. Dan, the First AD, peeks around the corner and waits for my instructions. “Tell Camera B to stay on John this time and A to get a safety.”

“Got it,” he says and disappears as quickly as he came. A few moments pass and I know he relayed my instructions because Camera B focuses on Dan as he steps onto John’s mark for a frame check. I sit down next to Noel and discuss the following day’s preliminary call sheet, waiting for the next question to come my way. In an odd way, that’s what being a director is all about—answering questions.

         Writer/Director Christine Conradt and Co-Producer Noel Zanitsch in the basement of the Herald Examinder building.

Writer/Director Christine Conradt and Co-Producer Noel Zanitsch in the basement of the Herald Examinder building.

From the outside, I’m sure we appear to be a well-oiled machine—churning out scenes and takes like the dinosaur printing presses once did in this same basement a century ago. But inside, I’m nervous as hell. We are two hours behind schedule and we’re only four hours into our day. It’s our last day at this location and carrying scenes would be impossible. On top of that, we have a complicated chase to shoot after lunch and will lose an hour wrapping out. Everyone knows this and the pressure is on. Especially on me, because at the end of it all, if we don’t make our days, it’s the director’s fault.

And yet, despite the pressure and the nerves and the dust in the air that covered our sweaty skin in grit, I’m feeling exhilarated. This is my first foray into directing a feature— and I’m actually pulling it off! After fifteen years of enjoying a successful writing career, with 45 produced movies to my name, I needed that shot of adrenalin. I was getting burned out. Professionally and personally, I needed to grow and stretch and be inspired, and directing a film that I also penned, accomplished all of that and more.

Being a writer/director is both a rewarding and frustrating experience. So many times on set, it dawned on me how incredibly different it is to write than direct. I felt I was awakening certain aspects of my brain that had been slacking off for decades. When you write, you imagine in such detail how each scene will play out. You go over and over it in your head as you rewrite and hone dialog. It’s a fantasy, really. Writing is purely creative. You create the set, the characters, and the mise-en-scene in your own brain where it’s completely perfect. The actors deliver every line precisely the way you imagine it, the shots flow seamlessly, the lighting and timing is perfect. Fantasy.

Directing, on the other hand, is the process of merging that fantasy with reality. In real life, the locations you get are most likely not the ones you originally imagined, the actors need to be directed, shots are compromised by the need to shoot around c-stands and lights. It’s creative, but it’s creative problem-solving. It’s like staring at a Kandinsky for five minutes then being handed a pencil and paper and asked to reproduce it without looking. You get close most of the time. Sometimes you don’t come close at all and that’s frustrating. And then at other times, it comes out perfect—better than you even imagined it. The stars somehow align: the actors bring something new to their characters that you hadn’t thought of, the DOP suggests a shot that’s more interesting that what you planned, and everything that’s supposed to work a certain way actually does! Those moments, the ones where you realize this is even better than what you fantasized, are magical. And you’ll never feel them as a writer; only as a director.

Prior to directing The Bride He Bought Online, I thought I preferred the purely creative process of sitting alone behind my computer and inventing a world and all the people (or creatures) in it. And I still love it. I don’t think I could ever give it up. But like most artists, I needed to expand. I needed to make new mistakes and try new things. I needed to forgive myself for those mistakes and learn from them. And in doing that, I not only became a better writer, but I discovered a new passion. And passion is what drives creative people. We thrive on rebirth. It’s just who we are.

The Bride He Bought Online premieres on Lifetime Network July 18 at 8 PM ET/PT. For more information and on-set photos, check out the film’s Facebook page, my FB page or Twitter #TheBrideHeBoughtOnline. And yes, there’s an IMDB page too.

Links:

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4819458/?ref_=ttfc_fc_tt

Movie Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheBrideHeBoughtOnline

Director Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ScreenwriterChristineConradt

Twitter: https://twitter.com/search?src=typd&q=%23TheBrideHeBoughtOnline

christineChristine Conradt, a graduate of the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, has been involved in production and development since 1996. She has earned writing and producing credits on more than 45 indie films and TV movies and just directed her first feature. Her movies have aired on Lifetime, LMN, USA, and Fox.  She also offers script consultation services. Check out her website and follow her on Twitter @CConradt.

