Why I'm Not Giving Up Screenwriting and Neither Should You | Script Revolution

Why I'm Not Giving Up Screenwriting and Neither Should You

Introduction: 

It's March and, while spring may have just sprung for many of us, you may already be feeling a little exhausted approaching mere twenty five percent into the year. Perhaps there's a little voice in your head encouraging you to give up now. That's not unusual and you may feel the need to give that thought serious consideration. If you do though, you must read through this blog by Fiona Faith Ross first and take in what she has to say because it might just give you the direction and motivation you need to continue on your journey - CJ

I'm always suspicious of the advice to "Never give up", and on a bad day, I fear the exhortation is delivered with a vicious irony, the smile of encouragement hiding a secret desire to inflict further pain on the rambling deluded fool who thinks he's A Writer. If it's painfully obvious to everyone except your Mum that your screenplays aren't up to scratch, isn't it kinder to be dealt some incisive coverage from a battle-scarred pro to put you out of your misery? Excruciating sex scene, anyone? Ouch, add the writer to your "Do Not Date" list, and, warming to the theme of severe mental distress, I'd remind you there's a reason why some dialogue is called, "on the nose". The same goes for all your fiction writing. "There's a book inside everyone," says the meme, and some anonymous wag added, "and maybe it should stay there." Isn't it better, seriously, to find a worthwhile occupation, or at the very least, a drudge job, to make your contribution to society, rather than to "Die trying" with your wince-inducing art? Everybody will thank you for a good hot cup of coffee, rather than a read request, which simply condemns the reader to wasting another hour of their life they'll never get back.

Die Trying

I started as a fiction writer, and I'm still doing it, since they haven't found a cure yet, and I thought, mistakenly, that making the shift from the self-published fiction "slush pile" (or slush mountain range as it has become) into screenplays would be easier. In fact, the world of screenwriting seems to be more packed than the fiction sector. I predict this situation will worsen, as robots take over the essential jobs, freeing up even more redundant workers hoping to make themselves relevant on our overpopulated planet through their brilliant writing. To counteract the dollar-signs-for-eyeballs impression I just gave, I'll explain my artistic motive for shifting to screenplay format was to sort out a structural problem of a fiction concept that wasn't working.

They Came In Their Millions Yet He Stood His Ground, A Lone Silhouette Against...

Whatever you do, don't look at the numbers. A quick scout through the Internet will tell you that upwards of fifty thousand works are registered at the U.S. Copyright Office every year, additionally with the WGA, not to mention those writers who scribble away in blissful ignorance of the competition and send their work out there to make its own way in the world. How about those legions of creative fiction graduates and PhDs from around the world? Don't even go there. Those guys are scary-serious, since they've spent the time and money acquiring the weapons, and they'll get their college endorsements and accolades to speed them up the cliffside. Now consider that these annual statistics are cumulative, and you can see without too much difficulty, the odds will inexorably worsen, with each year you try, and fail, to hit the target with your script.

Body Blow

I hope I'm making a whacking great dent in the bodywork of your aspiring writer's armour, which you've built by degrees over the years with your conviction, that, one day "you'll make it." You could do everyone a big favour, yourself included, by tossing the pen, or deleting the software, and getting "a real job", if you can find one. Leave the screenwriting to the pros – the ones who inspired you to start all this head-banging in the first place.

But before you do, be absolutely certain you have explored every idea, technique and execution.  Do you know where your strengths are? It may take a few goes to discover your best writing genre. I've learned that the process is largely experimental, and my writing shines better in some genres than others. I've also learned that it takes a long time to master Drama. It's not as simple as "creating conflict" and I've got a way to go. So switch it up, try something new, and never stop learning and seeking out resources, experts and peer groups. Hang out with writers and professionals who are driven and passionate. It'll infect you, too. You write because you write, and you need to keep this motivation in front of all the others, otherwise you'll get disheartened, not to mention black and blue from the blows from slamming doors. I've also learned that writing and selling fiction, in whatever form, is a complex process, and it doesn't stop when your manuscript is done. The feedback, shopping and pitching process takes as much work and time as the writing.

Write What Hasn't Been Written

Remember the movies, screenplays and writers that inspired you. I thought Birdman was a marvelous portrayal of our human need for relevance in a world where everyone is super-redundant. The whole concept of Shrek is brilliant from every aspect, and for me, especially, the dialogue. Shrek raised the game for the Animation genre in several ways. Many movies inspire and enchant me. I don't want to attempt to list them here, but they remind me, always, of why I want to have a go at writing one. Another motivator is the movie I want to see which nobody else has written. You'll come across that piece of advice often. Stick at it, put your piece through the stress tests of readers, coverage and contests, and when it's robust enough, start shopping it. It could take you years, but if making art excites you, even during the drudgery of execution, keep going. I'm not giving up, and neither should you. A future award-winning blockbuster or indie art film could be mine.

About The Author

Fiona Faith Ross's picture
Real name: 

UPDATED: April 2022

Fiona Faith's work explores themes of family relationships, friendships and misunderstandings in Supernatural Fantasy Comedy/Romance genres. She draws extensively on myth and ancient cultures. Mr Singh's Christmas Spirit won Finalist in Mikel Fair's Austin Comedy Film Festival, Spring 2022 and Roasted landed Semi-Finalist in Killer Shorts, 2022Calypso won ...Read more

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Comments

Deenur _'s picture

Dislikes: zombies. YAYYY!!!!!

John Cowdell's picture

This blog has really struck a personal chord with me. Many times over the last ten years or so I have given up on my dream, but I always find a way to claw myself back into writing. There's no doubt this industry is tough as nails and very difficult to break into, but I just know I will regret it if I don't keep trying to fulfil my ambitions. Problems with my mental health and the distractions of everyday life certainly haven't helped matters. Maybe I'm stubborn, maybe I'm a glutton for punishment, or maybe I just realise this is all I know and love. In recent years I've been lucky enough to receive a few breaks due to social media and screenwriting websites which I'm very thankful for. I think it's important for everyone to have hopes and dreams and never give up on them.