Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Advice for new writers in despair

There's a guy on Done Deal asking for advice on what to do with his second script. He's frustrated because he's not getting anywhere with it, and he's spending way too much time obsessing over it. His script is not an easy sell, and he says he doesn't care because he's only writing what he's passionate about, not what will necessarily sell.

I wrote a post in response to his dilemma, and I thought it was worth repeating here. So here's my advice to any writer who despairs when their first, second, third script goes nowhere:

If you don't care about whether or not your stuff is marketable, that's actually great for you at this stage. It means you can just write what you want, toying with ideas until you get it right. It also means you should stop obsessing over trying to get your script made.

Know what my second script was? Nobody but me does, because it was a piece of crap and I want it to stay buried forever. Same with #3, #4, #5.....

Right around #8 or #9, I started to produce things I'm not embarrassed to show people. That number is different for everybody, but there is absolutely no shame in writing just to learn the ropes. Every script gets better. If you stop focusing on how to sell this one, you'll be able to spend all your time on the next one.

Once you've written a great script, try to put it out there. Give it some time. While you wait, write the next one. And if the third one goes nowhere, move on. Rinse, repeat, until one day someone will read #4,#5,#6.... #32, and they will say "WOW this is really good! Let's talk."

It would be so nice if we could all just write a script early on in our careers and he could sell it for a billion dollars, but for most of us, that just will not happen. It's obvious at this point that it will not happen for you. Not now.

But if you shrug this script off, move on to the next one, and keep improving, it will happen for you some day. And who knows? Maybe then you can come back to this one and put it back out there.

Once you've tried to get your script out there and it doesn't work, move on. Try again with the next one, but make sure you've learned something from this one first.

Otherwise, you're wasting your time.


  1. Anonymous6:39 AM

    Emily, nice to visit your blog. I'm taking this holiday Christmas to catch up on screenplay and film blogs and info sites. I think I'm going to ignore the others and stick to yours and John August and Script Shadow.

    Some of those script blogs out-there are really shitty and feels like a toilet where they think they can dump their thoughts on us. The internet is for us, for the world, not for those other shitty bloggers who refuse to debate and fear a challenge when they are proven wrong, useless and non-pro- writers a la mod. Who cares about them and the Euro-style old style.

    Emily, your blog is the most awesome blog. Thanks for posting.

    Florence, Script Rabbit!!
    Munch Munch.

  2. Thanks, but I do believe there's room on the Internet for lots of different voices.

  3. Anonymous12:46 PM


    What does this mean?

    Joshua James said...
    "The recent influx of leftists, revolutionaries and gays have made such predictions impossible"

    WTF is that?

    I mean, I hope the above excerpt was intended as a joke, and if it wasn't ... come on! Really?

    Oh, right ... there were no hippy radicals promoting progressively left ideology in hollywood in the 60s, no revolutionaries making anti-establishment biker movies, and there certainly weren't any gays in Hollywood back then ... no radicals in Hollywood in the 60s, only now, right?

    December 21, 2011 6:25 AM


  4. I don't know the article you're talking about, so I don't know how to answer that. Have you tried asking Joshua James?

  5. Anonymous2:02 PM

    Emily, What's up with John August blog, comments turned off? Bad move? Maybe?

  6. Anonymous2:12 PM

    You know sometimes we must not read crap blogs. Not yours Emily. Yours is one of few which is respected. Too many blogs on movies out there. Most from un-produced nutbars. If a Doctor without her MD certifate, giving advice on her blog. THAT WOULD BE SILLY AND USELESS!


  7. Lynn, who keeps posting under different names, although I appreciate your enthusiasm, please stop posting these kinds of comments. I'd rather read comments about your writing experience.

  8. Anonymous8:16 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. LynnFan10:42 AM

    aw man, hope that wasn't a Lynn comment that got removed. That bitch is hilarious!

  10. Anonymous11:51 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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