The midyear screenwriter’s checklist: Keeping an eye on the big picture of your career…

June 30, 2015 § Leave a comment

BoulderFlatWe’re deep into ACT TWO of 2015 and who can believe it’s half over? It will be 2016 in a twinkle of an eye. I believe it’s always a powerful tool to look back over the previous year and critically analyze the good, the bad and the ugly choices we’ve made. Hopefully, you’ve learned from your failures and enjoyed your successes. Excuses abound, but what really matters is how productive have you been? Is there room for improvement? We must always adapt to survive while slogging it out in Hollywood’s trenches. Have you become a better screenwriter and have you been able to move yourself and your projects down the field? Have you opened doors and gained new “fans” of your writing? Have you been able to gain and hold new ground? Established new relationships and contacts? Created a solid body of material in a genre to show your unique voice? Sold or optioned a project? Follow your writing disciplines to stay on target?

screenwriter respect the climbThe responsibility for a screenwriter’s career begins and ends with the screenwriter. The hard fact: Your screenwriting career is probably the most important struggle to you and not to anyone else. Only you know the hard work and sacrifices you’ve endured for years going after your dream, so you need to protect your career path by taking responsibility for chartering the course of your career. Your time is precious and you need to constantly be moving forward and avoid the pitfalls of poor choices and negative experiences.

Too many times, I’ve heard screenwriters blame others for their own missteps or lack of success in Hollywood. Some writers look for the quick and easy way to success, but end up frustrated when their one script doesn’t sell, they have no other plans and they are not working on new material. Sure, it’s easier to soften the blow to blame the agent, manager, producer, or Hollywood itself for not getting your film made, but screenwriters need to step up and take more control over their choices. You can’t believe that every spec will sell—in fact most will not. Your new spec may not be the “one” — but one of many you’ll have to write and burn through until it jump starts your career.

Every time you write a new project on spec, you must consider how it fits into the bigger picture of your screenwriting goals. scripts 2It’s a risk when you write a spec and you are rolling the dice with your precious time. Did you just have a “fun idea” for a movie and thought it would sell, so you decided to spend months writing it hoping when you’re done for a huge payday? This is not an effective use of your time. If it’s your passion project and you must write it—do it and hopefully you’ve executed it properly and your passion will be there on the page—but choose your material wisely. REMEMBER: What you write about is as important as how you execute it and just because you write it doesn’t mean they will “love it. You’ll only figure this out after you meander through four or five scripts that don’t achieve the plateaus you had expected or do not sell. You’ll be forced to take a step back and examine your reasoning for embarking on the journey with each project.

If you’ve been successfully making noise with a particular genre, continue to establish yourself as an expert in that genre. script oddsWhen you secure a writing gig, you’ll move forward with steady work because you’ll be known for a genre. There is nothing wrong with being pigeonholed as a screenwriter. It means you’ll work and build up your résumé in a genre that you hopefully enjoy writing. Trust me, bouncing around for years with different scripts in different genres hoping that something sticks is a fool’s endeavor. I’ve been there. When something eventually hits and is a success, the producers will want more of the same from you in the way of screenwriting assignments—the bread and butter or working screenwriters. There is no shame in steady work. I find sometimes aspirants believe they’ll hold out and will only go with a script that is “their vision” and somehow it’s “selling out” to take a job offered writing something that maybe isn’t their favorite choice of material—but it’s a foot in the door.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, the odds are already stacked against you and time marches on so quickly. If you don’t believe the odds, consider that only 4,899 WGA members reported any income in a year (annual report ending in June) out of nearly 9,000 members. The other half did not work. Over half of those numbers who did report income were working in television. Think about those odds for a moment and then get back to work. And if you add the non-union screenwriters working… it can boggle the mind with more stats and there are no stats for non-union screenwriters working or not working. The main issue is that you must stay busy creating projects and casting your best scripts wide.

I’ve been blessed, this year was very busy for me and I’ve pushed various projects down the field to production. In the last ten months, I’ve had two films go into production. Late last year it was my thirteenth screenwriting assignment, “Mother of All Lies” and that was my seventh produced film. And my eight produced film is currently in production in Canada and will be released in January 2016.  I also completed writing the first season of a new web series that is out to financiers, I finished editing my new book on surviving in Hollywood’s trenches and plan to publish in late 2015 on Amazon, and this blog hit over 48,000 reads this year alone. I also created a new free app for screenwriters called SCREENWRITING GURU, I taught my new workshop to screenwriters in Rome, and continued to expand my screenwriting consulting business. We must stay active and not wait for others to open doors. We create new opportunities with every project that we create.

IMG_2016

So, it’s never too late, even though the year is nearly over, grab a piece of paper and if you haven’t yet, set up a game plan for the rest of 2015. Look back at the last six months and chart your successes and failures. Write down your goals. Hit the ground running and achieve your goals every day of the week. Treat your screenwriting like a business—it’s YOU, INC. and every decision you make affects your pathway to success. Ask yourself the hard questions: “Why are you writing this particular spec and will it serve you in the best way possible to create opportunities and open doors?” If you haven’t done this start now. Grab a piece of paper and…

1) Make a list of all viable projects. Completed scripts and what condition they are in—ready to be read, needs a rewrite, needs a polish, only a first draft, etc.  Add to the list any fleshed out pitches, log lines, one sheets, beat sheets or treatments. This is important if you cross paths with an agent or manager. They want to see you busy and prolific on your own. What do you have to offer? One script only and nothing as a follow-up? You’ll need a solid body of work to standout and it will take time to craft these projects.

