It’s here, it’s here! The web series you’ve heard about is live and bringing in those views. All the work that these students did over the course of two semesters, writing and producing seven episodes, is ready and waiting for your viewing and sharing. If you’ve already seen it, thank you! We appreciate all the love and support. Find a millennial, millennial sympathizer, or millennial mocker who will find these antics amusing and share away!
We’re advised to read as much as we can and then write twice as much. Reading scripts and screenwriting books is definitely important, but we should look for inspiration in everything: from poetry and fan fiction to op-ed’s and biographies. This article from 1996 about David Lynch’s creative process from The NY Times has recently resurfaced. Take a look to get a small glimpse into a creative mind and maybe even find some inspiration for yourself.
But seriously, you are. It’s a hard thing to try to get better at something so subjective and difficult to measure, but I promise, you’re doing great! ScreenCraft agrees. They’ve put together this handy checklist to occasionally measure yourself up to. Even the best screenwriters deal with rejection and feelings of inadequacy because there’s not a simple way of knowing that you’re actually getting better. But if you’re looking for some positive validation that all of your hard work is paying off and making you a better screenwriter, here it is:
Any tips on how you keep yourself in check and stay motivated to keep working? Please share them here. We could all use a little support.
TV is living its best life with a nostalgic resurgence of old favorites like “Roseanne” and “Will and Grace”, as well as bold new shows like “The Good Place” and “This is Us.” If you’ve ever had an idea you’re afraid may be too out there, TV is the right medium for you. Take a look at this in-depth guide for writing a pilot that will do more than sit on your hard drive collecting e-dust.
Any tips or tricks you’ve found that help with pilot writing? Share them here!
If you’re like me, you sat sadly at your computer all weekend, e-stalking your friends and wishing that you too were in Austin, TX for the film festival. If you’re one of the lucky ones who got to experience it this year, watch out because I might be roping you into giving us a full report with pictures for the blog.
But whether you’re planning to go next year, wishing you had gone this year, or dealing with the crash from jet lag and overstimulation from your experiences there, here are some resources to help you with your FOMO or help you relive some of the magic.
If you went to, or are still at, the Austin Film Festival this year, please let us know some of the highlights! Festivals are a fantastic way to hone your craft, find inspiration, and make connections that can help you along the way. I hope to see you all there next year!
A couple weeks ago, fellow Hollins screenwriting student, Melanie Moses, flew to Hollywood to work on a real live set. She was kind enough to share her experience. In her own words:
We’ve all had it, we all hate it. If you’ve ever stared at a blinking cursor on your screen, or at a stack of empty note cards, or off into the abyss and thought, “I’ve got nothing,” know that you’re not alone. Even the greats find themselves in creative and motivational funks. But just because things may seem difficult or bleak, doesn’t mean that there isn’t a way out.
Here’s a concise and action-centered list of things to do to shake off the gloom and get back into the swing of things. It also has a handy list of things that do NOT help with writer’s block (like reading and writing articles about writer’s block, whoops!).
But as every article, blog, and well-meaning professor or mentor will tell you, the only true way to get through the writer’s block is by simply writing. Writing crap, writing nonsense, writing something terrible and confusing and so off that it’s cringe-worthy. It doesn’t matter what you’re writing, so long as you actually do it. So stop dragging your feet, stop expecting perfection or inspiration or ease, and just write already!
How have you dealt with your creative blocks? Share any helpful tips or encouraging stories in the comments.
You’ve brainstormed a concept, you’ve outlined and rearranged, you’ve written, rewritten, and then rewritten again, and you’ve got yourself a daggum screenplay. Congratulations! First, take a second to pat yourself on the back. Everyone’s got an idea for a movie, but very few people actually finish what they start. Once you’re done being proud of yourself, that sinking feeling sets in and you ask yourself this horrifying question: “what do I do now?”
There are countless ways to “break into the business” which can somehow make it seem more difficult to accomplish. But if you’re starting from scratch, the next best step is to get your query letter together.
A query letter in today’s world is an email with a casual introduction, a killer logline, and a polite sign off. That’s it. Take a look at this helpful article from ScreenCraft about how to construct the perfect query letter.
Here’s a pretty neat opportunity for anyone eager to improve their writing skills. The Script Lab is offering a weekend of free access to over 40 of Hollywood’s top screenwriters, studio executives, managers, agents, producers, and world-renowned screenwriting instructors.
The weekend of September 22-23, check out The Script Lab’s Virtual Screenwriting Summit for some pretty exclusive and potentially craft changing information. There are a lot of great resources out there to help, and it’s even better when they’re free!
As screenwriters, we get rejected a lot. If you haven’t, you’re either very lucky, or very new at this. Submitting your work and having it ignored (if you’re lucky) or ripped apart (if you’re not), doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Learning from rejection is a time-honored rite of passage for all aspiring creators. Harry Potter was rejected by publishers a solid twelve times, sometimes with harsh words, before our favorite boy wizard inspired seven books, eight films, and three theme parks.
If your pitch, story, or screenplay is turned down, congratulations! You thought of something, made it, and showed it to someone else. That is something to be commended and celebrated. Use this time to pat yourself on the back for being brave, but also use it as a time to see where you went wrong. Improve your structure, take another look at the dialogue, tweak and tighten, so that when you submit it again (which you definitely will), it’ll be that much harder to turn down.
And while you may be discouraged, take heart in the fact that some of our favorite movies of all time were passed over before finding their way to the big screen. See some shocking examples here, watch Brian Grazer’s words of encouragement here, and share in the comments something you’ve learned from rejection.