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Movie Production

Screenwriters

There is a constant need for good movie scripts (also known as "screenplays") to feed this demand, and somebody has to write them. As a screenwriter you can develop those daring stunts, decide how the lovers will meet, create alien worlds and come up with the lines that leave ‘em rolling in the aisles. You could even adapt a favorite book for the screen.
Your work can bring enjoyment to millions, and acclaim to you. If you make it to the top, you could hang out in Hollywood, hobnob with movie stars, attend film festivals, go to premiers and maybe even win awards. All that and you get to work at home, be your own boss and make your own hours! Writing screenplays is one of the highest paying jobs a writer can do. In the 1990s, Joe Esterhaus made headlines when he earned $3 million for writing Basic Instinct. Since then, screenwriters have gone on to earn fees that previous generations could only have dreamed of.

It doesn’t stop there. A successful screenwriter can write his or her own ticket in show business. Many go on to direct, produce, or even act in their screenplays.

The story of how Sylvester Stallone wrote the Rocky movies for him to star in is now legendary. Spike Lee, Woody Allen, Quentin Tarantino, Oliver Stone and Cameron Crowe are other examples of writers who maintain creative control over their own work.

Screenwriting can also be a great way to collaborate with others in a dynamic and creative atmosphere. For example, Karen Lutz and Kirsten Smith wrote the recent hit Legally Blonde together because both had a fondness for teen movies, while Ben Affleck and Matt Damon won an Oscar for their collaboration on the screenplay for Good Will Hunting.

Angela Hynes is a former script consultant for a movie studio who is now a full-time writer. Two movie scripts written by Angela and her partner are in development at major studios; including a screenplay they wrote which was recently bought by 20th Century Fox for $360,000.

Remember these things to help create of solid screenplay

Maintain a structure. Keep your reader in mind of your theme, the setting, acts, scenes, etc.

Learn how to create a powerful plot; a great plot can make smalltime actors great, while a weak plot can make even the greatest of actors appear weak.

Create back stories for your characters, it will provide more depth.

Write dialogue that sounds authentic.

Be patient so you can perfect your screenplay. Don't rush something out the door to meet a deadline, plan ahead so you don't put out a poor example of your work. (Tardiness also illustrates poor work ethic, so work hard!)

Keep your target audience and genre in mind throughout your work.

There are many college screenwriting programs, filmmaking courses, conferences and other resources available to you, if you think you need some classes, take them, if you don't think you need them, and then you probably do. Many people are gifted writers, but a screenplay isn't just about writing. You need to know how to prepare treatments, complete you’re blocking, and several other intricacies you may not know about. Just because you can drive a car, doesn't mean you can get behind the wheel of a professional race car, especially with so many others racing around you. Prepare yourself, don't be too proud or ashamed, you don't know everything, so learn as much as you can.

Always protect your work. Hollywood is full of snakes and hustlers so being careful. Not everyone is bad news, but it only takes one time to lose out. Learn your rights; seek out an attorney or agent (or both) to help you protect your valuable work.

Don't look like an amateur. I've seen some young "hot shots" who think they have a great script come in talking a big game, basically telling me that their s**t doesn't stink. I'll open the script and there's a typo on the first page, how embarrassing. Confidence is a good thing to have, but if you're screenwriting is good, people will find it. Learn how and where to submit your screenplay. Be able to network and schmooze with people without seeming arrogant. You have to be able to sell yourself.

Involve yourself with film competitions and film festivals.


screenwriters, movie magic screenwriters, screenwriter agents