What is a screenplay?It’s no secret that there are a lot of us that want to write screenplays and it’s even less of a secret that a lot of us are already writing screenplays. In fact, whether you live in Los Angeles or Fargo, chances are you know someone BESIDES YOURSELF that wants to take a shot at writing a screenplay.

I used to love that. Yeah, I just fucking loved hearing people talking about writing that blockbuster screenplay of theirs. That STORY inside of them that was just ITCHING to be turned into 110 pages of hard copy screenplay.

It got me excited.

Why?

Because I want to write screenplays too! And even though I never really came across anyone I’ve ever wanted to collaborate with, I always loved having someone to talk screenwriting with…

At least that’s what I thought at the time.

I don’t think that anymore.

In fact, the older I get, the more I WINCE at the ideas for screenplays tossed my way. That’s why I’m writing this post today. Things are different today. Things are going to get even more different TOMORROW.

And because of these changes coming at us like a fucking heart attack, I just want to ask you a question.

Do you really want to become a Screenwriter? Seriously?

I’m really asking YOU to ASK YOURSELF this question and IF the ANSWER is indeed YES, then keep reading… PLEASE.

Do you really know what a screenplay is? If not, let’s consider what it is…

  • A screenplay is an entertaining story blueprint for a film conceived and designed to give whomever reads it a vicariously emotional experience.

Okay… That’s what I think a screenplay is… You may think differently. If so… then keep reading.

  • A screenplay is a sales brochure for a movie conceived and designed to capture the interest of investors, producers, directors,  and actors.

Don’t like that one either? How about this…

  • A screenplay is a written conception of a movie that excites people who read it enough to want to make it.

I could keep going but why? It all says the same thing, right? You get the idea… Cool.

Let’s get back to why you want to be a screenwriter…

I get it. You want to be rich and famous like Quentin Tarantino or Joe Eszterhas? Really? So you’re 100% WILLING to learn the craft of screenwriting and write a screenplay just so you can become rich and famous? You’re going to buckle down and learn structure and theme? You’re going to learn how to create and develop a character? Learn how to reveal backstory? Character arcs?

OR

Are you just gonna sit the fuck down and bang out that pretty little blockbuster because you saw SUCH and SUCH movie and anyone can write SHIT like that, right? Hell, you might as well toss your hat into the ring because you’ve got just as much chance as making it as anyone else, right?

OR

You already know how to write, RIGHT? Everyone loves your poems. Mom and Dad brag to your uncles and aunts how you won that online poem contest that nobody’s ever heard of so of course, you must have a few Oscar winning screenplays in you… RIGHT?

OR

You already write novels and or short stories… Cool. You’re ALREADY A REAL WRITER and screenwriting isn’t really real writing, RIGHT? You’re getting closer but do you know how many authors have tried to learn how to write screenplays and just never get it? They just can’t seem to REEL IT THE FUCK IN and so their drafts end up making really outstanding paperweights.

OR

Let me guess… You’re an artist. Or is that ARTISTE? Well if you’re a makeup artist, you have a hell of a lot better chance at succeeding in the movies. Even the term ARTIST seems to have a negative connotation in Hollywood. Call someone in Hollywood an Artist and you might as well be saying that person is hard to work with or is not capable of compromise and if we know anything about Hollywood and making films ESPECIALLY FOR THE SPEC SCREENWRITER that’s never sold a spec before it’s the fact that compromise needs to be your middle name.

OR

You’re an extremely VISUAL THINKER. Yeah, that’s right. Mom and Dad told you that from a very young age, you always thought in colors and shapes so SHIT, a screenplay should be a piece of fuckin’ cake, RIGHT?

OR

You can’t stand the movies in theaters these days and you KNOW you can write something better than that schlock, RIGHT? Or better yet, you know that you can, SINGLE-HANDED change what’s playing in the theaters for the better, RIGHT?

Okay… Maybe I went a little overboard with some of this because GOD knows I’d love to fucking change what Hollywood is doing to fuck up the movie business but since I keep breathing air, I’m also able to give myself reality checks here and there and let’s face facts… You can’t do it all by yourself.

The bottom line is this…

You better LOVE movies — even the shit that’s out there playing right now. You don’t have to love a particular movie but you need to LOVE the idea of that movie and the PROMISE of what the movie was trying to BE.

You better LOVE WRITING A SCREENPLAY.

You better LOVE how writing a screenplay is harder than writing a novel.

You better LOVE how you can’t just go off on a tangent about this character or that character.

You better LOVE how you have to write in proper screenplay format.

You better LOVE how much less FREEDOM you have writing a screenplay that just about any other fucking kind of writing there is.

Got it?

Still here?

Outstanding.

Get to work.

Unk

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