Friday, October 3, 2008

My Advice

Maybe you’ve already made up your mind as to what you’re going to do, maybe you’ve got all the advice you need and some you don’t, but I thought I’d throw my 2cents in.

First of, I appreciate your rant, God knows I’ve had a few of my own over the years and written about them too. I’m lucky though, I have writer friends, people in the same boat as me and people much more successful and further on down the road then me, so I have a support group as such.

My advice, simple, keep writing, never stop writing. You’re a writer. What you do to make ends meet, which is something we all have to do because we live in the real world, is not what or who you are. That’s just a job. You are a writer. You know you are without me saying it, because it’s something that burns inside you, it’s a passion. You have ideas all the time. You get excited when you think of the ending for a new story, even more excited when the ending arrives before the beginning and you just have to get to it! 

You love writing, you love sitting in a room by yourself with your computer or pad or typewriter and letting the ideas come to you. Nothing gives you greater pleasure. If all this is true then keep writing. 

I’ve been writing for about ten years now, every day, I carry a notebook where ever I go and I write whatever comes into my head. I’ve a stack of the bloody things. When people ask: what would you take from a burning building? I say my notebooks, although I’d have to make at least four trips!

I’ve written about ten or more short scripts, four or five ideas for TV shows, several ideas for novels and comic book and about nine completed feature screenplays, the first six of which were crap! But they last three haven’t been bad. 
Two of the shorts have been produced so far. I have interest on the last two feature scripts and the latest TV show idea. It’s taken a bloody long time, a lot of rants, quit jobs, returning to jobs, more rants and more quit jobs to get here. Now things are starting to happen it feels worth it. Even though it didn’t at the time I now know that I needed that time. I had to learn my craft.

Keep writing. Don’t worry about writing one thing and putting all your hope and faith in that script. Send it out sure, but start on the next one straight away. The more you write the better you’ll become. The more you write now the closer you’ll be to the good stuff, the stuff people put money into. And none of the stuff you’re doing now will be lost. You may feel if you leave it in a drawer it was a waist. I promise you’ll come back to it, whether you decide to do rewrite or whether you borrow scenes from it.

A friend of mine had the opportunity once to meet and talk with David Keopp (Jurassic Park, Carlito’s Way, Mission Impossible, Stir of Echoes, Spider-Man etc.) He was 24 at the time and Keopp asked how many screenplays had he written? He answered; 2, which he was very proud of. Keopp said he should be on his 8th by now. So he duely went home and started writing. It wasn’t long after that he came up with his first TV show idea, which evetually became ‘Psychos’ and soon after came ‘Spooks’. Moral of the story, keep writing. The good stuff will come.

Don’t let the rejection get you down. They say if you’re not get a rejection letter every day then you’re not sending it to enough people! Tongue in cheek sure, but I made a promise to myself a while back, every time I got a rejection letter, no matter how crap it made me feel I would, that moment, send another script out, or another email to a producer or agent, just to do something constructive, just to let myself know that I wasn’t letting the bastards get me down.

Just remember that rejections are not a reflection of your work. When you apply for money through these things your script gets read by another writer, or a wannabe writer, who hasn’t been able to get their own stuff produced so the get a job as a reader. I’ve got so many notes from these people and all they tell me is that - it’s not the way they would write it – of course it isn’t, their not me!

Look mate, it’s hard, harder then we expect and harder then anyone can ever say and maybe for a lot of people it’s not worth, maybe some are destined never to make it, but we have to try. 

Anyway, hope some of that made sense. I wish you all the best with your work. Let me know how you get on and when your first film goes into production. I look forward to seeing it.


ps. write from the heart... not for the budget! Let the producer worry about that!

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