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HOW TO BE A SUCCESSFUL SCREENWRITER

Getting any feature screenplay into the hands of producers who can then actually take it to principle photography and onto the big screen is a monumental task for any writer.

You are competing in an industry that is inundated with determined screenwriters. Every one of them convinced that they are imbued with a magnificent talent, that their idea is unique and original, that they have the next Oscar winning screenplay, only if they could get it into the ‘hands’ of the right Agents, Producers or Actors!

In a few cases… this is actually TRUE!

So if this is YOU, how can you make your screenplay stand out amongst the hundreds of thousands (no exaggeration) of average to abysmal screenplays that land on Agents and Producers desks?

One way to beat those odds and help guarantee success is to make sure that you avoid the many mistakes novice writers make by thoroughly understanding all aspects and conventions of screenplay writing (you can only manipulate and experiment with conventions once you cleary have the knowledge of what they are).

Then create a unique and strong story concept with original and interesting characters which drive the story.

Sounds simple enough… right?

But this is where so many writers fail - in their actual ability to successfully convert that strong story concept and those interesting characters into a piece of writing that works ‘specifically’ for the VISUAL medium of film.

Even though filmmaking is a collaborative art, as a screenwriter, it all begins with you.

Make sure you ask yourself these vital questions before you begin to write?

Do You Know Your Genre?
  • Complete the research needed to understand the dynamics and demands of the genre you are writing within.
  • You should be very familiar with the unique attributes that make films of this genre successful.
  • Then you must look for ways to improve upon and be unique within your chosen genre.
  • Most importantly avoid being repetitious and falling into the traps of stereotypes.
  • Do You Have a Strong Central Character?
  • Where many writers fail is that they come up with an idea for a plot and then create characters for the sole purpose of making that plot work – shoehorning them in, so to speak.
  • This will inevitably cause characters to act in a way that is implausible.
  • Your characters should never be sacrificed for the sake of a plot point.
  • Make sure your central characters are active not passive, in other words they make decisions and choices that drive the story.
  • Give your characters obstacles to face both emotional and physical before they reach their goal.
  • Is Your Idea Intriguing and Engaging?
  • Is your idea original or just another imitation?
  • Will your idea appeal to a large audience whether mainstream or Independent?
  • Filmmaking is a business which relies on people to spend their hard earned money to see your ideas on the screen, so be sure your story is not just a cathartic piece of writing.
  • If your screenplay is based on your personal thoughts, opinions and experiences then you must make sure that they are written within a dramatic and visual story that will entertain a large audience.
  • Think about these questions long and hard… it will help you succeed!

    If you have questions about any of the above, please feel free to email me via the contact page or for more advice check out the Writing Tips page! .