The ability to see your stories through the mind’s eye before placing any word on paper. Too many writers simply write page to page, plotting out the movie, and make choices strictly to get from point A to point B and beyond. The great writers can see the movie already from the perspective of an audience. “Write what you know” is one of the most misleading phrases given to aspiring screenwriters in books, seminars, etc. Better to tell them “Write what you love,” as far as genre, atmosphere, and what you love to see in the movie theater. But as far as vision goes, best to say “Write what you can see.” If you can’t see the scene and eventual compilation of scenes in your head, edited and shot like a film you see in theaters, then best to consider another avenue of expression and certainly another career.
It takes time to get to this stage, but screenwriters need to be confident in their work. Writers will always have various forms of self-doubt, but in order to have a career in screenwriting you need the ability to go into a conference call or meeting room, know your story, know your strengths, and be able to communicate on an equal level rather than looking up with nervous puppy eyes to the executives.
If you are someone that can absorb notes from producers and studios and understand that in the end you are hired to do a job, and then find a way for those notes to work within the confines of your writing wants, you’ll be one step ahead of most. Know when to choose your battles. Know when to back off and accept what you’ve been given. Understand that film is a collaborative effort and the whole process truly starts with the written word.
Know your industry:
If you’re an aspiring screenwriter and have no idea what’s going on in the film industry, you won’t make it. You need to read the trades. You need to know what movies are being made and who is making them. Also, you need to know the studios, the executives, the producers, talent, etc.
Without hope, none of the above will matter. You have to believe in the dream. You have to believe enough to overcome disappointment, time, and constant rejection. You may find that this isn’t for you. Fate may lead you down a different path and in the end, it’ll be the right one that was intended all along. But if you feel it in your heart and got that this is for you, that you feel confident in your work and that you’re destined for this career and there is no other hope is what will get you through the rough times.
The ability to see your stories through the mind’s eye before placing any word on paper. Too many writers simply write page to page, plotti…