Screenwriting Like a Boss: The Writing Process
Create a strong game plan to guide your career. Break down long-term goals into short-term actionable steps. As you progress towards those goals, you’ll start to gauge the pace at which you can hit your targets. From there, you can get an idea of how long certain goals are going to take and where you can push yourself to work harder and work smarter.
It always comes down to the writing. Writing consistently will separate you from all the other screenwriters in LA. The more you write, develop your skillset and grow as an industry professional, the more the odds fall in your favor. There are no guarantees, but there are things we can do to tip the balance of probability. Prepare yourself for any possibility by doing everything you can to be a well-informed, well-written and smart writer.
- What do you want?
- How do you want to get it?
- Create a game plan.
There’s conflicting advice: write from the heart versus write what sells. Why not do a little of both? I, for one, can’t craft a plot around a story that I’m not interested in telling.
If you’re making your own short film or feature film, maybe you don’t need to write an “idea that sells.” You have the freedom to take more chances, experiment with what you love, go against the status quo.
If you’re trying to get represented from a script (without making a proof of concept), writing an experimental indie drama might make it hard for your script to seep through the Hollywood filter and into the hands of an agent or manager. Think of how many people your writing passes through before finding a home. When your idea is more universal or easy to sell, it has greater potential to land in the friendly hands of a reader who “gets it.” Also consider the fact that, reps can’t make a lot of money off of a small indie. But you will find someone that gels with your style and your unique vision, so don’t give up if you have a very specific niche. It takes time.
I generally think that strong writing will get noticed- that at some level, it doesn’t matter what you are writing as long as you exhibit potential and expertise.
On the other hand, getting writing jobs, working consistently, and making any money requires the ability to work with ideas that aren’t your own and ideas that are more universal. Starting out, just write. For those initial scripts, choose what you think is your best idea and go with it. Then keep writing and adapt as you see fit.
- Choose a great idea.
- Write something else. Then write something else.
- Create consistency and routines.
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