2) Make a list of your achievements so far in 2015. Scrutinize the successes and failures so you can see where you need to pick up the slack in areas where you need to focus in the new year. List any accolades—did you win or place in a significant screenwriting competition? Did you option or sell a screenplay? Did you graduate from film school? Did you make any films, short movies or a webseries on your own? Did you work on a film production or complete an internship? Find a screenwriting mentor? List anything that shows you are working toward to your goals.

3) Make a list of any new contacts that you met by networking during the year.  If you have an e-mail, or the address of their company, send a holiday card. Nothing like the holidays as a good reason to reconnect, right? In January, make sure to send them a: “Midyear check in—hope this finds you well—this is what I’m doing” e-mail. It will put you back on their radar and if you list a few interesting projects, they might bite and ask for a read.

4) Make a list of potential deadlines for any rewrites or new ideas. Keep true to these self-imposed deadline as if they were real screenwriting jobs. Do not deviate from the commitment for anyone or any external forces. Trust me, either on purpose or by mistake, people will try to derail your schedule and will think it’s not that important because you’re writing on spec. It is that important. It’s vital training for the time when you finally do get a job on assignment and you’ll know how to keep a deadline under any conditions. Find respected screenwriting contests that you may want to enter and use their entry dates as a goal and deadlines to finish your new material.

5)  If you haven’t yet, attend more networking events before the year ends. Become a member of the International Screenwriter’s Association ( ISA ) for workshops, webinars and in person events in your area. Also Final Draft hosts meetups every month with known screenwriters and offers tips and many free networking events during the year. Network on Stage32.com also—it’s free and a great place to meet fellow filmmakers. Get out of your writing cave and meet other screenwriters and network. Make sure to support others and you will find they will help you.

6) If you don’t already, read scripts on a regular basis. Good scripts, bad scripts, classics—read! You’ll be surprised how much you learn from reading screenplays. Be careful of the screenplays that are posted during award season. Do not try to emulate their style as many are written in a protected bubble of development and were not specs, so they can get away with many things regarding format that you cannot with a spec from an unknown writer. “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” —Stephen King.

7) If you don’t already, read screenwriting blogs, books, articles and film websites with news about the film industry. You must do your homework on a daily basis and not expect your representation (if you’re lucky to have an agent or manager) to do it for you. Many things slip through the cracks and information is priceless currency in Hollywood. It can mean the difference between getting in a door with a meeting that could land you the next job that launches your career. A game plan helps you allocate your precious time wisely. It shows that you’re your serious about your career and treating your screenwriting as a professional—not just willy-nilly writing a script and hoping it will sell on its own merits. It’s rare that one script makes a career. It’s always one script that opens the door, but you’ll probably have to write five or six to get to that “ONE.”

The overnight success is usually a series of little successes along the way that lead up to continued success.  You have to consider how everything you do regarding your career fits into your bigger overall goals. Your career aspirations can’t live or die by one project and you can’t focus on “the one” and hope it unlocks the gates of Hollywood. It’s always going to be a numbers game with horrible odds of success. Even if you sell a screenplay, there are no guarantees and still so many hurdles to jump.

The good news is—the more quality material you create, the better chance you have of garnering interest and that may lead to a sale or assignment work.  Keep your eye on the big picture.  It’s like what Bruce Lee said in Enter the Dragon, “It’s like a finger pointing a way to the moon. Do not concentrate on the finger or you will miss all of the heavenly glory!” And read this eye opening essay on the current filmmaking business environment as you try to chase the Hollywood studios with your specs: “How the Death of Mid-Budget Cinema Left a Generation of Iconic Filmmakers MIA.” All my best wishes for a glorious and successful journey for the rest of 2015 and may it be the best year ever. Scriptcat out!

Download my new free app SCREENWRITING GURU from Yapp. Weekly script tips, videos, and links.

Also check out my YOUTUBE Channel with weekly videos offering script tips.

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Did you just complete your latest screenplay? Time for in-depth consultation? Check out my services by clicking on the blue icon below for the link to my website.

Screenplay consultation services

Have you lost focus on the bigger picture of your screenwriting career goals? Let me help you put it back in focus, check out my on-demand webinar: “A Screenwriter’s Checklist: 10 Questions Every Screenwriter Must Answer to Stay in the Game” now available to stream.

