Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Help, advice, guidance
I subscribe to several writer's websites and can't help but notice the amount of help, advice and guidance out there that suggest there's secrets to writing that only they know and that only they can pass along.
Well, some advice is good, but ultimately, as I always say, come Monday and you're looking at your laptop or typewriter (yes, there are still writers who prefer typewriters), the only advice that matters is this;
You can take all the courses out there and have a script whisperer (there actually is someone who calls herself that) and go so McKee or dozens of other gurus but they won't be there behind your back to tell you what to write nor how to.
Unfortunately, the only way to write a screenplay is to write. And write more.
Okay, these are the themes in my upcoming book on Screenwriting but I'm giving you the "secret" for no cost. It took me a long time to consider writing a book on screenwriting, I told my friends who were urging me to write one, that there are at least 100 books on screenwriting.
I have experience in teaching, 2 years or so at UCLA extension classes. And I got good teacher evaluations with negatives around 1% and they were usually arrogant guys. And I have one more thing that helps, as my director friend Paul Lynch reminded me.
I have written 19 movies in 20 years, and 30 hours of episodic series. So one could suggest I know what I'm doing.
And as some of my former students said; a large majority of screenwriting books out there are written by people with no movie or TV credits.
And again, another friend said; "Who would you want to teach you to fly, someone who read a few books, or a pilot?"
I know, I'm being harsh on these other writers, and you could think I'm pushing my book. I do have a few of those books, Syd Fields and Art of Dramatic Writing and a few others. The best was Art of Dramatic Writing, and it's about plays. And it was written in 1946.
But the thing I don't like about all those others are the promises they make, you know, things like this; "learn to write a kick-ass first act", 5 secrets to a million dollar screenplay, and stuff like that.
So, if you're writing or learning to write, buy all the books you want to, but ultimately you will have to write. And the only way to do that is --
-- to write.
(Mon: The French deal)