Do You Have what It Takes To Become A screenwriter?
There are many techniques, tips and tricks that I will talk about them later on in the scriptwriting section, but before that, I think you should look inside yourself and see if you really have what it takes to become a professional screenwriter. Looking at all the writers who really succeeded, one can see a number of common features to all. I will try to review some of them here
Creativity and originality in script writing
Script writing is all about being original and creative. Now I’m not talking about re-inventing the wheel here. Take Pulp Fiction or Memento, for example, They both tell a pretty simple story- Memento is an ex-insurance investigator who tries to find his wife’s murderer and Pulp fiction is about two hitmen trying to get a stolen bag back to their boss. In both cases, the stories are not that original, but the way the stories are told- the structure of those films, the characters, and the dialogs are very original.
As a beginner screenwriters, though, it is important to be original and stand out. I will write about inspiration and creativity later on in the blog, but the crucial thing to understand is that you have to be affected by life and not TV or the other movies you’ve seen. You can not know from where inspiration will come, so you should be ready all the time. It will also help greatly if you surround yourself with creative people but, on the other hand, don’t be too affected by them too. Allow yourself to be alone from time to time and figure out what you have to say to the world.
Click here to read about finding your own voice
“You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’
But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not’?”
George Bernard Shaw
Flexibility with the script writing
Script writing is not an art that stands on it’s on. A film is produced by a very large group of people and lots of money is invested. You will be required to be flexible and compromise with your story. Of course, you do not have to sell your soul to the devil so fast, but know how to balance with what the producers want and what you want. I recommend reading the Make low budget film article to understand what the producer look at in the script when he plans the budget.
Commitment to your script
The main thing to remember in script writing is – Do not give up no matter what! When You start working on your first script, it will be something like this – you sit in front of the blank page in a notebook or on a computer and just stare at it. It could be an hour, two hours or a full day. You do it every day. Never Give Up. Take a notebook everywhere you write down scenes in every spare moment you got. If carrying a notebook is too heavy for you, I recommend using an app called celtx script – Celtx Inc. It’s a great app that many screenwriters are using. The app allows you to be able to work on your script anytime and anywhere. The app also helps you to write formatted scripts right away and to share it with your partners.
Even when you finish writing the script, you will still be required to do many rewrites. Keep doing that until you have something that you, the director, and the producer are happy with.
Courage to be in the business of scriptwriting
If you really believe you can make a living, only from your brain, so either you crazy or you have great courage. This script writing business is something very hard to do in the evenings after work (although that is not impossible). If you’re committed to the script, you’ll have to sit on it for days and that means no day job. It is important to ask yourself, are you really able to do it.
Know how to speak
It’s kind of sucks, but you will need to know how to sell yourself and your script. There is a thing called Pitch – the scriptwriter has something like a minute and a half to present his story to producers and to convince them that he is the person to tell this story. We will deal with this issue later on in the scriptwriting section of the blog, although I think it’s the least important things. At least not as important as knowing to write.
Knowing how to look
To be good writers, you should turn off your autopilot and start to be present. Start paying attention to what is happening around you and start asking questions about what is happening. Stop hanging out with headphones in your ears and listen to the conversation around you and ask questions about what you see- what this guy story? Why this mother yells at her children in the mall? What’s her problem? Take a small notebook and write anything interesting you see, even if at the moment it does not look like something suitable for the film.
Be Able to accept criticism
Perhaps the hardest part of the profession of script writing is the criticism. You worked on the scene all night. Suddenly there was a breakthrough, you ask a friend to read it and he doesn’t understand what you wrote. The trick is to know who to listen to and how. If a friend did not like the script, you do not have to run out immediately and change everything. Try to figure out what it is he did not like and most importantly, show the script to more people and see whether they think the same way. Be open minded to new ideas when you get criticism on your script and don’t be stubborn, but also didn’t change the script just to fit to the others opinions.
If you do not have a strong need for writing, you might want to give up the idea. This script writing business is a very difficult process, which can cost many frustrations and anger. If you do not really need to do this, you should never start. Writing is something that burns inside of you and you have to let it out. Most professional screenwriters say that, even when they are not working on a screenplay, they are writing every day. They just must. The most important thing in writing the screenplay for a movie is to love movies. Writing a screenplay is a process completely different from writing a novel. You have to really love the field of film and to know how to express yourself properly in this medium. Watch as many movies and read many scripts, to learn the tricks screenwriters made there. So now you see that you have everything you need, you can go in and start learning how you can write the script of your life.