Tag Archives: screenplays

Intermission – how to calculate movie budgets

Before we carry on with our discussion of action lines, here is something I learned about movie budgets.

One of the most popular questions asked of screenwriters is “What is the budget of this movie”? