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.
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.
This summer, the students in the Hollins University Graduate Screenwriting & Film Studies video production class will release a seven-episode web series, called Failure to Adult, that was written, directed, and edited by Hollins University students. The writing took place during the spring semester prior and the filming of all seven episodes took place during the six-week summer session. It really is impressive what was accomplished in that time frame.
As a member of this class, I was incredibly excited to learn the filmmaking process from start to finish and script to screen as a new writer and filmmaker (I can say that now!). It was wonderful to learn each phase of the filmmaking process and how each phase brings its own set of challenges. We had six weeks to cast, shoot, edit, and premiere the web series. In order to do this successfully, we really had to work together and take on our own unique roles outside of rotating between the crew positions of Director, 1st Assistant Director (1st AD, the person who manages the set), Sound, Gaffer (the person in charge of the lights), props master/craft services (free food!), Director of Photography (DP), and Script Supervisor (scripty). While some of us hunted locations another corresponded with actors while somebody else organized all of our necessary information so we could all stay on the same page. It was a whirlwind of a process, but we are happy about the outcome. The coolest (and most terrifying) feeling was sitting in a room with peers and friends as we watched and laughed at the show we created. We got some strong feedback and are hopeful about how it will be received.
Feel free to check out the series and share it with people you know. It will officially launch in September on Vimeo and YouTube. Stay tuned!
Click here to see more details: Failure to Adult: Official Facebook Page
Press from NPR: Hollins Program Cranks Out Hopeful Filmmakers
The folks at Film Courage sat down with Markus Redmond to discuss his professional journey how he broke into Hollywood as both an actor and as a writer. For those incredibly ambitious folks, pin this and watch it. Enjoy 🙂
Have additional insight? Feel free to comment, discuss, and share.
See the full interview here: How I Broke Into Acting and Screenwriting in Hollywood – Markus Redmond [FULL INTERVIEW]
Paula Schwartz with MovieMaker magazine sat down with Linus Sandgren to discuss the behind the scenes details about how he and director Damien Chazelle directed and filmed everything in La La Land.
Read the full article here: The Camera is a Dancer: DP Linus Sandgren Walks Us Through How He and Damien Chazelle Shot La La Land
Music plays such a vital role in the film and storytelling process. Alfred Hitchcock considered this role to be so important, he often listed his music directors directly after his name in the opening credits of his films. The folks at Film Courage sat down with music producer Harvey Mason, Jr to discuss everything from how to create a film soundtrack, what a music producer actually does to moving to Los Angeles to what happens after saying “YES” to a project.
Harvey Mason’s work includes SING, DreamGirls, Pitch Perfect, Sparkle, and The Wiz Live!
See the full video, article, and Harvey’s bio here: First Steps In Making A Movie Soundtrack by Harvey Mason, Jr.
Brianne Hogan with Creative Screenwriting sat down with Lisa Robinson and Annie J. Howell to discuss their project, Claire in Motion, as well as how directors can learn from their actors, and their writing process.
Read the full article here: Shared Inspiration: Claire in Motion
Casting Associate Michael Duni sits down with acting coach Richard Warner to discuss how to get started as an actor, whether it’s early or later in life.
See the full video here: arvold. CONVERSATION: Getting Started in Acting
Christopher Campbell from Film School Rejects gathers and shares six pieces of filmmaking advice from British filmmaker Ben Wheatley. As creatives, we find inspiration from many people, places, events, and things. Here’s more insight into how one successful filmmaker gets work done. Use your inspiration wisely 🙂
Read the full article here: 6 Filmmaking Tips from Ben Wheatley
On behalf of everyone at Hollins University, I’d like to wish a very happy birthday to Tim Albaugh*, the director of the Hollins University Summer Graduate Screenwriting and Film Studies program.
For over a decade, Tim has worked tirelessly as a champion for not only the program but for every single student who joins the Hollins University family. Running a graduate program based in Virginia from the opposite end of the country in California is no easy task, and Tim does so willingly with enthusiasm, diligence, good humor, and love. Whether students are gathered in Texas, California, or Virginia, Tim has made genuine efforts to build a strong community of creatives, artists, and storytellers.
Thank you for all your hard work, encouragement, and support. Here’s to your next lap around the sun. May there be many more.
*Link to biography