It’s easy to lose your way while writing your script, or when producers are giving you notes.
In the following clip, Jacob Krueger (a WGA award-winning screenwriter and founder of Jacob Krueger Studio in NYC) offers some great advice for staying on track.
I especially love the part where he discusses fixing your script and incorporating notes:
“What I want to encourage you, is set the fix aside. And instead look for, ‘What’s the opportunity?’ Don’t try to fix your movie. Listen to the note. Think of what you’re going for. Ask yourself where the opportunity is. ‘What would be fun?’ — Not, ‘What would be expedient.’ ‘What would be cool to do?’ — Not, ‘What would solve the problem?’… When you allow your self to play, that’s when you figure out how to do it in a way that really resonates.”
“Now! What are you prepared to do?!”
– Sean Connery as Jim Malone in The Untouchables
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.
When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing.
~ Enrique Jardiel Poncela
That goes for both ease of comprehension, and ease of actually saying the line.
In my writing group, often times we’ll come across lines that are easy to read with the eye, but yet trip people up when the lines are read out loud. It’s always a good idea to review whether or not these lines were inherently difficult to say, or were just difficult for that particular reader to say.
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.)