In our first article, Making it as a Screenwriter: What it Takes to Get Started and Be Successful we talked about some of the harsh realities of breaking into Hollywood as a writer. It’s a tough shell to crack, but that’s all you need to do: one tiny crack, one small door that opens for you… then it all changes.
But you have to be prepared for that door to open. So where do you begin? Ask yourself these questions:
1. Am I a creative person?
2. Can I imagine whole worlds or places?
3. Do I understand human motivation?
4. Am I a visual storyteller?
5. Can I be self-disciplined and structure my time?
6. How do I deal with rejection, being told “no” and someone else rewriting my work?
7. Do I have sufficient income to sustain me while I learn?
Serious questions if you want to become a paid and working screenwriter. By the way, most emerging screenwriters have a “real job” they continue to work at while practicing the craft of screenwriting. The dream of selling your first script for a million dollar deal is just that… a dream. Nothing wrong with it and we all have it. Just know that those types of deals are far and few between. We will cover more on deals and what you could realistically expect in a later article.
All right. Let’s assume you’ve made the decision to plunge forward and you want to learn what it takes to stand out from all the other thousands of working writers. Great! Consider yourself a very special kind of person; someone who will never look at a movie on TV or in the theater quite the same way again… ever.
So how do you start? Simple… you read.
I know, it sounds boring, but this will put you so far ahead of many other screenwriters, you will be glad you did. What do you read? There are hundreds of books, DVDs and on-line blogs that offer all sorts of methods, techniques, and clever ways to learn screenwriting. But we are talking about the FIRST time you learn, the FIRST exposure you have to what it takes to become a screenwriter. In the industry, there is one book that is widely accepted by Hollywood as one of the best resources for screenwriters: The Screenwriter’s Bible by Dave Trottier.
This is not a shameless plug for his book, but a mere fact. I spent an entire year flailing around on the web, reading, taking some lackluster on-line courses, and I only ending up learning the wrong way to do things. Then I found Dave Trottier’s book. Even today I get Producers asking me “How did you learn to write?” “What resources did you use?” When I answer with the title of Dave’s book, you can hear them nod over the phone. It’s called credibility. One more step toward cracking the Hollywood egg. Producers understand his book therefore they understand you and assume you are serious.
In our next Article, we will talk about other resources such as on-line classes and live seminars you can attend to learn more about screenwriting.