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Best advice for a newbie

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Hi, seasoned screenwriters, I'm looking for your best advice for a newbie screenwriter. If you could go back to yourself at the beginning of your journey, what would you make sure your "newbie self" knew?  What would be your biggest warning? Lay it on me, folks. Thanks.
#1 - August 17, 2009, 12:54 AM
Plumb Crazy (Swoon Romance, 2014)
Big Fuzzy Coat (MeeGenius!)
Rembrandt and the Boy Who Drew Dogs (Barron's)

www.mollyblaisdell.blogspot.com

Quzi

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UM, well, I'm not a scriptwriter but Robert McKee's 'Story' about constructing scripts is a favorite and comes highly recomended. Best of luck with this, Molly.
Susan
#2 - August 17, 2009, 06:08 AM

is kooky.
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I recently read that 'Save the Cat' by Blake Snyder is a must have book, as well.
#3 - August 17, 2009, 06:38 AM
"The mind is everything. What you think, you become." ~Buddha   

Blog - http://yarghing.com

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We should talk, Molly. Will you be at our first regional meeting? My best advice would have NOTHING to do with formatting books, plot structures, classes, training, etc. Some of it would include:
1. Be prepared to let go of your story. Completely. And if you want to make money, you have to be the one to change the girl to a monkey and the boy to an alien. There's no money in the business (and they won't want to work with you) if you don't do the stupid rewrites based on what are often really thoughtless notes.
2. Go to LA. A lot. George W has made it from our locale, and Royce has had success, too (but notice he had to sell the book first, as did the other guy in our area who just hit it big). But they are by far the exception.

Okay, I've just deleted what I wrote next. I'm probably a little too jaded to offer good advice here. But really, we should talk. Forewarned is forearmed.
#4 - August 17, 2009, 08:50 AM
The Farwalker Trilogy
The Humming of Numbers
Reality Leak

www.jonisensel.com

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Some great books to check out are:

"Save the Cat" by Blake Snyder
"The Writers Journey" by Christopher Vogler
"How to Write a Selling Screenplay" by Christopher Keane
"The Sequence Approach" by Paul Gulino

And if you're really ready to dive in then the "Bible" of screenwriting is Robert McKee's "Story."

I would also suggest watching the audio commentaries on movies, particularly those that have the screenwriter speaking, or the director is also the screenwriter. Enjoy!
#5 - August 24, 2009, 04:33 PM

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I've read Robert McKee's Story.  Thick and meaty but a useful book for any kind of writer. Got me into the form and shape of stories. I like that "The Writer's Journey" by Christopher Vogler too.  I will check out the other books. 

On movie commentary, do you recommend any particular commentary? I've watched some commentaries, but if there was one you you would like to recommend, that would perfectly awesome. Thank you.
#6 - September 02, 2009, 10:08 PM
Plumb Crazy (Swoon Romance, 2014)
Big Fuzzy Coat (MeeGenius!)
Rembrandt and the Boy Who Drew Dogs (Barron's)

www.mollyblaisdell.blogspot.com

Captain Ink

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Two other books to check out:

"Adventures in the screen trade" - William Goldman
"My movie business: A memoir" - John Irving
#7 - September 03, 2009, 07:13 AM

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I'm probably like some of the others who think the books are good, but not right away. At first you don't even know what you need to know and it's too much to take in at once.

I had the best luck by getting the scripts to my favorite movies, the ones I had seen multiple times, then watching them again with remote in hand, and reading the screenplay while it played, pausing constantly. It's an immersion in how scripts translate to screen.

Then, just start writing one. You'll find you can't get one paragraph in without going--wait, how do I start? And, how to I say such and such in the stage directions? And THEN you're ready for a book. Learn what you need to know when you need to know it. To get a rough idea of how many pages translate to how far into a movie you should be as far as plot, subplot, etc., I highly recommend Blake Snyder (RIP) 's beat sheet. It's a great starting point for beginners. http://www.blakesnyder.com/THE_BLAKE_SNYDER_BEAT_SHEET.doc

Realize you'll probably throw out your first attempt and just have fun with it.

