ScreenCraft Finalist Janine DeMaria’s Screenwriting Advice

2019 ScreenCraft Fellowship finalist, Janine DeMaria, signed with Rain Management Group. Janine was a finalist for her one hour pilot FLYING HIGH. We asked her about her experience and she sent us this wonderful note:

“The hardest thing I encountered when first starting out was getting people to read my work. Even then, getting the right people to read it was also hard. I was treating writing more like a hobby or pipe dream because it seemed so hard to get to the place of being an actual professional writer. The second I fully committed to it, things really started to happen for me.

Entering screenwriting competitions can help you if you enter the right ones. I really like ScreenCraft because of the quality of their judges and the opportunity to receive feedback from them. It’s incredibly helpful and my writing has improved because of it. My manager is always encouraging me to enter my work into competitions because it’s a great selling point to be able to use when landing me assignments and deals – but be sure that the competitions are reputable and respected like ScreenCraft!

Finding the right manager was huge. It’s important to find representation that gets you and your voice instead of just signing with anyone just to have a rep. I love my managers because they get me and my writing. They’re two very strong women that fight for me and are a constant source of encouragement and are honest with me which can be a hard thing to come by in this business.

The single coolest thing that has happened to me is pitching my project to Sam Raimi and having him come on as a producer!

Advice to other writers – just keep writing. This business has very high highs and very low lows. Things can turn on a dime and change for the better or worse so fast so it’s important to just keep churning out material no matter what. If you’ve hit a wall and can’t seem to generate anything new, go back and look at some of your old stuff and fix the problems. Just don’t give up. Don’t let the business and politics of it all get the better of you. Things aren’t always fair but that’s life.

And don’t be a dick. It’s easy to pass on a dick writer and just like, why be a dick? It’s not like we’re curing cancer here – were telling stories and what we do is important but it’s so important to have a sense of humor and not take yourself too seriously.

The great thing about being a writer is that we can do it anywhere, at anytime. We don’t need a camera, a stage, or material to do our job…we create the material. It’s a blessing but it’s also a curse because I’m always thinking ‘I should be writing.’ It’s like having homework for the rest of your life but when I get into it and hit that stride where everything is flowing, I don’t feel like I should be doing anything else. Those moments are what makes the heartache that this industry can throw at you, all worth it. Strive for that feeling and the only way to get there is to just keep writing!

– Janine DeMaria

See more writer success stories here.