I enjoy writing screenplays (when I am not writing the books I want to get out to the public before my brain depletes) but I also want to write quality screenplays.
My very first attempt was me writing what was in my head. I had zero clues about formatting, structure, the ‘recipe’, nor the business behind screenplays, which means my first screenplay was a train wreck of words. Not that I am a perfectionist, but I don’t want to put garbage out in contests.
What to do?
I did some research and purchased a dozen books that were highly recommended by the pros. A pro to me is someone that is successful doing something I am trying to learn. That’s who I want to learn from. Sure, some luck out and are what one may consider a ‘natural’ at screenwriting and/or storytelling, but the majority of us would need to work hard to be as good as the pros.
One of the books is from Bob Saenz, and the link for the book on Amazon is listed below, has helped me considerably. Why? Bob writes his book out as if he’s sitting across from you and having a discussion over coffee. His words are not fluff nor are they structured to give you false information or fake encouragement. His main take-away (for me) is: if you’re going to do it, do it right, do it well and do it often!
Bob also includes the business side also. This is a hard section for me because of the TBIs incurred in the military. It has caused me to shrink from conversation with anyone. Most days I don’t speak. Lots of phantoms in the closet and that’s my hurdle to jump over, but for now, I don’t have it in me to promote my screenplays because my brain has stopped me from trying.
The last thing I want is for my screenplays to be purchased/optioned and made into a movie, all because the production company felt bad for me. I don’t want pity and at the slightest hint that I am being pitied, I put a quick stop to it…but the reality is the damage has been done and it isn’t going to get better for me or my brain.
I don’t quit.
That’s an important thing to understand. I’ve embrace how impossible it will be for me to pitch a screenplay/movie to execs, but I still continue writing. Why? Self pride. Motivation. Never quitting anything. Lots of reasons. I am not going to put garbage in front of anyone.
Bob’s book has helped me and I read it every couple of months. I do this because of retention issues, plus it helps me fine-tune my screenplays. I read his book and take notes and each time I do so, I am able to retain a little bit more. I don’t recommended many things because my criteria is firm and unforgiving. It has to impress me, for me to support it.
On my personal facebook profile (long gone now), Bob had mentioned he was stressed that no one rated his book a ‘one star’ rating, so I went onto Amazon and gave him a one-star rating…but the write-up was a stellar critique (5 stars). I wrote it comedically, but with honesty. I believe in helping others succeed when they put forth a good product.
I will continue to read Bob’s book and will continue to be envious of his success, but his success is my motivation to succeed. I am not jealous of his success, but I am very envious. I am envious of every writer that wins the grand prize on any screenwriting contest. I’ve managed to achieve quarter-finalist status on two of my screenplays and one semi-finalist. That’s the current height of my success.
But I keep writing. It’s my motivation to write daily…what’s your motivation?
Bob Saenz wrote: That’s Not the Way it Works: A no-nonsense guide to the craft and business of screenwriting and it has helped me considerably.
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