The Highs and Lows of Being an Aspiring Screenwriter

me with scripts on headMany moons ago (many moons = 14 years) I picked up a screenwriting book on a whim. As soon as I began to read it I got tingles in my belly and experienced a quickening of the heart. You know those kinds of books that speak to your soul? Well, this* was one of them. It turns out that screenwriting is the perfect art form for a visual artist with a penchant for creative writing and a deep love of those wild, wacky people in the world that we like to call "characters." By the time I finished reading, I was hooked. It felt more like screenwriting found me, rather than I found it.

The road to becoming a screenwriter these past 14 years has been up and down, to put it mildly. The very short, very abbreviated story: I wrote. Then I placed in some competitions. Then I had some rejection. I wrote. Then I worked in Hollywood as a script reader and screenwriters' assistant. Then I had some rejection. I wrote. Then I taught screenwriting at RISD in the Continuing Education program. I wrote. I had a script optioned. Then I won a screenwriting fellowship. Then the option fell apart. I wrote. Then I won another screenwriting fellowship. Then I had some rejection.... You're seeing the pattern here, right?

Anyone who's trying to break into the arts experiences these kinds of ups and downs. As an aspiring screenwriter I've found the lows go even lower than the usual lows and the highs go even higher. It got me to thinking about how much support we need when going through this process.

That's why I created Screenwriter Shape-Up, an online writing support program for aspiring and working screenwriters. Using daily inspirational emails with tips and prompts and a private Facebook forum, I assist the participating screenwriters in creating and attaining concrete goals in brainstorming, outlining, starting, finishing or rewriting their scripts. It's an awesome three weeks with really spectacular people. The last Shape-Up group had folks of all ages, genders and races from California to Afghanistan, working in a variety of genres.

At the end of the program 100% of participants said they greatly increased their productivity. One-third of them said they'd increased productivity by 100% too. Wow. The point is - I'm doing it again, and if by chance you're a screenwriter toiling away on your own, in need of accountability, inspiration and a kick in the pants, I hope you'll join us.

Find out more here. AND for a special limited offer - and to hear about the blind query letter I wrote that got 10 top producers to read my script - go here.

(*That book was "The Whole Picture" by Richard Walter.)

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