I get quite a few emails asking what’s wrong? Why aren’t I making posts? Am I sick?
Nope. In fact, I’m trying to get back into the groove.
I just haven’t been motivated to share much of anything about screenwriting and this business since my brother died. I think some of that is due to the fact that so often I read the same kinds of comments over and over and over again. I’ve actually grown weary of arguing my points.
Because it makes me tired… Like I’m beating my head against the wall. But that’s the way people are so no harm — no foul.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for debate and arguing one’s point if one believes without a shadow of a doubt that one is correct but folks… This is fucking screenwriting.
To me, there are certain truths that simply cannot be ignored and to argue them with me is pointless. I have my opinion and you obviously have yours. Mine is no more or no less valid than yours, is it not?
By the same token, I 1000% accept the fact that your opinion is no more or less valid than mine. In any case, we can always agree to disagree.
I don’t even feel much like explaining what I’m trying to explain here and now… To me, it should be obvious and like I’ve said, I’ve grown weary of spelling it out. Save your arguments for something worth a shit.
And if you’ve emailed me lately, please don’t fret… I will eventually get back to you. I’m just tired.
So today, I’m going to share an email I just finished writing to someone — a regular reader of this site whom I’ve decided to lend a hand to…
Here’s his email… I won’t mention his name because I don’t have his permission but I hope my answer makes sense of what The Unknown Screenwriter is all about…
I know you’re a busy man so only respond when you have the time. But then again you never do have the time. So maybe not. LOL.
I think I already know the answer to this question but curious cause maybe there’s more than I thought (knowing me, there always is).
Script Doctors. What does it take to become one? I can only imagine it comes from knowing the script industry inside and out. Reading and writing tons of them. Education whether on my own or through school.
Probably the biggest aspect — is have a knack for it. Knowing what needs to be done and what doesn’t need to be done with a script.
The way I figure it, if I were to become one (obviously with time), then I would be able to write a script very well and know what to do and what not to do. If that makes any sense? That’s what I want. I want to perfect the art of screenwriting. I think perfection is impossible, but it’s a goal and I need goals.
When I was younger in high school. I was into baseball like no other, and Ken Griffey Jr. was and is my biggest baseball hero/idol. Watching him swing his bat effortlessly and knocking the ball out of the park. The way he plays outfield is so smooth. He has perfected swinging the bat.
Now times have changed and my goals have changed since high school. No longer playing ball. Just working for my family. I’ve always had an interest in screenwriting and was sick of putting it off. Let’s just say that you are Ken Griffey Jr. to me. So it really does go a long ways when you do what you have done and I really APPRECIATE IT ALL.
Kinda weird cause I could tell you all of Ken Griffey’s stats, but when it comes to Unk… Well, I just really appreciate all of it. So only respond when it’s appropriate for you.
I was discussing this very thing yesterday with someone else I’m trying to help become a screenwriter…
All the shit that I post on the site is basically written to help bring anyone interested in achieving performance up to a MINIMUM BASELINE. With this other person, I used the metaphor of driving a car.
When we learn to drive a car, we don’t know shit… We’ve seen everyone drive from having been a passenger but when it comes to actually getting behind the wheel, many of us make the same mistakes right off the bat:
- Turning too tight
- Braking too hard
- Not braking hard enough
- Not coming to a full stop
- Too fast acceleration
- Not looking in all the rear view mirrors
- So on and so on…
We need that EXPERIENCE BEHIND THE WHEEL and to finally get our driver’s license and be legal to drive, we obviously meet the basic minimum standard. However, the more we drive the better we get.
We get to our destinations faster and just as safe. We anticipate oncoming traffic even better. We can stop and start the vehicle without any sudden jerks… We can park into a spot without more than one try. And on and on and on.
EXPERIENCE is what lifts you ABOVE the minimum baseline. Hence, the more experience you gain, the more people want to read your stuff. Hence, the larger network you have of people “in the business” that want to read your stuff.
This “above the baseline experience” is a totally new kind of experience. Those with natural talent will often rise above everyone else yet those of us who stick to it long enough will eventually rise above the baseline and when people read your stuff, THEY IMMEDIATELY SEE THAT YOUR WRITING IS ABOVE THE BASELINE.
This excites people because most of what we read day in and day out is SHIT.
So just like your baseball player, enough experience CAN get you above the baseline. Experience and talent can make you a superstar. And the timeline for everyone is obviously different because everyone works and learns AT THEIR OWN PACE.
Which is why I stress THE BASICS… People that argue semantics with me, just make me tired. Everyone wants to break the rules. I have no problem with that…
Hell, I’ve broken more rules than anyone I know and not just screenwriting rules… LOL.
If you break the rules early on, it’s very likely that you’ll never actually MEET the minimum baseline of screenwriting and then, with enough rejection and people telling you that your stuff needs a hell of a lot more work, you give up. This happens to thousands of people every day.
This is why you learn how to put your script into perfect format standards. This is why you go through it 50 times to make sure there are no typos or spelling errors. This is why you learn basic story structure… So that you can MEET THE MINIMUM BASELINE.
Once you know all that shit backwards and forwards, you then start rising above the baseline and it’s usually THEN that your stuff gets noticed.
When your stuff gets noticed by enough people and even IF you don’t sell anything, you’d be surprised at how these people (in the business) will come to you when they need a script fix. Script Docs (good ones) are so fucking expensive that many producers will go with those less known because of a few things they’ve read from that screenwriter EVEN if they didn’t sell.
Which is once again WHY you need to know the minimum baseline. Without knowing it, you can’t fucking fix a screenplay because you can’t figure out what the fuck is wrong with it.
Know this shit backwards and forwards and problems STICK OUT AT YOU LIKE A SORE THUMB.
And then you can fix them.
Above the baseline.