First Rules On Screen Writing

 

Writing a screenplay can sound frightening to some. There are rules, structure, formatting, and many more elements that make film students scared to their bones. The good news is that writing a screenplay is not as hard as it sounds. In this blog, I’m going to give you tips and insights into writing a great script that will be sell. 

 

What does it take to become a screenwriter?

The truth is that there are no sure ways to become a screenwriter. It’s a challenging and competitive road to take. It’s not going to be hard just because of the industry. In most cases, you will have to work as a freelancer, which is not an easy life in any industry. If you think you are on an easy path to fame and fortune in Hollywood, you are going to be surprised.

Another thing I must tell you is that there are wrong reasons to become a writer. If you dream about writing because:

  • You want money
  • You want to change the words with your mind
  • You think it’s a good step in your way to becoming a novel writer

These are all terrible reasons to become a writer! You will fail if these are the only reasons you want to start writing for movies

There is another skill besides writing you will have to develop – the ability to be criticized and judged a lot. But if you’ll succeed, you’ll get to tell your story and bring your point of view of this work to your audience, and that’s the greatest gift anyone can ever ask (Especially writers). 

Read the articles in this script writing course to learn the essential craft of becoming a creative and professional screenwriter. If you want to deepen your knowledge, many paid classes are recommended. But for now, I recommend starting with the free lessons in this course.

MONEY

How much do scriptwriters get paid?

Now, as I said before, you shouldn’t do this for the money. But I’ll be a fool to act as you don’t think about it at all. We all want to make a living, so we need to talk about money. The first thing you need to know is that you won’t get paid if you don’t write anything. Unlike any other job, you need to show something to get paid, which means you might need to do a little writing without getting paid at first. 

So you may have heard about Shane Black, writer of  The Last Boy Scout, who got nearly $2 million for the script or Joe Eszterhas that got $4 million for Basic Instinct. But these are the 1 percent. They are the ones that control the market and ask for whatever price they want. 

They are also the screenwriters that sometimes write hits and sometimes write flops. But they keep getting hired. They will usually get around five to six-figure checks. They’re working writers, and they are working all the time. They’re either pitching, writing for different projects at the same time, and always looking for ways to make more connections. 

There is the rest which are screenwriters that are not very known, but they get jobs. They fight for each stage, they find themselves doing more pitching than writing and the get more writing assignments than real movie or TV writings. They usually make around afive-figure deals. They mange to make the bills but they don’t have a permanent income, that can make them feel safe. What you need to remember is that even the biggest writers were broke at first. How much you’ll make is really depends on how much you are going to put out.

How to start a career in scriptwriting?

The real truth about writing is that writing a screenplay isn’t a career. It’s a way of life. You can make a  great living from writing, but you will have to keep doing it even if you won’t make a living from it. It something that defines you, so you won’t have a choice, but to keep on going. Screenwriting is not an easy career. Personaly, I would recommend you to go into a career in business or computing, but if you feel you have to become a writer, you need to go all the way through – without stopping. You don’t choose to be a screenwriter, screenwriting is choosing you. If you love writing, you need to live it, breathe it, read everything you can about it and just don’t do anything else. This is your only way to really succeed.

oh! and buy a comfortable chair.

Now, here is something you probably won’t hear in film school:

The problem with learning scriptwriting is that when you are trying to make something artistic, too many rules can back you down. The practices I will discuss here should be taken seriously only when you are working on the second or third draft of the script. The process of first draft writing should be flowing and fun. For a start, tell your story. If you overthink about the rules, when you write the first draft, you may get a script that has “correct grammar,” but boring.

I could be just a writer very easily. I am not a writer. I am a screenwriter, which is half a filmmaker. But it is not an art form because screenplays are not works of art. They are invitations to others to collaborate on a work of art.

The first steps of becoming a writer

There are two things you can start doing right now: 

  1. Write – The first scriptwriting lesson I can give you now is to write at every opportunity you get. If it’s possible to find a job that has something to do with writing, it can be excellent as well, but it will be better if you write for yourself. Like everything else in life – practice makes perfect. Write every day and you’ll notice how good you are getting at it. 
  2. Read a lot – If you want to start writing, you need to start reading and not just scripts – read books and read the hard ones too. Reading will improve your vocabulary and it will also give you ideas

The articles in this course and the other courses in the online film school blogthis are going to focus on finding your unique inner voice and learning how to let it out initially.

So until next time, keep on writing!