Screenwriting advice is everywhere. It’s become a secondary industry since the screenwriting boom of the 1990s with blogs, books, podcasts, classes, seminars, and workshops. Much of it focuses on story and structure theory. A screenwriter could read for years about such things before they realize that there is no one true answer to the now age-old question — What does it take to write a great screenplay?
The same can be said for the follow-up question that is a direct product of those days in Hollywood during the 1990s where studios were paying big money for spec scripts and pitches — What does it take to sell a screenplay?
While all of the information screenwriters can find is excellent food for the brain and can help them on their journey, the best advice that they can ingest can be found here in this video, which is an off shoot of one of the greatest and most underrated screenwriting educational tools available: Tales From the Script. This documentary offers the real advice that screenwriters need. It’s no secret that here on this screenwriting blog at ScreenCraft, we try to offer a mix of practical advice and insight, but often peppered with a little tough love and realism.
So here we have 9 minutes of screenwriting advice that embraces that approach — for while it’s always good to offer hope, kudos, and sunshine, all too often it’s even more helpful to receive a little dose of hard truth so that all screenwriters can come down from the clouds, look themselves in the mirror, and truly prepare a game plan for success with a grounded approach.
The video features excellent advice from the likes of Adam Rifkin (Small Soldiers), Ron Shelton (Bull Durham), Doug Atchison (Akeelah and the Bee), John August (Big Fish), Peter Hyams (2010), Joe Forte (Firewall), Mark Rosenthal (Mona Lisa Smile), David Hayter (X-Men), Zak Penn (The Incredible Hulk), Kriss Turner (Something New), Joe Stillman (Shrek), Billy Ray (Captain Phillips), Stephen Susco (The Grudge), Andrew W. Marlowe (Air Force One), Jose Rivera (The Motorcycle Diaries), Jane Anderson (It Could Happen to You), John D. Brancato (The Game), Justin Zackham (The Bucket List), Bruce Joel Rubin (Ghost), etc.
If there’s a single piece of advice to take from this video, it’s that you should know that things are the way they are for everyone and not to feel overly discouraged, defeated, and singled out. Instead, be strong. Weather the storm. All of these successful screenwriters have been through what you’re going through now — believe it or not. Keep writing. If you want and need this dream bad enough, if you do the work you need to do, and if you be patient as you hone your skills and seek out those opportunities — it can happen.