Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Advice to a Screenwriting Major
Read the best screenwriting books! (My favorites are listed on the sidebar—>) I learned more about filmmaking from "Save the Cat" than all four years at Webster University combined. Screenwriting books will give you tools to solve problems in your own scripts. TOOLS not RULES! The only rule in storytelling as far I'm concerned is to never bore your audience.
Balance theory and practice. You can learn all you want, but if you don't put your knowledge to use then it is wasted. Conversely if you practice your art but never learn anything you won't improve.
Pitch your story to people at EVERY stage of development. Does it interest them? Are they bored or confused? You can gain incredible insight when people critique your work. Trust the process. If an idea is not working then you must "kill your babies", and explore alternate routes. The best ideas will always find their way back.
Find a couple people whom you respect and organize story development sessions with them. With the help of my friends Frank and Zach I wrote FIVE drafts of "The Perfect Gardener" in TWO weeks. Without their help it would have taken me months, and probably never have become as good as it did. In a three hour meeting we accomplished the equivalent of three weeks of development had it been just me.
Lastly, read these two articles. They are my storytelling Bible. The articles were scanned from this book.