Saturday, March 29, 2014


          It seems to me that everyone I meet thinks they can write a script and make a quick sale of it to Hollywood.  As soon as they hear that I am in “the biz,” they drone on about how terrible movies are now and how they could write better pictures.  “Well,” I reply, “why don’t you?”   Of course it’s not as easy as it seems.

Just ask anyone who has really sat down in front of that computer and seriously tried to write a good movie.  Yes, it’s lonely, scary, frustrating and often infuses one with a real sense of panic, but it’s more than that.

Writing is very really, really difficult. The reason it’s so difficult is that there are some hard and fast rules that you are not born knowing.  You have to learn them!

          As a former Literary Agent in Hollywood, and now a working
Screenplay consultant, I have and do read an enormous amount of
scripts.  I am constantly amazed that so many writers have the same
problems.  They are missing the most important rules of screenwriting basics.  There are no character arcs.  The three (3) act structure is missing, the star doesn’t resolve the conflict, or there is no real plot development.   These and other script rules are ignored.  Finally I realize, as I work on these pieces, that the writers have not taken any writing classes and are “winging it.” 

          If a first time writer spends their hard-earned money on a script consultant without having studied writing, they might as well set fire to their cash.  Consultants are not Teachers, per se.  We are here to help make your scripts better and more saleable and ready to be seen by agents.  You must first know how to write a script.  We can only help to improve that work.

          When we go the movies we see writers portrayed as people who sit down at their computers in great looking homes (often with desks that overlook lakes or the ocean) and simply begin to write for
hours at a time.  Well, this ain’t the way it works.  First you take the class, and then you read the books by Michael Hauge and/or Linda Seger, Pilar Alessandra, Syd Field, Paul Chitlik, and me, etc., then you come up with a great idea, then you write an outline, then you write a treatment, then you try to write a script, then you re-write it over and over and over again, then you put it in a closet and start your second screenplay and do the whole thing all over again.  You will find that the second script is far better than the first script and you can’t believe that you wrote that first script.  Finally, you might be ready for a script consultant.

          Now you are on your way to becoming a screenwriter.  There are no shortcuts.  It is a long and arduous road.  However, it is a very gratifying and potentially rewarding trip in many ways.  Remember that it is possible to get that great agent who believes in you and does a great job for you.  It is possible to sell screenplays to major motion picture studios that will pay you lots and lots of money for your efforts and cast wonderful actors to say your words.  It is also possible that millions of people will sit, transfixed for two (2) blissful hours, in theaters around the world, watching a movie that exists because of you.