You can download scripts for free at
www.dailyscript.com
www.script-o-rama.com

#8 - September 03, 2009, 08:21 AM
Author of iPad apps, MG books, and women's fiction

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Molly, this won't help with your screenplay project, but I just wanted to say that I think it was *you* who gave me the best newbie advice ever, some years ago (at PNWA in 2007):  try Verla Kay's website!   That started the ball rolling for me (the long, slow uphill roll from Trenches to Good News), so thank you -- you made a big difference in this newbie's life  :hearts -- and GOOD LUCK with the screenwriting! 
#9 - September 03, 2009, 08:36 AM
THE CABINET OF EARTHS -- HarperCollins, 2012
A BOX OF GARGOYLES -- HC, 2013
THE WRINKLED CROWN -- HC, 2015
www.annenesbet.com

As far as books go, those mentioned and, The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers.
http://www.amazon.com/Writers-Journey-Mythic-Structure-3rd/dp/193290736X/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1251992111&sr=8-5

Also, once you are first ready to submit something, take a month to think about it. During that month continue to read, network and learn. Then, pick up your script again and give it a critical eye. My biggest mistake, and I believe the most common, is submitting just because it's the best you've written so far, not the best you can do. Give yourself the right to grow and to learn a LOT... maybe over a few YEARS.

Most of all, enjoy the process. If you don't enjoy the process it isn't worth it.
#10 - September 03, 2009, 08:40 AM
Bazooka Joe says, I have the ability to become outstanding in literature.
http://samhranac.blogspot.com/

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Thanks for the encouragement, Sam. My screenplay is humming, but I totally get it is a workin progress.

For Anne, Yay, nice to hear that you are blooming as an author. That's great!  lGlad I was able to nudge you in the right direction. :) I hope that success just floods you. :) Molly


Hey, Texas girl! Thanks for the advice. I'm a texas girl too!  I'm from Houston. :)   :balloongrou :thankyou
#11 - September 14, 2009, 08:26 PM
Plumb Crazy (Swoon Romance, 2014)
Big Fuzzy Coat (MeeGenius!)
Rembrandt and the Boy Who Drew Dogs (Barron's)

www.mollyblaisdell.blogspot.com

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Awesome, Mollymom! I'm from Austin myself, but I lived in Houston from 1992-1995.
#12 - September 14, 2009, 08:36 PM
Author of iPad apps, MG books, and women's fiction

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We should talk, Molly. Will you be at our first regional meeting? My best advice would have NOTHING to do with formatting books, plot structures, classes, training, etc. Some of it would include:
1. Be prepared to let go of your story. Completely. And if you want to make money, you have to be the one to change the girl to a monkey and the boy to an alien. There's no money in the business (and they won't want to work with you) if you don't do the stupid rewrites based on what are often really thoughtless notes.
2. Go to LA. A lot. George W has made it from our locale, and Royce has had success, too (but notice he had to sell the book first, as did the other guy in our area who just hit it big). But they are by far the exception.

Okay, I've just deleted what I wrote next. I'm probably a little too jaded to offer good advice here. But really, we should talk. Forewarned is forearmed.

I agree 100% with what Joni said. Also about that part that I'm probably too jaded to offer good advice. :)

I currently work on a kids' tv show and the collaborative atmosphere is sometimes energizing, but mostly difficult, complicated, and frustrating. Letting go is a huge part of maintaining one's mental health. Personally, I've found that working on my novels and short stories helps keep me sane. Right now, I have 100% control over those projects. After a long day at the studio, being able to write a sentence that no one else can argue with makes me so so happy. (Of course, all that might change when I get an agent!)

Good luck with your screenplay! Passion is great at the writing stage, just be prepared to step back when you're working with other folks on it. :)
#13 - September 14, 2009, 09:59 PM
Above World, 2/2012, Candlewick
Mirage (Book 2), 3/2013
Horizon (Book 3), 4/2014

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