In today’s society life is so busy. To grasp hold and take advantage of just a few extra minutes seems like an impossible task. To some, the thought of writing an entire screenplay would seem like an impossible dream. You have a full-time job, a wife, and kids, throw in a dog, your time is pretty much spoken for. Add in everyone’s daily commute, shopping for groceries, cleaning, yard work, all priorities that take the front seat in your everyday life. Your thought of writing a screenplay quickly sounds like an option in your next life… Always remember your family is first.
In order to create those extra blocks of time to dedicate to your venture, you will need to organize your life. Even if you currently practice a very structured routine day-to-day, you will need to look for areas of improvement.
A good approach to taking back time would include creating a list of all tasks that you perform on a daily basis. You would want to outline all domestic and non-domestic tasks and obligations that are priorities and non-priorities. You want to be sure to also include any travel time; after all, you cannot drive and write. Once you have compiled your list, you will want to look for areas to create efficiencies; “Achieving the same results utilizing less time”. Focus on one task at a time until you have made a significant improvement in taking back time.
Let me start by pointing out that a degree of any kind is not needed or necessary in order to become a successful screenwriter.
Example: Quentin Tarantino dropped out of high school and has since, gone on to become one of the most successful and most talked about screenwriters in today’s cinema. You ask yourself; “How is that possible”? Don’t you need a Bachelors or a Masters degree in Creative Writing to accomplish such a notable goal? Well, Quentin Tarantino probably did read a lot of books and studied very hard in his own way. However; I would speculate to say that much of his inspiration comes from life changing events and social situations that have had a great impact on his creative way of thinking.
More easily understood, the world is our stage, you choose which props you would like to integrate into your performance. Reading books and participating in lectures by instructors are great. However, I believe that true inspiration and stimulation for the creative mind is found by experiencing life itself. Put yourself in as many different social and economical situations as possible. You can learn a great deal from everyone around you. Listen to who is telling stories, pay attention to those experiencing life changing events, good or bad. Pick up on words of wisdom; learn from dramatic scenes that unfold around you in everyday life. A story is there to be had…
If you are interested in books on screenwriting I would recommend the following:
The Screenwriter Bible, A complete Guide to Writing, Formatting, and Selling Your Script: by David Trottier
Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting, by Syd Field
Lew Hunter’s Screenwriting 434: by Lew Hunter
How Not to Write a Screenplay: 101 Common Mistakes Most Screenwriters Make: by Denny Martin Flinn
Screenwriters need to have a strong work ethic and know how to network and make connections. You not only need to be talented but also need to be disciplined in order to become a successful screenwriter. If you want to break into Hollywood you will need a very well crafted screenplay. In addition to taking advantage of any education you may have, you will also need to work harder than you ever have worked before. You will need to be diligent and hone your craft well in order to develop a unique style.
It will take countless hours, days, weeks, months and even years to tell your stories, and write your scripts. Everything that you experience in your day-to-day life can be applied to your stories and screenwriting style. Don’t hold back when it comes to a thought or an idea. If you find that you have the knack and tenacity to develop strong storylines and interesting characters, then write. When you sit down to write a screenplay, you are no longer an aspiring screenwriter, you are a screenwriter.
If you find yourself experiencing “writers block”, even if you know you want to write, step away for a little while. Clear your mind by going to your local coffee shop, run an errand, or go for a hike. Reevaluate your storyline in your head, think about your characters and dialog while you’re in a different setting. This sometimes allows you to focus in the right direction to cross that “bridge” in order to continue your story. Regardless of your approach to screenwriting, writing everyday is a recommended discipline of successful Hollywood screenwriters.
You need to be willing to push yourself, set goals, and prove that you have the desire and raw talent to make it as a Hollywood screenwriter.
The Key to being a successful screenwriter: Write everyday
– David L. Spies