(click on photo below for the link to my streaming website)

checklist 2

“The professional prepares mentally to absorb blows and to deliver them.  His aim is to take what the day gives him.  He is prepared to be prudent and prepared to be reckless, to take a beating when he has to, and to go for the throat when he can.   He understands the field alters every day.   His goal is not victory (success will come by itself when it wants to) but to handle himself, his insides, as sturdily as he can.”— Steven Pressfield, “The War of Art

“You must be arrogant enough to believe that you can “make it”—but humble enough to know it’s a long journey with much to learn.”—Scriptcat

“So the only environment the artist needs is whatever peace, whatever solitude, and whatever pleasure he can get at not too high a cost. All the wrong environment will do is run his blood pressure up; he will spend more time being frustrated or outraged. My own experience has been that the tools I need for my trade are paper, tobacco, food, and a little whiskey.”—William Faulkner

“So give yourself that chance to put together the 80, 90 pages of a draft and then read it very in a nice little ceremony, where you’re comfortable, and you read it and make good notes on it, what you liked, what touched you, what moved you, what’s a possible way, and then you go about on a rewrite.”—Francis Ford Coppola

Scriptcat’s cool summer survival tips for your screenwriting journey…

June 24, 2015 § Leave a comment

smash head in wallThe year is half over and I hope you’ve created new opportunities that have pushed your screenplays closer to success. Trust me, I know if can feel like you’re banging your head against a wall hoping for a breakthrough, but finding the same results of rejection and criticism. I truly hope you’re busy creating a solid body of work and forging ahead on your screenwriting journey. I hope that I’ve been able to offer a few nuggets of advice that you’ve found helpful. In addition to my tips on Twitter (@scriptcat), my Youtube Channel and my free mobile app Screenwriting Guru, I’ll be posting new tips here every month in addition to new articles. Dig in as I’ve written over 180 articles on this blog. I’m also broadcasting live on the new app PERISCOPE. Check it out. Thanks for reading and as always: Carry on, keep the faith and keep screenwriting because if you stop you’re guaranteed never to have any chance at success! Okay, let’s get right to the action—here are a few more useful survival tips for your journey…

TIP #1 Act like a professional even when writing your specs. the key to being a professional screenwriterAs a screenwriter, you must consider writing a job and this helps you to think of yourself as a professional. As with any job, it comes with deadlines, requirements and expectations, so it’s good practice to follow professional disciplines as you prepare for the time when you do get paid to write. If you train yourself to work under a deadline, it’s not a shock when the producer requires you to complete a script by a certain date. It’s no longer the romanticized dream of spending endless time working on your spec to get it just right—it’s “go time” and you’re now playing in the big leagues—exactly where you belong. The producer or executive expects greatness from you and you generally have six to eight weeks to deliver the first draft and its excellence will decide if they keep you on to write a second draft, or fire you. This is not the time for a “vomit draft.” If you start meeting your own deadlines when writing your specs, it will be easier later when they pay you under contract to meet a deadline.

TIP #2 Don’t take criticism personally and realize that it’s part of the process. feedbackIf you’re going to play in the majors, you’re competing with the best and you must accept that sometimes you won’t find the validation you need. Many times feedback on your script is disappointing and your high expectations become squashed. Your ego’s bruised, beaten to a pulp and you to doubt your talent and chances for success. Don’t take it personally, because feedback is a rite of passage necessary for the growth of any aspiring screenwriter. If you want to survive over the long haul of a career, you’ll need to toughen up and build your courage to endure disappointment criticism and rejection. Learn how to filter the good notes from the bad and ugly notes. As you embrace this process, you’ll begin to look at constructive feedback as a positive experience that helps make your script better, helps push it closer to something a producer wants to produce, and teaches you how to collaborate as a team player so you can work again.

TIP #3 Talk is cheap in Hollywood and people want credit for their good intentions. Money makes it real. quote of the dayTake everything as face value for talk is the cheapest commodity in Hollywood. Many times interest in you or your script and the endless talk is just that—interest and talk. Many times meetings are just meetings.  Too may people want credit for their good intentions and many times a producer’s upbeat attitude about your project can become infectious. You want to believe that others see your dream and can realize it. Why not?  It’s what keeps us going as screenwriters—belief in our projects and the faith that success is just around the corner. I’m sure when producers and executives tell you that your project is going into production, they just might believe it themselves, but sometimes they tell a writer this to buy more free time. Producers want to keep a writer’s interest in hanging on until they “work out the pesky financing details” and it becomes the bait for more free work. If they can’t raise the money for the budget or they have no money in their development budget, there really is no money to pay the writer. Be understanding to a certain point and look at every situation through a risk/benefit filter. Are you willing to risk your free time with free rewrites on the possible chance a project “might” get produced? Get excited when a producer gives you a contract, you both sign it and you get paid. That’s the professional way—otherwise, you can’t live on the currency of good intentions. Now get back to your blank pages. If you stop writing you’re guaranteed never to have any chance at success. @Scriptcat out!

