Monday, May 4, 2015

The Screenwriter's Prequel: Do You Have What It Takes?

The Screenwriter's Prequel deadline is coming up on June 1st, and applications are rolling in. You can learn more about the program here.

Are you trying to determine if the Prequel is the right fit for you? Want to know more about what it takes to be a professional screenwriter? Here are some questions to consider:

Do you feel compelled to write? Notice I didn't ask, Do you love to write? Many writers I know don't love it on a daily basis, including me. As soon as I get settled into my writing time on some days, I'd rather play another round of Candy Crush, right after a good nap. Well, most days. Okay fine, every day. However, there is a small, sometimes not so quiet, voice that urges me to get to it. Writing is on my to-do list every day, and I feel a sense of accomplishment when I check it off the list. If you're already writing, great. You get a sticker. If you love writing all the time, great. You get two stickers and a sideways glance from me wondering if you're a Stepford robot. If you've "always wanted to write" but never been able to get yourself together to actually do it, sorry. We can't help you. We don't carry any magical pixie dust that will automatically force you to sit down at your computer. If you're somewhere in between and just need a boost, a reason, or even just permission to do make writing a greater priority in your life, we can come alongside and offer plenty of motivation.

Do you love having written? So do I. That's why I force myself to do it when I'd rather nap. The reward of having written is what keeps me going when the writing itself feels more like punishment. If you can relate, you are a writer.

Are you willing to learn something new? I went to a holistic doctor recently and she mentioned that one of the most important questions she asks her patients is, "Are you willing to be well?" She says there are many people who are sick simply because some part of them is not willing to participate in the healing process. I think it is the same with screenwriters and coaches. Writers who are open to learning will break through the mental blocks that keep them from growing and achieving success. If you believe you can never be a master of this craft, only a student, then you will go far.

Do you have something to say? Writers are prophetic voices for the masses. An emerging writer may not be able to articulate exactly what it is she wants to say, but she recognizes that it is important, and it has the potential to help others. The bulk of our work mentoring writers is to help them identify and strengthen their voice. However, we can't help you if you think stories shouldn't have something to say.

Do you want to write professionally for the screen? Notice we haven't mentioned any cliches that people typically associate with a Hollywood-based screenwriting program, including how old you need to be, what genres are selling, or how hungry you are to win, win, win. We'd rather you not focus on those things because they tend to become distractions from doing the greater work. That said, the Screenwriter's Prequel faculty are chock-full of wisdom about the need to write content that also succeeds in the marketplace. If you want to make grandiose art that pleases no audience but yourself, knock yourself out- by yourself. If you want to create something of quality intended for a specific audience that has the real possibility of being seen, we can guide you through those steps, and help you lay out a specific plan to get it in front of the right people.

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