Screenwriting Tips

I’m going to be honest with you about something and offer you some screenwriting tips right here and right now — this is a rough, tough, ugly, brutal business a lot of the time. Feelings get hurt, egos get a hell of a lot more than bruised, and you can go months sometimes without having a paying writing gig. So then why do this? Why put yourself through all the trouble in the first place?

Simple – because you have to. Writers don’t write because it’s fun or because it’s easy – we do it because we have to. We do it because we have stories that we desperately, desperately need to tell, and we think that the world would be a much poorer place for not hearing them. And you know what? Here’s another screenwriting tip – It would be, so we have to not allow that to happen by continuing to write, by continuing to find the will to create, even when it seems like the spark is all but gone.

Your friends and family — people who love and care about you — they mean well, and as a result of that, they’re going to and offer their own “screenwriting tips,” which are to try to talk you out of this line of work. They’ll tell you to take an office job, get a 9 to 5 and start a family, “settle down.” But that’s not you – you’re a writer. I’ve always been a very firm believer in the fact that you don’t pick this line of work, it picks you – it’s a calling, it has to be. Otherwise, why the hell would anyone subject themselves to all this craziness in the first place? There’s simply no other reason for it, and not losing sight of that fact is very, very important to you overall, long-term success in this business.

Editing is monotonous, tedious work, and honestly, I don’t know how more of them don’t burn out in record time. But more importantly, I realized that I had settled – I was so happy to have a paycheck that I really didn’t think about the kind of work that I was doing. I didn’t want to be fixing the mistakes in other people’s writing, I wanted to get paid to write myself, and though it took a while after I left that job to manage to find paying writing work, I eventually succeeded in doing so, much to the relief of the producers, directors, and other clients whose stories I help tell on a daily basis.

Alicia D. Walker

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