Download my new free mobile app SCREENWRITING GURU from Yapp! Receive my weekly screenwriting tips, videos and links. It’s free with no ads!

Also subscribe to my new YOUTUBE CHANNEL with weekly screenwriting video tips.

Do you lack focus or haven’t set goals for the year with regards to your career? Check out my on-demand webinar “A SCREENWRITER’S CHECKLIST — 10 Questions Every Screenwriter Must Answer to Stay in the Game”

(click on the icon below for the link)

checklist 2

Did you just complete your latest magnum opus? Time for in-depth screenplay consultation? Check out my services by clicking on the blue icon below for the link to my website and more information.

Screenplay consultation services “Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear?” ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

“Deliberate practice, by its nature, must be hard. When you want to get good at something, how you spend your time practicing is far more important than the amount of time you spend. Regular practice simply isn’t enough. To improve, we must watch ourselves fail, and learn from our mistakes.”—Florida State University’s Anders Ericsson

If you’re worried about failing, you ought to get into a different business, because statistics will tell you that sixty or seventy percent of the time you’re going to fail.  By fail I mean that the movie won’t make money.  Just do the best you can every time.  And if you’re going to stay in the movies, and you like movies—and I love them—you’d better love them a lot, because it’s going to take all of your time.  If you want to be in the movies, it’s going to break your heart.“—Richard Brooks, director of Blackboard Jungle, Sweet Bird of Youth, In Cold Blood, Looking for Mr. Goodbar

Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure. But the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria if you let it. [F]ailure means a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself to be anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena where I believe I truly belonged. [R]ock bottom became the solid foundation on which I built my life.” ~ J.K. Rowling

Tips to take a successful Hollywood meeting…

June 14, 2015 § Leave a comment

handshake cartoonI remember during the early days in my screenwriting career when I was excited to get a meeting—any meeting. It was my chance to get inside the inmost cave, behind the gates, and for a brilliant few minutes, I’d have the undivided attention of some Muckety-Muck:  Noun (mə-kə-tē-ˌmək\: “A person of great importance or self-importance : A big Hollywood Muckety-Muck.” I quickly learned after the first dozen meetings that sometimes a meeting is just a meeting. In fact, there are people whose job it is just to take meetings. They have no power to green light a project or kick it upstairs, they just meet daily with prospective aspirants and hope one will eventually deliver their next successful hit. If they like you and what you do, you just opened an important door and created a new opportunity. Meetings are necessary to network and build relationships.

I’ve met with everyone over the years—from assistants, agents, managers, low-level creative executives, producers, directors, actors, VP’s, heads of development, to presidents of production. Hollywood meetings are necessary to put a face with a project and to build new relationships. If your material sparked their interest, the meeting will be your audition to sell yourself, live in front of them. You hear about “being great in a room” and it’s necessary for them to like you and remember you for possible jobs in the future. Your script gets you inside and everything else is up to you including displaying a professional attitude and work ethic. You’ll spin plates, tap dance, juggle, fold balloons, breathe fire and perform your special magic on them. It’s what us writers do, right? time warp in Hollywood

Once your agent or manager sends out a project and casts the net wide, they wait for the feedback to trickle in.  Getting read in Hollywood seems to take forever, as there’s a bizarre time warp when it comes to business dealings.  But it’s understandable when you consider the tens of thousands of projects bouncing around town.  While your project is out there being considered, focus on your next piece of material and keep writing.  The distraction will help you from going crazy when it’s silent for a few weeks.

BoulderFlatOnce the feedback trickles in to your representation, they will set up meetings with everyone who wants to meet you—and you’ll take all of them. It’s your job to get in front of the Muckety-Mucks and dazzle them. Spin your plates or do hand stands for them. Your script got you behind the gates, now be great in the room. In fact, be fantastic.  You want to kick open as many doors as possible. Your script may not sell this time out, but the rounds of meetings you will take are the next important step in building a screenwriting career. It’s an numbers game at best, but if you’re constantly out there, mixing it up with the gate keepers with new projects, you’ll be holding new ground and advancing toward a sale or a writing assignment.

Examples of meetings? The general meeting, the pitch meeting, the “moving forward” meeting, and the notes meeting. The “general” meeting is just as it sounds: A meet and greet between you and the Muckety-Mucks. They may have read something of yours or maybe not, but they just want to get to know you and keep you on their radar.  It’s not about a specific project or job, but a chance for both of you to connect. Hopefully they tell you, “Keep in touch, we’d love to read your next project. The door is always open here.”

