How to Become a Screenwriter
Becoming a successful screenwriter is just like anything else of value “the result of hard work”. Many people have the dream of becoming the best but what they don’t know is becoming the best requires a lot of hard work and sacrifice.
So, where does one start? The truth is, there is no one right or wrong way when seeking out a writing career. We’ve outlined below some very basic steps to follow.
Different screenwriters have followed different paths in their success. Some things can work for you and others won’t, some of it is luck, some of it is talent, and some of it is just never giving up. Whichever it is good luck on your own path to success. The following steps should help provide a bit more direction on how to get started.
New writers need to have a basic understanding of what it is they’re trying to write, and that means research. There are those exceptionally few writers who just seem to understand the rhythm of a movie script and have a gift of dialogue from the start. If you are not one of those take your time and do your home work.
Read some books on the topic. These will help provide an understanding of the basic structure of a movie script as well as how to go about writing its various elements from plot creating to the character development and proper story structure.
Read Successful Screenplays
Perhaps the most useful reference materials you can find are going to be sample scripts, especially those that are in the same genre you intend to write. For instance, if you’re planning on writing a romantic comedy, get your hands on as many romantic comedy scripts as you can find. You also might have luck with something as simple as Google.
With Google you can Search the title of just about any movie you can think of with the word “screenplay,” and you more than likely will find dozens of sites that will have exactly what you’re looking for.
You will see that by having these scripts at the ready, you’ll soon begin to see how a film translates from a writer’s head into the finished product of a film.
Too many people get caught up in the mechanics of screenwriting. They spend months, if not years, in classes and reading books on how to write a screenplay, but they never actually write anything.
So, after you get the basics down, just start writing. Don’t over think the process. Sit down at your computer, start typing the words, and print your screenplay. It’s what every screenwriter eventually does whether they’re amateurs or a skilled professional.
This is where many people get hung up. Once they start writing, they get stuck at a certain point and simply stop trying.
As a screenwriter, you quickly will find that rewriting is about 90 % of the job, if not more. The trick here is to avoid rewriting the same scene over and over without ever moving toward completion.
Some excuses might include a hiccup in the story line, dialogue that isn’t working, or characters aren’t likable. All of these are valid issues, but none of them mean you should ever stop the writing process. So keep writing and writing and writing!
A good practice is to set page goals. For example, vow to finish at least five pages every day no matter what when working on a first draft. This can help you 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.
Getting a little constructive criticism is of essence for any creative writer. Once you’ve finished with an acceptable draft of the screenplay, give it to three or four people whose opinions you trust.
Remember that 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.
Screenwriting can be a fun, rewarding, and extremely great career. But it’s a craft that must be learned, practiced and better mastered before it can ever be put into perfection.