Tip #1: Educate Yourself!
Pick up a book on screenwriting, attend a seminar, watch screenwriting gurus’ interviews on YouTube. However you learn best, make sure to understand what’s expected of screenwriters. So many people think this is easy – but that’s a mistake! Educate yourself and it’ll show in your writing.
A Short List of Recommended Screenwriting Books:
- John Truby’s The Anatomy of Story
- Robert McKee’s Story
- Syd Field’s Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting
- Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat!
Tip #2: Read Screenplays
Read as many screenplays as you can get your hands on, especially in the genre you are writing for. There are forums online, as well as books of screenplays you can buy. Try to avoid transcriptions though – they don’t show you how the screenplay actually looked when it get made.
- Drew’s Script-O-Rama
- The Script Lab
But there are many others – as well as script libraries if you live in LA!
Tip #3: Write As Much As You Can
Practice, practice, practice. The best way to get better is to write, and keep writing. Even if you can’t write everyday, try to scribble down at least one idea or think over your story. And always have a pen & paper or a computer nearby for when inspiration strikes!
Tip #4: Get Feedback
Give your script to people! Get feedback from friends, family, and professional coverage services. The more feedback, the better. Even if it’s hard at first to show your work and ask for an honest critique, it’ll pay off in the long run.
Tip #5: Keep Going
Don’t get down on yourself if you’re not an instant success. Even if your very first screenplay doesn’t sell – your next just might. In all likelihood, it will take you a few scripts to get really great at this. Screenwriting is tough! You learn from every experience as you go along. If writing is your life and your dream – don’t ever let it go. Fight the good fight – and keep writing! Don’t give up!