Make sure to leave a great first impression and show them you have developed a solid body of work—and you’ll be back. The “moving forward” meeting happens after a few early meetings and now it’s the big pow-wow to announce they’re putting your script into development and you’re getting paid. This is usually followed by the “notes meeting” where the producers or executives unleash their script changes, you take it on the chin. You go off and get the work done as you’re under a contract and getting paid—the best part.

Survival tips to help you take a successful meeting:

TIP #1

First impressions matter.

Always show up early to the meeting and come prepared. They will always make you wait, but that’s just one of those things. You don’t have the luxury of making a bad first impression. It starts from the moment they meet you and you can easily blow an opportunity if you don’t pay attention to the small details. It’s like a first date—did you answer your cell during dinner? A week goes by and you never hear back from your date and wonder why? It’s similar. Present your best professional image from the first handshake, to your pitch, and your follow-up.

TIP #2:

Be prepared. Know your backstory in a concise pitch as you are also pitching yourself in addition to your project. How did you start in the business? Did you go to film school? Do you have any screenplays produced? It’s your chance to craft a biography that will impress. Show them you’re open to rewrites and being a collaborator. It’s your time to display the best in your personality and professionalism. A script may have landed you the meeting, but they may not buy the script, but will ask, “What else are you working on?” Impress them with a solid body of material as they like screenwriters who are workhorses and can deliver the goods—not a “one script wonder.”

TIP #3

Do your homework. Know who you are meeting and a little about their background. Take a few minutes to Google them and in the meeting, reference some of your knowledge about their experience or career. They’ll appreciate your respect and be impressed enough to remember you as someone who values attention to detail. Muckety-Mucks like writers who have their shit together and present themselves as a confident professional. These are people they want to work with and can trust as team players.

TIP #4

scan4If you’re pitching, know your pitch inside and out and you have a solid body of work to back up the one project that got you through the door. Be ready for any questions they may throw at you. Always have a reply and prepare for back and forth improv a meeting can present. Keep it short and leave them wanting more. Deploy visual aids like a sizzle reel, photographs, paintings or anything visual that can help communicate the mood of your project. Pitch meetings are necessary, as it’s a chance to dazzle them in person with your ideas and memorable personality. They want to like you, but look for any reason to dislike you so be great in the room.

TIP #5

thank youSometime soon after the meeting, maybe within a week, send a “thank you” card to the person you met with to show your gratitude and to gently remind them of you. Most people in today’s world pay no attention to the small details of etiquette. It’s very old school to send a card and that’s exactly why it’s important. Executive’s assistants sort the incoming mail and the hand-written notes are always stacked on the top of the pile and read first. When the Muckety-Mucks are busy with a thousand other distractions in their daily commitments, your card will arrive and you’ll be a nice blip on their radar. They’ll appreciate the gesture and recall that not only are you a talented writer, but you’re respectful of their time and the opportunity they presented you.

You’re now acting as a professional, and preparing for when they allow you to play in the their big sandbox with their toys. Sometimes a meeting is just a meeting, but you have to treat every experience as the important opportunity if affords you to display yourself as a professional who offers professional quality work. As you continue these methods, they will become effortless and you’ll build a reputation that will eventually get you hired. You’ll step through the door you just opened into the coveted world of a working screenwriter in Hollywood.  Welcome, it’s a nice place to be working. Scriptcat out!

Did you just finish your latest draft and need in-depth and professional consultation? Check out my services.  Click on the icon below for the link to my website.  You never get a second chance to make a great first impression.

Screenplay consultation servicesFollow me on Twitter: @scriptcat and live on Periscope!

Download my free mobile app SCREENWRITING GURU from Yapp. It features my bi-weekly script tips, links and screenwriting videos.

Also subscribe to my YOUTUBE CHANNEL for weekly screenwriting videos.

Check out my webinar “A Screenwriter’s Checklist: 10 Questions Every Screenwriter Must Answer to Stay in the Game” now archived on my video channel for rent demand.  Click on icon below for link to rent the webinar.

checklist 2

“The professional prepares mentally to absorb blows and to deliver them.  His aim is to take what the day gives him.  He is prepared to be prudent and prepared to be reckless, to take a beating when he has to, and to go for the throat when he can.   He understands the field alters every day.   His goal is not victory (success will come by itself when it wants to) but to handle himself, his insides, as sturdily as he can.”— Steven Pressfield, “The War of Art

“You must be arrogant enough to believe that you can “make it”—but humble enough to know it’s a long journey with much to learn.”—Scriptcat

“So the only environment the artist needs is whatever peace, whatever solitude, and whatever pleasure he can get at not too high a cost. All the wrong environment will do is run his blood pressure up; he will spend more time being frustrated or outraged. My own experience has been that the tools I need for my trade are paper, tobacco, food, and a little whiskey.”—William Faulkner

