Tough Reader, Good Advice
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Journey of a Screenwriter
Friday, January 15, 2010
Last post about script sites @CriticalTodd tweeted me and asked what are the sites most crawled by the industry. I’m sure somebody, somewhere is going to collect those stats and put them on the web (probably make a ton of money.) Unfortunately that guy ain’t me. @dawnbierschwal made a great case for VirtualPitchfest.com. I checked out the site and they do list the companies that use them. It is an impressive list. I also checked with one of my contacts. He doesn’t troll for scripts too much on the internet but when he does he uses Inktip.com. And Scriptpimp.com is one of the oldest such sites on the web. So there’s kind of an answer to the question.
Next I just want to mention that the third chapter of my on line Young Audience Fantasy novel The Hidden Kitchen is now posted. I hope you’ll all check it out. It’s one of my quirkier projects, a combo of Harry Potter, Steampunk, and one of my passions food and cooking.
Finally I’ll share a little bit with the projects I’m working on now. I’ve got a screenplay and a new novel in the works. Both are in the treatment stages. The treatment for the screenplay God of Hellfire is done and I’m just getting feedback from some trusted sources. It’s very tricky because one person really loves it, the other isn’t quite seeing it come together. Tough question, who do you go with? I’m still writing the treatment for the novel. I’m at ten pages single spaced and probably just halfway there. Hopefully this will make the actual writing that much quicker. I learned a great layering technique for writing a screenplay and now I can knock one out in a week if I have a finished treatment. Obviously a novel will take longer but we will see, won’t we.
This sort of dovetails to the main point of my post, which is always have a Next Project. After you’ve put the finishing touches to a script, bullet proofed it, proof read it, and sent it out into the wide world give yourself some time off then start writing again. It’ll keep you centered as you wait breathlessly for the agents and production companies to get back to you (assuming they ever do.) More importantly you’re a writer, and a writer writes. He doesn’t just write one story and then stops. If that’s the case are you a writer or a lawyer who wrote a single book/screenplay? It can be tough in the world of novels. It’s nearly impossible in the world of screenplays to survive on just one work. Agents want to represent writers. They want to know you’ll have a long career that will make you both a lot of money. And it can take a long time to really build up a career. A near miss here, an ultra low budget film there. Think of it like a video game with multiple levels and bosses at each level. It’s rare that you will get all the way through the game on single life your first time. If you can it wasn’t a very hard game and believe me Hollywood is an extremely tough game to play. You need multiple lives. By lives I mean scripts.
The problem with some new writers is they get tunnel vision on a particular project. Especially when they start out. It was so hard getting that first one done they can’t imagine having to go through that again and again. Or maybe they really are totally invested in this one story. It’s something very close to there hearts and they’ve poured a lifetime of experience into the script. That’s not something that can be duplicated again and again.
I’ve blogged about this before here and here It’s tough to get just one story made. The amount of effort and pure luck that goes into getting any movie made is incredible. It’s hard for everything to line up correctly. If you have more than one project you can be more flexible. When opportunity breaks you’re in a better position to take advantage of it.
If you love to write I don’t have to tell you this. If this really is in your bones then you should never stop. It should be impossible. You should be all jittery and unbalanced when you don’t write. An Irish poet once said “I’m a drunk with a writing problem.” That’s we all have, or should have, a writing problem. We can’t stop. So make that problem work for you and keep on writing. Keep on giving yourself extra lives. Eventually, if you’re playing the game correctly, you’ll break through to the final level.
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