Scriptcat’s screenwriting advice: Three more tips to help navigate Hollywood’s trenches…
October 14, 2016 § Leave a comment
As the year winds down, I hope you’ve created a solid body of work that created opportunities to push 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. If you’re stuck and need an objective eye on your latest screenplay, I offer screenplay consultation services thorugh my website and offer tips on Twitter (@scriptcat) and my Youtube Channel.
Dig in, as I’ve written 200 articles on this blog and if you like what you’re reading—sign up in the right column to receive blog posts via e-mail and new offers. I’m also broadcasting live on the new app PERISCOPE. Check it out. Also my new book, A Screenwriter’s Journey to Success is going to be published next month on Amazon. Thanks for reading and as always: Carry on, keep the faith and keep screenwriting. Okay, let’s cut to the chase and get right to the action—here are a few more useful survival tips for your journey…
ESTABLISH AND BUILD YOUR REPUTATION AS A SCREENWRITER DAILY
You must understand that everyone’s opinion about working with you matters. If you garner a reputation as being “difficult,” producers and others will choose not work with you again. Hollywood is all about working relationships and time is too precious and a lot of money is at stake on a project to deal with hassles. There are just too many other capable writers out there who are not divas and can get the job done. This is one of the most important lessons that I’ve learned on my nearly twenty year professional journey as a screenwriter—a solid reputation is vital to establishing a professional career. Hollywood is a business of relationships and networking. People generally like to work with those people they’ve had a positive experience with in the past and who they can trust to deliver the work.
TIP # 2
ALWAYS PROTECT YOUR TIME – IT’S YOUR GREATEST ASSET OR WORST ENEMY
The best discipline you can master early in you screenwriting journey is being mindful of time. As writers we must regard our writing time as precious and do everything in our power to protect our working time from the forces of interruption and procrastination. When we are writing we are “on the clock” and working as you would at any job. I know many non-writers who do not regard writing as real work and believe it’s just playtime like coloring with crayons because it’s creative. Ah, they don’t know any better. They’ve never tried to write a feature-length screenplay. We have more things to distract us writers today than ever before, so it helps to turn off your phone and stay off the web. Choosing the right place to write will also help you to protect your precious writing time. If you’re constantly interrupted as you write at home, consider working at the library, a coffee shop or even renting a small space to write. As renting an office can become pricy, many paid workspaces have sprung up where you can buy membership access to a quiet working environment.
TIP # 3
AS YOU NETWORK AND BUILD RELATIONSHIPS – PAY IT FORWARD!
As you build your solid network of contacts with people who take their precious time to help you—spread your generosity with those who deserve your time. If someone helps you and you have the chance—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.
Keep writing and filling your pages because if you stop—you’re guaranteed to never have any shot at success. This is a business with no guarantees even when you do sell a screenplay.
Did you just finish your latest script or a new draft? Do you need a second set of eyes for feedback? Check out my screenplay consultation services. Click on the icon below for the link to my website and more information.
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“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
“With the door shut, downloading what’s in my head directly to the page, I write as fast as I can and still remain comfortable. Writing fiction, especially a long work of fiction, can be a difficult, lonely job. It’s like crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a bathtub. There is plenty of opportunity for self-doubt. If I write rapidly, putting down my story exactly as it comes into my mind, only looking back to check the names of my characters and the relevant parts of their back stories, I find that I can keep up with my original enthusiasm and at the same time outrun the self-doubt that’s always waiting to settle in.”—Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
“Hunger is good discipline and you learn from it. And as long as they don not understand it you are ahead of them. Oh sure, I thought, I’m so far ahead of them now that I can’t afford to eat regularly. It would not be bad if they caught up a little.” —Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast, page 75.