For my 201MC I chose screen writing as my profession. As a starting point I went to a familiar source in the book “How to Write Great Screenplays and get them into production” (James, 2009). This book has been invaluable for learning a basic idea of the ins and outs of the script writing world. Assuming that you’ve written your script there are a number of ways in which you could potentially get your script into production.
One method is pitch your finished draft directly to a producer although this will be a very time consuming method due to the fact that there will be thousands of other people attempting the very same thing and don’t be surprised if it gets rejected, although its not the end of the world if it does “One way to overcome rejection is through constant writing. By the time you recieve an answer from a production company you should be deep into your next script” (Shootingpeople.org, 1998). There are also oppurtunities like the BAFTAs Rocliffe wherein you submit a script and have be performed by professionals “The benefits to a writer, new or seasoned, are multiple: hearing their work read by professional actors; a development focused discussion generated by the readings; exposure to and advice from experienced industry members; feedback from an audience and an invaluable method to test out new concepts and material” (Bafta.org, 2014). So one of the most fundamental elements a script writer needs is persistance. If one method doesn’t work there a multitude of options available to you. You need to keep writing otherwise you won’t get anywhere.
A good option for script writers is to become involved with a script writing forum where you can share your work and get feedback from like minded individuals as well as form a network of contacts within the business that you can call upon in future for projects and collaborations. During my research my tutor directed me to a number of sites that host forums for this exact thing. For instance the websites like Screenwriting Spark (Screenwritingspark.com, 2015) and BBC film network (bbc.co.uk, 2014) list several forums including Shootingpeople (Shootingpeople.org, 1998), Reddit (reddit, 2009) and Linkedin (Linkedin.com, 2015). Spreading your work and thoughts across multiple sites will increase your chances of getting noticed by fellow screen writers. For example on Screenwriting Spark ” I posted an article called The Ultimate List of Screenwriting Rules. It featured nearly 500 rules, guidelines, tips, principles and more which I narrowed down to The 15 Platinum Rules of Screenwriting. When I promoted it on Twitter, someone mentioned rules that should be broken. So I started a discussion on Reddit Screenwriting and got a ton of great responses. You can read the thread here. Imagine if I posted it on a few more.” (Mckinnon, 2015) This shows more exposure can ultimately help you professionally and socially.
The key thing that I’ve taken from this is that I’m not alone and that there are people I can reach out to who the share the same aspirations that I do and that we work off each other to improve our work. Filmmaking has not, is not and never will be a solo endeavor regardless of the field within it. Sites like Shootingpeople.org and Writers Guild of Great Britain (Writers’ Guild of Great Britain, n.d.) can also help contact professionals within the industry such as directors, actors and producers. “Shooting People was founded in 1998 in the belief that connecting film creatives, actors, crew, technologists and industry, would help ensure independent films get made and seen. That principal remains true today” (Shootingpeople.org, 1998). This presents me with a wealth of options for the connections I can make. I will be able to work with professionals in the field and get my scripts made into film form. From that point you submit your film to film festivals where you can gain exposure to professionals who may become interested in your work. A point of note is that most screenwriters don’t appear advertise themselves the way. For example directors like Quentin Tarantino, Tim Burton and David Lynch who are all screenwriters in their own right have websites dedicated to the their work. The difference each of these individuals are also directors, producers and various other roles in filmmaking. In my research I’ve yet to find a screenwriter who advertises themselves solely as a screenwriter. For instance John Ridley, who wrote the screenplay for 12 years a slave (12 Years a Slave, 2013), doesn’t have a website dedicated to him and he has been writing for sitcoms for years. This has lead me to the conclusion that the screenwriters world is largely restricted to media outlets such as the ones mentioned above. This could be a result of the auteurism present in the film industry.
For this Module I spoke with the tutor Cliffton Stewart about arranging a script writing club for students. The plan was spread it across 4 weeks with one meeting a week. In these weeks we were discuss screen writing techniques as well introduce them to sites like Shootingpeople.org in order gain an idea of the screenwriting world. The ultimate goal was for us all to work together to produce a short film and share it across these forum sites in order to get feedback and potentially submit our film to a festival or other media event. Unfortunately due to illness and poor time management on my part I was unable to see this activity through to its intended conclusion. At least I was able to set up a meeting before the easter holiday however this was example of my poor timing because no one attended this most likely due to the looming holiday. After the Easter holiday I arranged a meeting for the 28th of April.
The date came and only one person showed up and it was a drama student seeking advice on her script. I believe that if this club was arranged earlier in the semester then I may have had greater success. Still there is still the 3rd year ahead which presents another oppurtunity to finish what I started. Although I must do more to manage my time appropriatly because in future I will have even less free time available.
12 Years a Slave. (2013). [film] USA: Steve McQueen.
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