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How to Become a Screenwriter - Page 2

Write for the Movies!


Too many writers fall into the trap of thinking that every page of the first draft must be absolutely perfect. Here’s a secret: first drafts of most screenplays are usually awful. But here’s the good news – through your rewrites, they get much, much better. Forge ahead no matter how hard it is or how long it takes.

Tip: I find that if I set page goals I actually finish a screenplay. For example, I vow to finish at least 5 pages every day no matter what when I’m working on a first draft. This goal gets me to finish the script without caring about the initial quality. After all, it’s sometimes easier to rewrite an existing script than to stare at a blank page.

Step 4: Get Notes

“Getting notes” on a script refers to getting a little constructive criticism. Once you’ve finished with a draft of the screenplay that you’re reasonably happy with (you might never actually love it by the way), give it to 3 or 4 people whose opinions you trust.

Remember though, what you’re looking for here is constructive criticism, not someone who simply tells you they “liked” or “disliked” your script. Usually another writer will be the most useful for this process. You want to be sure you listen to the notes you get so that you can properly address them.(Here are some tips on how to listen to notes.)

Step 5: Network

Networking is still one of the most important skills a screenwriter can have. After all, this is more than likely how you’re going to get your script to an agent, producer or studio executive.

Here in Los Angeles, there are numerous entertainment related networking events. It’s crucial that as a screenwriter you attend as many of these as you can so that you can meet likeminded individuals.

Keep in mind that your script will not sell itself by sitting on a shelf in your apartment. You have to let people know that you are a screenwriter and that you have a product to sell.

Through diligent networking, you will eventually come across someone who will get your screenplay into the right hands. Don’t be shy here – be confident in your material and your abilities and be proud to label yourself as a screenwriter.

Note: Realize that it’s crucial for your screenplay to be in the best shape possible so that whoever reads it will want to pass it on up the ladder. So, if you have any doubt in what you’ve written, go back through steps 3 and 4 again until you feel confident with your script.

Screenwriting can be a fun, rewarding and extremely lucrative career. But it’s a craft that must be learned, practiced and hopefully one day, mastered.

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