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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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Career Strategy

What Famous Screenwriters Say About Rejection



“I couldn’t get past the readers in the studios.  The minute the people,  actually at the studios who read boring scripts all the time, actually read my scripts they’re like --this shit is awesome, send it right to us.  But the readers would never let it get there.” --Quentin Tarantino

Rejection.  It’s important to remember that it’s happened to every screenwriter.  No one magically starts writing great screenplays.  It’s a process of trial and error.  You learn,...
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Career Strategy

Writer’s Mindset : How to get a Recommendation

What does it look like when your script gets recommended at the studio level by a reader? This is the coverage I put together for the Susan Cooper's 1973 Newberry Award-winning novel entitled The Dark Is Rising.

If you've never seen coverage of a script you've written, or any script for that matter, I think it will help to see what you're aiming for.  You want the story analyst who reads your script to give you a...
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Career Strategy

Writers’ Mindset: Write For The Gatekeepers

I worked as a story analyst, aka “reader”, or “gatekeeper” for a studio after attending film school.  Fortunately, they offered a course there in how to write coverage at USC.  So while trying to break into the business, I was able to earn rent money in my chosen field.

Story analysis is not an easy job.  It teaches you to read and evaluate a screenplay quickly.  You don’t have time to pore over the material and really...
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Career Strategy

Writer’s Mindset: Just Get Your Foot In The Door

You can break into screenwriting in a million different ways.  Don’t listen to people who tell you that you have to do it “their way.”  Like everything else about this town, the only rule is there are no rules.  You succeed in your own way.

There’s a good reason, then, not to be too laser-focused on a specific goal.  If you start out with the goal of  writing only historic dramas, you’d be well advised to consider...
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Career Strategy

Even The Best Screenwriters Get Rewritten

A lot of aspiring screenwriters think that when they become established screenwriters they will be able to preserve their vision in their work.  However, unlike playwrights and novelists, they will never have the last word on their screenplays.

Even the best screenwriters get rewritten.

The most important reason for rewrites is to get a film -- that’s not yet green lit – off the fence and into production.  You can envision various scenarios where this might happen.  Let’s...
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Creativity

Mindset: Write Like A Low Budget Producer

In recent years, the market for “big budget” studio screenplays has pretty much dried up for novice screenwriters. The studios are going to their “go to” produced writers – with considerable track records -- who they feel are already “proven.”

Studios aren’t taking a lot of chances on much of anything these days. There are all kinds of reasons. Some say piracy is so rampant, that the studios need to make hundreds of millions of dollars to...
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Career Strategy

Screenwriters – Get Used To Being Rewritten

“I was fired off one big high-pressure type movie, but I heard about it in the worst way, in a form of gossip from my agent, who'd heard the studio had hired so-and-so to work on my movie. Nobody had told me I was fired, so the hiring took me a tad by surprise. I called the studio executive I'd been working with and said, "Did you just hire so-and-so to rewrite me?" And he sighed...
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Career Strategy

Where Do Writers Find Day Jobs And Gigs?

“KARMIC FILMS IS LOOKING FOR SCREENWRITERS FOR NEW SUPERHERO.

Attention all screenwriters.  Karmic Films is looking for screenwriters to help with the new superhero franchise, this will lead to a full-time writing position with our company.  If you are interested, send in your resume and we will have one of our trained reps get in contact with you if we like you.”

--Craigslist Ad

Aspiring writers need to pay the rent, eat and somehow get around town while they...
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