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Creativity

7 Things to Do After You’ve Finished Your First Draft

You’ve spent six months to a year breaking your story, outlining it, then sitting down to write the screenplay. You’ve finished your first draft. It’s far from perfect. Some people call the first draft “the vomit draft.” The important thing is – you finished it.

You might have been working a day job, writing when you could. You might have had to support a family, and had to make difficult sacrifices. It can be emotionally exhausting....
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Career Strategy

Writer’s Voice: Look Deeper

Examining your emotions, attitudes and opinions are all part of self-discovery, which is a great way to find your voice.  Set aside some time now and then to complete a thorough inventory of how you feel about events in your life.

Think about what’s important to you. Art? Money? Relationships? Are you devoted to your family, to your job, to healing others, to running for office, to art, or even some academic field like anthropology.

Everyone’s different. For...
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General

Writing With A Partner

There are so many benefits to writing with a partner that I recommend it for writers lucky enough to find someone they’re compatible with. For example, and most importantly, you both need to be interested in the same career goals; writing TV comedy, writing TV drama, or writing comedic or dramatic feature screenplays.

I’ve tried to work with writers who really only wanted to do one specific type of dramatic comedy. One writer I tried to work...
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Career Strategy

Writer’s Voice: Embrace Your Oddity

Finding your voice is a lot like looking deep inside yourself and trying to figure out what makes you a different person from everybody else.

Most writers don’t give it a lot of thought. They just keep writing until they develop a voice. It just comes with time and lots and lots of writing. What if writers made more of a purposeful effort to find their own voice? It could save them months and years of writing...
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Career Strategy

Finding Your Sceenwriting Mentor

The first rule about finding a mentor is it’s all about them. At first. You want to build a relationship that works for both of you, not a one way street. If they're not getting anything out of the relationship, it's not going to work.

It will help if you two hit it off over something other than writing. You can find out if your mentor gives to certain charities, or if he’s interested in race cars,...
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Career Strategy

Myth: A Great Idea Will Sell Your Script

A lot of rookie screenwriters think they have a great idea for a screenplay.  They might; they might not. For the sake of argument, let’s say a rookie comes up with what he thinks is a really good idea.

He writes a screenplay.  Being inexperienced, he may not know what a really well-executed screenplay looks like. He’ll do his best.

Just finishing a script feels pretty good to a beginner;  regardless of the quality.  So he might be...
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Creativity

Bad Movies Don’t Justify Writing Weak Scripts

“There are so many bad movies out there. I know I could write a better screenplay!” said just about every screenwriter out there. How about you? Have you ever said that, or thought that after watching a lousy film?

A lot of writers find motivation after seeing a movie that fails. It may be boring, have huge plot holes, unlikable characters, or hundreds of other possible flaws. The tone of the film might be all over the...
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Career Strategy

Does The 10,000 Hour Rule Apply To Screenwriters?

“The emerging picture…is that ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert—in anything. In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals, and what have you, this number comes up again and again.”
Daniel Levitin
Neurologist

What does this mean for screenwriters? Does it take 10,000 hours to become a great writer?

In his book, The Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell discusses what...
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Career Strategy

Myth: Your First Script Will Get Produced


When you come to Hollywood to try to make it as a writer, you get all kinds of advice, and hear all kinds of stories and rumors about how to “break in.” Many of them seem true on the face of them, but they’re actually misinterpretations of stories that circulate about successful writers.

To really succeed at writing, you need to know the difference between what’s really going on and what other people think, or what the...
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Career

Famous Screenwriters On Their Big Breaks

Every writer in Hollywood has a different success story.  Some were lawyers, bartenders, or video store clerks who loved movies and wrote on the weekends.  Some were actors who decided they could write better than most of the material they read. A few of them had mentors to guide them. Others had to figure it out all by themselves.

I gathered some stories about famous writer’s paths to success, and found some quotes that might be helpful....
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