The two greatest concerns, based on our flood of survey responses (thanks again!) were
- The Business of writing and
- Finishing our work.
In other words, people literally not knowing how to turn their creativity into sales and money, or not knowing how to motivate themselves to actually finish their work.
A couple of days ago, I discussed motivation, and said that, in general, we are motivated when we believe that we will gain more pleasure than pain from the process. And while this is true of any human endeavor, the arts are a special problem, and if you want to be a screenwriter, a very special sub-set of the writing game, arguably the most competitive art form in the world (EVERYBODY seems to want to write a script!) this can create a very special nightmare.
When I started my career, I lived in Los Angeles, worked in the Hollywood area, but had never met a single person who had so much as sold a single television episode to the industry. Took me years to maneuver myself into a position to meet such folks. More years to find agents and allies. And even more before someone told me a very special secret, and if you don’t know this secret you can spend DECADES toiling away for nothing.
Just two days ago, a friend and client, one of the most successful writers in Hollywood (certainly the top 1% of people who try to make a go in this industry) published a link to an article that was breathtaking and heartbreaking. Here it is: http://goodinaroom.com/blog/lie-most-frequently-told-in-hollywood/
You need to check it out. But the basic reality is that PEOPLE LIE TO YOU IN HOLLYWOOD. No one wants to say “no.” Not because they hate you and want to “trick” you, but because they LIKE YOU AND MIGHT WANT TO WORK WITH YOU ONE DAY. Yeah. I know that sounds silly. But it’s not only true, but it is disturbing as hell, because…
- It prevents you from getting the feedback you need to improve
- Without that feedback, you are lost, emotionally, never knowing what will create pleasure, what will create pain.
- That lack of improvement means you don’t get to see the finished work, and without that, you will never hear how your dialog sounds spoken by real human beings never see how your stage directions look translated into shots. Never get to see “behind the curtain.”
And let me tell you something, there is another huge problem with screenwriting: a prose story is a story. It is the finished product. If published, it looks much the same on the printed page as it did on your computer screen.
But a finished script IS NOT A MOVIE. It is a blueprint for a movie. And anyone who actually gets something “made” has a fantastic advantage over those who have yet to do so. They get to see how the dreams in their head, and the process of their work, lead to the process of sales and production, and how it looks after actors, artists, directors, and editors finish their jobs. Trust me: YOU HAVE NO CLUE if you haven’t been through the process. And once you have, you can never be a virgin again. You understand. This is one reason why anyone who gets something actually produced probably has a 10,000% better chance of getting a second piece produced than a newbie has of getting in the door in the first place.
My “Machine” concept was designed to take someone from the outside of the industry to the inside. And it works. But it breaks down if you can’t get the feedback.
Art Holcomb is the story and craft Guru from Creative Screenwriting Magazine, consultant to Hollywood studios, lecturer world-wide and a top coach and mentor. I think he’s brilliant. We spoke for hours about just this problem, and he challenged me to adapt my “Machine” concept for screenwriters, and at first I thought it impossible.
But planning and plotting, looking at every aspect of the “Game”, we realized that while, individually, we had no clue how to do it, TOGETHER we each had a piece of the puzzle, and that when we fit them together, they fit like a glove. That we’d created a 21st Century approach to the game. One that addresses every concern we could think of, and all of those that you brought to us.
If you want to make movies, have we got something for you. A path that will teach you everything you need…and more importantly, (MUCH more) will show you things you thought you knew that you really don’t. And give you a foundation to build on that is simply phenomenal.
And this Wednesday, we’re going to let you in the door!
Write with Passion!