You’ve been clacking on your keyboard for years. Toiling. Churning out movie script after movie script. Your screenplays are piling up, but getting little traction. You start doubting your writing skills. Will you break through?
In order to succeed, you need to embrace the screenwriting grind. There is no way around it. Athletes cannot skip training. There is light at the end of the tunnel. You are being noticed, even though nobody seems to respond to your work. Keep showing up to your keyboard, day after day. Get your writing read, whether it’s via screenplay contests, screenwriting fellowships, or requests from producers, agents and managers.
Master the craft of screenwriting and devote yourself to improving it.
THIS IS THE TRANSACTIONAL ASPECT OF BEING A SCREENWRITER.
You consider quitting the business. Then you hit a tipping point. Rather than reaching out to the film industry, people are now reaching out to you. What happened?
You’ve found your place in the world. Your screenplays have reached a level of professionalism that allows your work to be circulated.
You’ve appealed to the gatekeepers’ tastes and they have a few avenues to sell and produce your movie or TV scripts.
YOU HAVE REACHED A TRANSFORMATIONAL MOMENT.
Your scripts have a particular voice – a unique way of evaluating and interpreting the world. Your writing voice is your brand. Your brand is your superpower.
You have a personal message to the world through the themes, characters and stories you tell. There is an authenticity to your screenwriting that makes readers feel a certain level of comfort. You understand their concerns and struggles of your audience. And they feel yours. You have filled a gap in their film viewing lives.
The art of breaking through as a screenwriter relates to your ability to find an effective balance between the tangible (craft) and intangible (connection) aspects of the business. There are no overnight screenwriting success stories. Your open wounds and battle scars endured through your screenwriting journey breathe in your screenplays.
This is about experiencing the peaks and troughs of life more than perfecting your screenwriting craft. The technical aspects of a screenplay can be learned and perfected with enough practice. The soul that drives it cannot. It can only be focused by the screenwriter.
You have achieved a level of trust with the gatekeepers and are now ready to share your wisdom with your audience. In many respects, breaking through as a screenwriter represents your healing process. You are prepared to serve the cinema-going public.
Being a screenwriter in demand is more than generating screenplays. You are essentially a steward of your stories. They spark imagination and initiate change, even if it’s an escape for a few hours.
You must build up your body of work to succeed as a screenwriter. Be vulnerable, show consistency and integrity and they will come.