If you want to be a successful writer, or a director, or an editor, you have to DO. And you have to do a lot.
To write any script is a big deal. Taking on the challenge without a class requirement or financial stake is just near climbing Mt. Everest. It’s just you and the blank page for however long it takes to tell the best story. I’m tackling a rewrite of a feature script and I wouldn’t have made it this far without surrounding myself with the smartest, sharpest writers on the web. You don’t necessarily have to be an island anymore. Yes, there are shelves full of technical screenwriting books and plenty of courses you can take, but you’ve also got to be open to exploring what successful writing is today. You can’t ask a book a question and classes are expensive.
The web is a great place for new screenwriters because working professionals are having conversations and posting advice completely free of charge. So to assist in that “doing” road ahead, here are some resources I’d like to share as a fellow emerging screenwriter.
For those on Twitter, I highly recommend 3 handles:
- @RexPickett – writer of the novel SIDEWAYS (it was a book first, who knew?). In 140 characters or less, Pickett shots straight for our insecurities and says screw them. WRITE anyway.
- @GoIntoTheStory – Scott Myers is a professional screenwriter/consultant. I call him the Script Guru. His tweets not only feature technical/creative advice, but he also updates on what scripts sell in Hollywood.
- @AdviceToWriters – Sage micro-wisdoms from all sorts of writers that will kickstart your next draft.
If tweets aren’t your thing, never fear. There’s plenty of resource goldmines across the internet that do not end in a hashtag.
- The Script Lab and Go Into The Story both have a wide range of screenwriting resources on their sites. These are always the first places I go when I hit a writing wall.
- The Raindance Film Festival in the UK has an entire tab section dedicated to Screenwriting. Any question you have, they probably answered it.
- British Academy of Film and Television Arts interviews/article database
- Podcast interviews with 2012 Oscar-nominated screenwriters
- The Pitch – Can you sell your idea in one sentence?
- Dialogue – “The simpler you say it, the more eloquent it is.” AUGUST WILSON
- Description/Action – “Walks is not specific. Walks is too general. How many words can you think of for the word walk?”
And of course, the ultimate question, what happens after I’ve finished a script?
- Go Into The Story’s Tips for rewriting – writing is rewriting, after all.
- Film Slate Magazine’s Ways to protect your work – Writer’s Guild registration, copyright questions
- Another Film Life’s Entering contests and fellowships – like Sundance Screenwriters Lab, Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowship, Austin Film Festival Screenwriting contest (and most importantly knowing if your script is ready for judging tips from )
- Go Into The Story’s Getting an agent – It starts with a great script!
- Selling a spec script – interview with a writer who sold to Fox for half a million dollars
- Go Into The Story’s Doing the whole thing over again– writing multiple scripts and building strong work ethic