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Archive for the Category "Motivation"

Embrace The Grind Jun 23

Anyone else out there a fan of MMA (mixed martial arts)? No? Doesn’t matter, this lesson applies to any professional endeavor — including screenwriting.

So there’s this fighter named Benson Henderson. He’s got about as much genuine swagger as any human has a right to. And for a good reason — he steamrolls over most of his opponents.

Benson Henderson

This, ladies and gentlemen, is genuine swagger!

After handily winning his last bout, he was almost in tears talking about how people have no idea how hard he trains for his fights.

Here’s a guy who you can tell by looking at him, and seeing him fight, has tremendous natural gifts. He’s one of the best fighters in the world, yet he still pushes himself to the breaking point during his training camps.

Gone are the days when some fighter, who merely dabbled in mixed martial arts, could rise to prominence off of luck or talent or connections alone. If you want to be successful in MMA, you have to embrace the grind.

It got me thinking. The same rule applies to screenwriters.

We may not risk traumatic brain injury every time we write a script (hmmm, that’s debatable), but we do have to compete with other screenwriters. Professional screenwriters. Professional screenwriters with agents and managers and industry credibility and one more thing…

A strong work ethic.

The successful screenwriters are the ones embracing the grind and putting in their hours of writing, networking, and keeping tabs on the industry. Every. Single. Day.

How on earth can you expect to compete with them (or other amateurs who are similarly inclined) if you’re only writing once in a blue moon?

This isn’t meant to depress you. It’s meant to explain the reality of the modern screenwriting business. It’s not an industry where dilettantes do well. You have to really want it. And you have to be really good at it. And you have to put the time in. Lots of time. That means lots of scripts.

If not, the screenwriting equivalent of Benson Henderson, or Ronda Rousey, or some up and coming amateur, is going to kick your ass. Because right now there are only a few coveted jobs or spec sales for screenwriters.

Bottom line is, if you you want to succeed — hell, if you just want make the fight competitive — you have to embrace the grind.

The Three Ps Aug 06

The Three PsThe Glee Project

Is anyone else out there watching The Glee Project? For those who don’t know about it, The Glee Project is a pretty cool little talent show on the Oxygen network that gives the winner a seven episode character arc on the upcoming season of Glee.

Now that’s what I call a prize!

The Three Ps

Anyway, there was a recent episode where Max Adler (who plays the closeted bully, Dave Karofsky) was giving some advice to the contestants, and mentioned the three Ps, as the secret to success.

Passion

Persistence

Patience

How excellent is that?! I’d never heard that one before. A great reminder for actors, singers, screenwriters and anyone else pursuing a dream.

Do you have all three?


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Now! What are you prepared to do? Jul 09

“Now! What are you prepared to do?!”
– Sean Connery as Jim Malone in The Untouchables

Sean Connery

What, you were expecting an Untouchables picture?

I read an article a while back about a high-level mixed martial artist, with a severely damaged toe. He had to make a tough choice — take a year off from training, or have his toe amputated.

He had his toe amputated.

Now *that’s* dedication. It got me thinking about parallels in screenwriting. For most professional screenwriters, success comes only after years of toil and sacrifice.

I know so many people who are dabblers (I used to be one myself). They peck away at a single script, only when writing conditions are perfect, while devoting most of their time to some other endeavor. They would really love to be a working screenwriter, yet for whatever reason, never truly dedicate themselves to mastering the craft.

The Secret to Success

There’s really only one way to achieve your life’s dreams, and it’s a two-step process.

1. Ask yourself if you’re willing to pay the price necessary to succeed.

2. Pay the price.

Do you yearn to be a successful screenwriter, but have something holding you back? Cut off that toe!

Photo: Sean Connery in Zardoz — a pre-Highlander movie about immortals. Looks awesome.


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Photo Quotables: Abraham Lincoln Jan 20

Today’s inspiration from PhotoQuoto.com:

That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well. ~ Abraham Lincoln

Regardless of the odds, a bunch of screenwriters are going to sell their spec scripts this year, or break into the industry with paid writing assignments. That is indisputable. There’s no reason you can’t be one of 2011’s success stories.

Photo: Trevor Mayes (Yup, I snapped this pic a few years ago on my favorite hike — the Stawamus Chief in Squamish, B.C.)


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Category: Motivation, Quotes  | 4 Comments
Are talented writers born, not made? Jan 19

Screenwriter Fairy TalesCorey Mandell has an excellent post on what he calls the “dangerous fairy tale.” That is to say, “the fairy tale that talented writers are born, not made.”

The danger of this fairy tale is that it feeds the other seductive notion that naturally talented writers are able to write and sell great scripts pretty much right out of the gate, perhaps even win an Academy Award, just like it happened for (fill in some Diablo Cody-type name here).

Being able to write a first-ever script good enough to sell and get made is a great story.  But we have to keep in mind that the folks in Hollywood are staunch believers in never letting the facts get in the way of a good story.

Without outing anyone, I went to film school with several writers who say they sold their first ever screenplay, which is absolutely, positively one-hundred per cent true… Just as long as we are all willing to pretend that those six or seven less-than-stellar screenplays, written prior to the one that finally sold, don’t actually exist.

Please check out the full inspirational article, and the included video at the bottom of the post by Ira Glass on Storytelling. You’ll be glad you did.


Want me to read your screenplay? Please take a look at my script services.

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