Da Vinci Code?

A few years back I went on a Dan Brown binge and read all of his novels. It’s a bit of a blur, but I remember in one of his books, there was the concept of the “self-authorizing password.”

The idea behind the self-authorizing password is that the code required for access doesn’t come from secret information, but rather from the accumulation of readily accessible knowledge.

In other words, there’s no secret key (or a secret door for that matter). You get in once you’ve gained the skills necessary to give yourself access.

The same thing can be said of “breaking in” to Hollywood!

Do the Time

If you feel you have a talent for screenwriting (and you’re passionate about it), then simply do the time… read the books, blogs, and lots of screenplays… go to seminars, take courses, listen to industry professionals, make connections… write a screenplay, then another, and another… and eventually you’ll not only have what it takes to succeed — you’ll have succeeded.

Simply put, if writing is what you’re meant to do, the only thing stopping you from making it in Hollywood is the time invested. Pay your dues (10,000 hours?), write a killer script, and the rest will follow.

But don’t take my word for it…

I think one of the signs you’re poised for a breakthrough is when every “new” writing tip you receive starts to sound familiar. With that in mind, here are some familiar words to take to heart.

“… some way, incredibly enough, good writing ultimately gets recognized. I don’t know how that happens but it does. If you’re really a good writer and deserve that honored position, then by God, you’ll write, and you’ll be read, and you’ll be produced somehow. It just works that way. If you’re just a simple ordinary day-to-day craftsman, no different than most, then the likelihood is that you probably won’t make it in writing. You’re going to wind up either getting married, working for an insurance company, joining the regular army, or what-all. But if you have a spark in you, a cut above the average, I think ultimately you make it.”
– Rod Serling
(The Twilight Zone)
(H/T Go Into The Story)

“When you think you have a great script – if it really is great – they will find you. The town is starving for great scripts. It sounds awful and pat and overly simplistic: but if you want to succeed as a screenwriter, write a dope script. I am not saying that shitty scripts get made. Of course they do. More times than not. And a good 65 % of working screenwriters should have their laptops revoked. But at some point, they wrote that one. That one that people noticed. A Zen approach is a good one. Don’t do a mass mailing introducing yourself to every agent in town. Don’t foist your script on the guy at the next table in the diner, who happens to be reading “THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER”. Just know that they will find you. It sounds strange. It’s not. L.A. is a city fueled by the frantic frenzy to find the next great script. The key is write it. And then watch them tumble…”
– Scott Rosenberg
(Beautiful Girls, Con Air, Things To Do in Denver When You’re Dead, Gone in Sixty Seconds)
(H/T Kid In The Front Row)

“Really great writing always, always gets noticed in Hollywood. When I hear someone say, ‘It’s who you know,’ or ‘I couldn’t get it to the right agent,’ that is the consolation of failure. When it really works, it might not get made, because you need a Jupiter effect of a perfect director and a perfect actor–but if the writing is great, you always get into the game.”
Mark D. Rosenthal (Mona Lisa Smiles, The Jewel of the Nile)
(H/T Screenwriting From Iowa)

Still not convinced it merely takes talent, time and tenacity? Post your thoughts.

And if anyone remembers which Dan Brown book featured the “self-authorizing password,” please let me know!

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