Monday, January 5, 2015

Break down your goals

So when we become screenwriters, I think it's safe to say that most of us think we'll write that one magic script, it will be our first of course, and then wham, we'll go on to being rich and famous, lunching with Brad and Angie of course, right? Yeah, doesn't work like that. Even when we read the trades that "Screenwriter sells first script!", I'm guaranteeing you that it was their first script they sold, not the first script they wrote. See, being a screenwriter whether in TV or film is not for the faint of heart. There is no overnight success. Even these young prodigies that might have some amazing writing career at lets say, 23, have probably been writing since they were five years old. I for one, did not hone my craft at five. And you most likely haven't either. So what's my point? That this journey might take a while and you have to be prepared for that. So instead of getting overwhelmed by it taking awhile, maybe you need to set many kinds of goals instead of: "become hugely successful screenwriter in 2015". Because if that's your only goal for this year, or any year, you might be disappointed and give up. So, instead, why not set up smaller goals, ones you can achieve.

For instance, if you're just starting out as a writer, perhaps your goals are like:
1. Take a screenwriting class.
2. Get an outline written
3. Write a first draft.

Maybe that's all you'll accomplish your first year.

If you've been writing a few years and have a few scripts written maybe it's goals like:
1. Enter the Nicholl's and other important contests
2. Find screenwriting producers I can query
3. Reach out to managers and get a script read

Because even those might not end up the successes you'd hope for. You might enter a contest, but not do well, query producers and managers and not hear back. So then you have to alter your goals again. Such as:

1. Take another screenwriting class to place higher in Nicholl's and other contests
2. Get yeses from producers to read scripts
3. Get managers to actually say yes they'll read a script

See the difference on setting goals? Instead of it being an all or nothing in your writing, make them smaller goals and adjust them every year. Every month if that helps. Because I've seen many talented writers drop out of this journey only because I think they thought it would be a quicker one than it was. But if you break down those goals, keep moving that finish line, eventually you're going to reach success. Doors are going to open. And before long, you'll have to tell Brad and Angie to stop bothering you to go to lunch, you're busy! :)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Looking back. Looking ahead.

Every year I do a "where has my career flourished" kind of list and what I can be thankful for. It reminds me that even if my career isn't where I want it to be, it's definitely on its way. So here we go! The reason I do this is because every year, I focus on the positives and I can see the strides I have taken. I ask that you do the same. Because although you might not have an Academy Award yet, or a huge sale, you might have successes that you don't even realize. And those successes you should use to propel you further ahead. Each success, no matter how large or how small, will get you to the successes you want someday. If we ignore these successes, then we give up. And that's just not something I want any writer to do. Ever! So here is my 2014:

1. Still working with really high profile producer. This year he could win a few Oscars himself.
2. Working with a new producer that also has a few actors and movies being nominated for some big awards. Met him from working with #1 producer. Just goes to show why each success can open doors to others.
3. Going to contact another producer that I was working with from #1 producer. He left that company and went to a new company that is also getting Oscar buzz. Again, one door open leads to another open door.
4. Still have a script in development. Not sure what's happening with it. But, it did get me an imdb!
5. Have several big management companies reading my scripts, that have been involved in Black List scripts. So that's kind of exciting to be working with those level managers.
6. Going to get my script to a huge A-list comedy actor because turns out a good friend of mine knows their producer. Who knew!
7. Recently contacted by production company that wants to read several of my scripts. They are looking to produce films in 2015. Hello!
8. Contacted by another director/writer who also has money to produce in 2015. Hello again!
9. One of my scripts is with a huge casting agent that's looking to get an A-list actress interested in my latest feature. Got that same script to so many big industry people, the most I ever have in my career thus far. That was exciting!
10. Finished three feature scripts this last year.
11. Finished the outline to my latest spec TV script.
12. Just finished before New Years Eve, the outline to my next feature script. What timing! So excited about that!

There's probably even more successes I'm not even thinking about because these ones are so big the smaller ones start to not seem as big. But if you were to even look in my previous years, you'd see that every year the successes lead to new successes in the coming years. So sure, I don't have a script in the theaters just yet. But things are happening. It's a momentum that I can feel. It's exciting. People that can get my scripts made are talking to me and wanting to work with me. I am loving it! I can feel 2015 will be a great year. So take a look at your successes. Write them down. Be thankful for them. You have had them whether you know it or not. Don't dismiss them! You're on your way I promise you. Just. Keep. At. It! Happy and successful 2015!