“So give yourself that chance to put together the 80, 90 pages of a draft and then read it very in a nice little ceremony, where you’re comfortable, and you read it and make good notes on it, what you liked, what touched you, what moved you, what’s a possible way, and then you go about on a rewrite.”—Francis Ford Coppola

The art and craft of networking—it’s vital to your survival as a screenwriter…

June 10, 2015 § 2 Comments

handshake cartoonYou can’t sit in your protected bubble, writing your specs and believe that Hollywood will come knocking at your door with balloons, champagne and a giant check like you just won the lottery. It’s not going to happen. You have to get out there and make them notice you—mix it up and meet with other filmmakers, make valuable contacts, be a good contact, help and support others, share your work, take it on the chin with criticism and rejection, come back again with better work, create opportunities, open doors and move farther down your screenwriting pathway to success.

Networking is vital to your success over the long haul. If you’re just starting out, it will take a few years to build solid contacts and you’ll need the time to create a body of work. You have to offer something of merit and not expect that just because you wrote a screenplay that anyone cares or owes you a read. Also just because you know someone in the business, it’s not their responsibility to give you a break. Make your own breaks by creating well-written screenplays that reflect your unique “voice” and talent. You must have something amazing to offer—if not you’re just one of the many aspirants in the pile of 50,000 scripts a year that bounce around Hollywood.

Yes, a contact can help open the door, but it’s up to you to close the deal. You must respect that when they introduce you or help pass your script along, they are sticking their neck out for you and their reputation is on the line. The worst scenario would be if you used a contact to secure a meeting or a read and you blew the meeting or wasted their contact’s time being unprofessional. It would reflect badly on your contact and you’ll burn your bridge with them if you fail to respect these working professionals. Every project is either a new opportunity or a failed opportunity. It depends on the way you choose to play it.

A writer’s life’s blood is their relationships and this directly leads to securing work and getting hired for jobs. A solid discipline to follow during this long period is patience as it will take time to establish yourself as an excellent screenwriter before you can fully cultivate your film industry relationships. I’m sure along the way you’ve already discovered that many contacts talk more than act. Talk is cheap and it’s free to string you along with promises and excitement around a project and this can end up with the question, “If you can do a rewrite with our notes we might option it.” Don’t work for free and if you do—calculate the risk/benefit on your part because you’re giving away your most precious commodity—your time.

how to be a professional screenwriterYou’ll come across people who drop names and spin fabulous stories of their endeavors, but under closer scrutiny they’re really a house of cards ready to collapse. Professionals can immediately recognize an aspirant by their talent and the way they act. Given time, you’ll get better at recognizing those who are serious and those who just talk. If you always keep true to your word and focus on becoming a better screenwriter, your integrity will stand out and you’ll be on your way to building a solid reputation with those professionals who will recognize when you are ready, and will be happy to work with you.

As you build your solid network of contacts make sure that you are generous with those who deserve your time. If someone helps you—pay it forward. Offer help to others and it will eventually come back to you ten fold. If asked, read a contact’s script and offer notes. Help out with a live script reading. Work on a contact’s film production or short movie. Support a contact by attending their film’s screening. Even if you help someone and there is no pay, always do your best work because you leave behind the imprint of your reputation. Show your contacts at every level that you are a talented and generous professional who takes the craft seriously. When you project a professional attitude you will attract like-minded artists.

thAs you gain experience over time, you’ll quickly learn how to weed out the aspirants and bullshitters from the professional minded folks. The professionals are the ones who you want to keep as contacts. Professionals in Hollywood like to work and collaborate with people they can trust to deliver the goods on time. They will always evaluate you based upon your talent, but if they find it difficult to work with you, they will usually pick the writer who is a team player over the diva who is more talented. There just isn’t time to put up with a screenwriter’s ego getting in the way of a working relationship.

If you’re a team player and collaborator you’ll recognize your contacts who are team players and people you can trust. If you’ve helped them in the past, they will be more likely to go out of their way to help you when asked. As you build a solid network of contacts—be a solid and trusted contact yourself. It can’t be a one-sided relationship.  Respond to your contacts in a timely manner, help them when you can, and show them from your actions that you are worthy of being in their network. If you do ask a contact for help, do not play that card unless you are absolutely ready.

I’ve kept many important industry contacts for years and never asked them for help until I was finally writing at a level to seriously compete as a professional. The mistake many beginning writers make is prematurely asking a contact for help with they are not working at a professional level. Learn patience and focus on becoming an excellent screenwriter first before you consider using your contacts for help.

You never know where your contacts will lead and that is why you need to build a solid list through networking.  Here’s a good example of my own personal experience: After I graduated from film school and I was just starting out, my girlfriend at the time had a friend who was a producer’s assistant and she believed in my spec script (my fifth script) and got another assistant interested whose boss was about to form a new production company. He opened shop and got his boss to option my script, they eventually bought it, produced the film and it sold internationally. My contact’s position in the company grew over the years, he eventually became the President of Production, and years later he hired me for over a half-dozen paid script assignments.

