So you wanna be a Screenwriter?
Being an aspiring screenwriter can be a lonely and thankless task filled with doubt and rejection. You must be ready for this. Picture running up the side of a mountain with a gigantic avalanche coming back at you. At times screenwriting is purgatory, but it’s the ones who remain dedicated and persistent who make it through and for the better. I ran up that mountain for 4 years and without slowing down. Now I’m here to tell you that on the other side it’s totally worth it.
I’ve made the transition from Indy to Professional screenwriting, I know the pitfalls and I’ve passed the trials, so hopefully there`s something here which helps other screenwriters be seen quicker and achieve success by global access, faster than I did through way of WriteSeen.
Know why you want to be a screenwriter
Your why is everything because it gives you a destination to aim for.
My why as a young idealistic man, was to aim to make good work and leave it behind for my kids to watch. I recognised if done properly, there`s a rewarding career to be had which would ultimately benefit my kids more than some low budget films to frown back on.
The most important decision to make is this… do you want a hobby or a career in screenwriting. Both are rewarding and in their own right, but the approaches are in stark contrast.
Embrace as many genres as you can
I began screenwriting believing my genre would be Socio-Economic Drama, "Real people and the shit they go through" as I used to put it.
As much as I resonated with the purity in life’s struggles, I acknowledged this genre would be better as a passion project. Whilst it may do well in festivals it`s just not what studios and financiers are looking for in the professional realm.
Exposing myself to different genres and understanding their demands, undoubtedly improved my skillset and broadened my portfolio. Not every studio is looking for the same subject, there are trends emerging and your content if spanning across multiple areas, might just be in the right place at the right time of popular production.
Create simple action lines & dialogue!
Albert Einstein once famously said "If you can`t explain it to a six-year-old, you don`t understand it yourself.” – screenwriting is of the same science.
On first read, the average joe should understand the majority of your script, if not, it`s back to the drawing board. Screenwriting is not about flexing your vocabulary, it`s about selecting words which effectively paint a clear picture of what you’re aiming to project into the reader’s mind.
Your characters must be inclusive and diverse
If you are planning on selling scripts to major studios it`s vital to write with inclusivity and diversity in mind.
Recent stats show 3.9 billion or 49.58% of the world`s population are female, 31.5% are Christian, 23.2% Muslim, 16.3% non-religious, 15% Hindu and the other percentage made up of a mixture of other religions. (worldometers.info)
If you aren`t writing solid, diverse and engaging characters you are showing a cultural and professional naivety. The world is built on broad shoulders shared by every culture, ethnicity, sexuality and gender. The wider your reading becomes the clearer it is in your writing.
Take Stranger Things for instance. The central character is female, the group of boys are diverse and of different ethnicities, the female characters who join their fight are also diverse in sexuality and ethnicity.
Look back to the 80s cult classic The Goonies, the gang is constructed of girls and boys again of different cultures and ethnicities. The antagonists are led by an Italian matriarchal figure marching her two sons, hot on the heels of One-Eyed Willies treasure.
Universal sells, because universal has a place for everyone to co-exist. So let everyone around the world find a place in your story!
Screenwriting is not for the thin skinned
Resilience: "an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change".
Being a screenwriter is not easy, the competition and the feedback is fierce but as the old cliche goes, `if it were easy, everyone would do it` and that’s just the truth. Not many people can hack the throw backs, so be ready to roll with the punches because they’ll be coming!
If you`re someone who can`t take constructive criticism and feedback onboard, a career in screenwriting probably isn’t for you.
Every piece of good advice or relevant critique will make your next draft significantly better so embrace it and don`t see redrafting as a negative, it`s an essential part of the process.
What you begin with will not entirely be in your company come the end.
WriteSeen share your screenplay with producers worldwide
The way WriteSeen can help you as a screenwriter is simple. It exposes you to industry professionals worldwide in film, tv and animation. WriteSeen is a movement breaking down barriers to entry and accelerating the speed in which you gain exposure, criticism and feedback, but all from the decision maker, those who hold the keys to the doors you’re dying to unlock.
You will save time from the rejection of unsolicited contact, as most producers will not accept your screenplay unless you’re already backed by an agent. First off, they only want your Log line and WriteSeen through its strategic design offers this for you and all in one place.
Make the most of this opportunity, add as much content as you can to support your screenplay, include your video pitch, add a video clip of what your screenplay could look like in action and ultimately do not submit this until you are putting forward your best work. As they say “you can’t make a first impression twice” so before you press submit give it your best shot because producers and executives around the world will be watching!
Chris Martin is Co-owner, Screenwriter & Producer of Trinity Studios.
Check Chris out through his social media below.