Looking over some older interviews, I thought I would share some advice from screenwriters I have met. Some of these insights have helped me. I hope they help you. Enjoy!
“The best advice, of course, is to write. Write all the time. Beyond that, get involved. Every community has their aspiring filmmakers and those filmmakers are generally always looking for scripts. Find out how you can work with them to get your name out there. With the opening up of the movie industry, there are so many possibilities. If you can’t find others to work with, make your own film. Just do it! Don’t let any mountain be an obstacle.” Screenwriter, Debra Doggett
“Two things stand out in my learning process. First, screenwriting is hard but exhilarating. Second, it pays to write both the book and the script as well. James Dalessendro who was one of the speakers at our San Francisco mini-conference told me he does the same thing and encouraged me to continue that process.” Screenwriter, Evelyn Morgan
“Identify your strengths and make those your mantras, and then persist.” Screenwriter Nancy Haddock
“It takes a long time to hone your craft. I’ve been writing scripts for only four years and with every script I write, my writing skills get stronger, my structural skills get stronger, and my confidence builds. I script doctor a little on the side as well. One of my clients was frustrated with his lack of progress since he began writing two years ago and asked me if he should give up. My answer was ‘Hell, no!’ It takes years to hone your skills. I’m not there yet. Sure, I’ve had some success at this, but you can’t just throw your hands up in the air if you don’t place in a contest or no one ever reads your synopsis on Inktip. You just have to write a better story, learn from your mistakes and move on.
Get yourself into a writers’ group or form one yourself with other writers, and by writers, I mean screen-writers. Don’t think for a moment that your family members, friends, or even your fiction writers’ group can give you the type of feedback you need on scripts. I’ve been with the same group for two years now. We call ourselves ‘The Strivers’ – we’re all striving for success in this business. We meet every three weeks religiously, have strict guidelines for critiquing, and really try to help each other move the ball forward. We talk about our frustrations, we talk about screenwriting in general, we talk about the industry, we celebrate each members’ achievements, and we provide the type of moral support screenwriters need, knowing the odds that face us. Get yourself a posse. It’s worked wonders for me.
The other advice I’d give to other writers is that writing the script is only half the job. Once you write FADE OUT, your job isn’t over. Phase One is over. Phase Two, the marketing Phase, is just beginning. You need to keep in mind that with every script you have, you need to have a business plan for that script, to get it sold or produced. That’s the end game. This means time spent with the Hollywood Creative Directory. This means investing in contest entries. This means sending out a really well-crafted query letter to multiple contacts. This means sitting down and putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) and creating a physical business plan for each script.” Screenwriter, Karen Webb