You never know where your contacts will lead. While you are networking and building your solid relationships, make it easy for people to contact you. Spend the money for professional business cards. Do not print them on your computer or use a typewriter logo or other icons on the card. If you’ve ever seen a true professional’s business card it’s plain, simple and clean. No fancy icons or director’s chairs—just contact information. This is part of your professional image that you project and your card will represent you long after you hand it out. I remember once spending a half hour talking to a guy who name dropped and inflated his projects only to have him slide me a business card printed from his computer. His card listed five jobs that he supposedly does including “director, writer, actor, producer, and P.A.” I’m not kidding. The guy listed production assistant with those other abilities.

Not the real card.

After reading his ridiculous business card, he lost all credibility and I didn’t believe anything that he said.

His amateur business card didn’t hold up to the professional image that he tried to project. In this wildly competitive business, networking and solid contacts are the life’s blood of a screenwriter’s career. As you work on your craft and build your professional reputation, it’s important to cultivate your business relationships and respect the opportunities they can offer.  But you can only utilize your contacts to the fullest when you are working at a professional level.  When you establish yourself as a working screenwriter, your professional contacts are so important and will mean the difference between working and not working.

Click on this icon for the link

Another good way to make contacts with like minded people is attending film festivals and panel discussions from professionals in the business. A great festival is coming up later this year, the 22nd Annual Austin Film Festival & Conference ion October 29th to Novemeber 5th and they have confirmed panelists such as Norman Lear, Shane Black, Jack Burditt, David Wain, Kelly Marcel and Terry Rossio (along with other writers, industry agents and creative executives) to celebrate of narrative storytelling. Not only will you meet others and make valuable contacts, you can learn valuable first hand knowledge from there veterans of the business.

austin badgesThey have an early badge price deadline and it’s fast approaching (June 15th!) and you can get a discount of $50 if you click on the icon at the left it will take you to the website and then use the discount code: CON300.  This sale ends at 11:59pm on Sunday, June 14th so jump on it!  They offer 4 Badge levels for entry into their October festival. Badge holders not only have priority entry into all 8 days of films, they also receive entry into  Conference Panels (days dependent on badge level). Look through the different options, and find which badge is the perfect fit for you!

Keep networking and building solid relationships with a trusted network of contacts that can help lead you down the road to success.

Scriptcat out!

If you need professional screenplay consultation services please check out my website by clicking on the icon below for the link.  You never get another chance to make a first great impression.

Follow me on Twitter: @scriptcat and Periscope

Download my free mobile app SCREENWRITING GURU from Yapp. It sends out bi-weekly script tips from my upcoming book A Screenwriter’s Journey to Success coming to Amazon this summer.

Visit my YOUTUBE CHANNEL and subscribe for my weekly screenwriting videos.

Check out my archived webinar:

A Screenwriter’s Checklist: 10 Questions Every Screenwriter Must Answer to Stay in the Game”

(click on the icon below for the link to rent the webinar)

checklist 2

A professional respects his craft.  He does not consider himself superior to it.  He recognizes the contributions of those who have gone before him.  He apprentices himself to them.”—Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

“The professional understands delayed gratification.  He is the ant, not the grasshopper; the tortoise, not the hare… the professional arms himself with patience, not only to give the stars time to align in his career, but to keep himself from flaming out in each individual work. He knows that any job, whether it’s a novel or a kitchen remodel, takes twice as long as he thinks and costs twice as much. He accepts that.  He recognizes it as reality. He conserves his energy. He prepares his mind for the long haul. He sustains himself with the knowledge that if he can just keep the huskies mushing, sooner or later the sled will pull in to Nome.”—Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

“This is, if not a lifetime process, it’s awfully close to it. The writer broadens, becomes deeper, becomes more observant, becomes more tempered, becomes much wiser over a period time passing. It is not something that is injected into him by a needle. It is not something that comes on a wave of flashing, explosive light one night and say, ‘Huzzah! Eureka! I’ve got it!’ and then proceeds to write the great American novel in eleven days. It doesn’t work that way. It’s a long, tedious, tough, frustrating process, but never, ever be put aside by the fact that it’s hard.”—Rod Serling

“Life in the movie business is like the beginning of a new love affair. It’s full of surprises and you’re constantly getting fucked.”—David Mamet

“The time we have alone; the time we have in walking; the time we have in riding a bicycle; are the most important times for a writer. Escaping from a typewriter is part of the creative process. You have to give your subconscious time to think. Real thinking always occurs on the subconscious level.”—Ray Bradbury

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