IT’S OVER!

OK, strike’s over, everyone back to work.

Actually, I’ve never really stopped working. I’ve been going pretty much full-strength since the first of the year, writing, rewriting, taking notes for future projects, and reading a bunch of great scripts. But...how many of you used the strike as an excuse to not do a bloody thing? I know some of you said, “I’m not doing anything until the strike is over.” I actually met a guy two weeks ago who told me, “I’ve been kicking back the last couple months, waiting for the strike to end.” Um...so why exactly did he do this? He wasn’t even a member of the WGA! Don’t get me wrong, I admire his support of the Guild—if indeed that’s what it was— but c’mon. (I should point out that this particular writer had completed just three unsold/un-optioned screenplays since he began writing in 1999.)

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years of screenwriting, it’s this: Don’t waste time. (Actually, this is just plain great advice for life in general.) This might seem obvious to most of you, but you might be surprised by how many people fail to heed this bit of advice.

If you’re still trying to learn what this whole screenwriting thing is all about, you should be reading some good how-to books, reading some great pro screenplays and, of course, slapping your own words down on paper.

If you’ve got a hot idea for a screenplay, it’s not going to write itself. You’ve got to come up with ideas, sketch ‘em out, plot, plan, and get it all poured into solid script form.

If you’ve written a script that you think is really hot, don’t merely send out a few queries and then sit around waiting for the phone to ring. It won’t.

You need to get your face out of your computer screen, get out into the world and make things happen. You’ve got to send e-mails, make phone calls, mingle, schmooze and meet folks in the film industry. This has got to be your way of life on a consistent basis. Sure, this all takes time, effort and a heavy dose of creativity, but that’s what your screenwriting career is all about. If you’re not prepared to do these things, you probably need to find a vocation that better suits you. Not everyone in the world is meant to write movies. But if screenwriting is what you want in life, you now have one less excuse for not getting things done.

The strike is over...get cracking.

Buy Q and A: The Working Screenwriter here!

2 comments:

Mark said...

Wonderful advice for life in general indeed Jim! I feel poorly now though because I spent these months testing the infinite variety of doritos flavors and pondering my next words after fade in!!

Well, no actually I was able to get a few keystrokes done but speaking as a non-guild member, one of the things that I did during the strike was to walk the lines several times with the masses. Of course I feel like crap about it b/c the "real" reason, if truth be known was to network with industry active folks while at least walking my sorry butt around with the everyone else in a show of solidarity for what I hope, to at some point, things that will be directly related to my own interests. Surprisingly, I met some wonderful, honest, real people and am very happy I took the time regardless of career interests. And the pervasive lesson I learned did echo your blog.. keep writing, keep writing, keep writing... no matter what!!

:)

Dube said...

Great post!