Writing On Spec

An award caliber procrastinator discovers a new and dangerous pursuit to keep him from actually writing another script. Why another Blog? I love to talk screenwriting. I love to talk story. I live in Richmond, VA. It's almost easier to get produced than find another screenwriter here. We are the anti-LA.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

A Distinct Advantage

Wanna be a Screenwriter for a living? Here's a tip. Write.

Oh, I know you say "that's a given", but think about the real, tangible advantages folks who put 4-5 (or more) hours a day into writing vs those that scrape by with an hour (still good) or those that do even less.

The best thing a person could do would be to treat it as a profession. Work at it everyday, 5 days a week, several hours (at least) a day. That's when you can say you've been "working" at being a screenwriter. Anything less and you're really talking about your hobby.

The worst situation is those folks that are past, say, 35 who have already established some sort of job (not career, because if it was a career, we should be happy, right?). Folks in this situation usually have some sort of responsibility (food, spouse, children, bills, etc.) Tossing these responsibilities into the wind and "going for it" is often not an option and, thus, we have the determined folks that put in an hour or two a day (getting up extra early or working extra late) or the folks that say they have no time to write, but want to.

It really does come down to dedication at that point. It's what do you really want vs what would you like, if it was a perfect world. Because, many of us want to write, but prefer, instead, to watch the latest show on TV. Or go out to dinner, or visit with friends, etc. How important is it for you? These are the dues that people are paying, they're just doing it earlier. This is the penalty for not making a better decision earlier in life when we had fewer distractions. Boy does that suck.

It's one of the reasons so many of us enjoy particular movies - because the actions of the characters are what we would like to do - if we had the drive/courage, etc. We can all toss our responsibilities aside and go for what we want, but most of the time, we're not willing to pay the price for just the "chance" of success. If it was guaranteed or we knew the outcome, it would be so much easier - but we don't. With movies, we get to take that chance with impunity.

So, my fellow hobbyists, as you plonk away on that script you may never finish - think about things that you want - think about things you year for, but are unable or unwilling to sacrifice what you have currently in exchange. Live vicariously through your characters - let them take chances and either succeed or fail, but know that your audience is just like you and they know what failure is - what they want to see is success. They want to know that the dream they could work out. To crush dreams is to destroy hope, and that, my friends, is what gets the majority of America up everyday. The Hope that one day they'll have the courage to do what they need to do in order to get where they want to be.