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Creating a Screenwriting Strategy

Yes, it's a thing. Yes, you should have one.

It might seem odd to suggest such a thing as a strategy in such an unstable industry, with no real career ladder to hop on... but creating a strategy will undoubtably help your career trajectory. Even in the smallest of ways, it will help you to stay on track with your writing.


A screenwriting strategy is simply a plan of action that whilst you need to be flexible with, will help you achieve your goals a lot quicker.


To successfully break into the screenwriting industry, first you have to accept that there is no guarantee that you will. As depressing at that is to hear.


Screenwriting is a wildly competitive market with very view limited openings. You will spend the majority of you 'career' working for free and having doors (politely) slammed in your face. Most people can't afford to invest the kind of time and money (aka not making money) or the mental welfare it can cause to be strung along by the industry. A lot of folks can't handle it and understandably so.


HOWEVER, that is not to say you shouldn't try. We wouldn't have set up Script Stable if we genuinely thought like that. Yes it's hard but it's not impossible. No matter how hard something might seem, if you have a passion or a pull towards it; you should always try. Please go for your dreams, even if they seem unachievable. You'll never know unless you try.


All we're really trying to say with this disclaimer is that it is just another reason that a plan of action is important to help you achieve your desired screenwriting career.


So if you're thinking 'Yes, I need a strategy...but where/how do I to start?' then fear not because we've done a Blue Peter and made one for you.


Here is Script Stable's Strategy for new screenwriters:


Learn the craft: Not to state the obvious or anything but gaining a strong understanding of storytelling, screenplay structure, and character development is fundamental. Study successful screenplays and books on screenwriting to enhance your skills. We have a library of helpful articles on screenwriting if you're starting on zero budget.


Write consistently: Dedicate time to writing regularly. Set goals and deadlines. Create a writing schedule, and stick to it. Practice writing in different genres and formats to broaden your range. If dedicating time is something you struggle with, you can download our FREE 30 Day Motivation Tracker to help keep you accountable.


Develop a portfolio: This is SO important. Not only for your own development but for industry professionals to take you seriously. No-one will trust a writer with just one script on their slate. Build a diverse portfolio showcasing your best work. Include scripts for feature films, TV pilots, and short films to demonstrate versatility. But aim for quality over quantity. Better to have a small portfolio of really strong scripts than loads of half-baked ones.


Network: It seems that nobody likes this word but you must get out there and meet people. Attend industry events, film festivals, and screenwriting workshops to meet professionals and fellow writers. Join online communities, engage in social media discussions, and establish connections. Networking is crucial for getting noticed and accessing opportunities. If nothing else, you'll make some friends along the way to make your life as a screenwriter a little less lonely.


Enter contests and fellowships: Submit your scripts to reputable screenwriting contests and fellowships. Winning or placing highly will provide exposure, validation, and access to industry insiders. Take advantage of feedback received to improve your writing. Entering will consist of submission fees, so be selective with who you submit to if you're on a budget. But we really do rate entering competitions and schemes; they're career starters.


Obtain feedback: Seek constructive criticism from peers, writing groups, or professional script consultants. Embrace feedback and use it to refine your work. Feedback helps identify strengths and weaknesses, ensuring your scripts are marketable. Also this will help to thicken your skin which is something that every writer needs to do. You can't be a successful writer if you stay in your ivory tower too afraid to hand your work to anyone. Get Script Coverage before you send it agents and the like.



Pursue representation: Research and approach literary agents or managers who specialise in representing screenwriters. Craft a compelling query letter and submit your polished portfolio. Representation increases your chances of gaining access to industry opportunities. If you're not sure where to start in approaching agents, hop over to our Resources Page as we have a free download for you called 'What Nobody Tells You About Getting An Agent' With a step to step guide.


Be adaptable and collaborative: Be open to revisions and feedback from producers, directors, and potential collaborators. Adaptability and a collaborative mindset demonstrate professionalism and increase your chances of getting your work produced. Work on other people's projects too. You know, those friends you made whilst networking. Collaborate and make your own projects happen. It's vital to do this, especially when you're starting out. You will learn so much.


Attend industry events: Participate in industry events like film markets, pitch fests, and industry conferences. Prepare concise and compelling pitches for your projects and be ready to discuss them with industry professionals. It doesn't have to be Cannes btw. You can go to screenwriting events and gently 'pitch' to people you're chatting to. But if you've followed the steps above, you should be taking meetings set up by your agent and starting to meet producers who want to hear your ideas.


Keep learning and evolving: Stay updated on industry trends, new platforms, and emerging markets. Attend workshops, seminars, and industry panels to enhance your knowledge. Continuously improve your craft and adapt to industry changes. One way to keep improving is to keep writing. Don't wait for that elusive knock at the door to propel you to fame. While you're pitching one project, start writing your next. Keep active. Keep evolving.


Be patient: Remember, breaking into the screenwriting industry takes time and perseverance. Keep the faith. Stay passionate, believe in your talent, and keep pushing forward even in the face of rejection. Don't put all of your eggs into one basket though. You'll need a bill paying job to keep you going. You'll need a good bunch of people around you to keep morale up. You'll need to be dedicated and committed. Try to enjoy the journey. It really isn't all about the destination... but you'll only realise that once you get there.


What would Dory do?


 

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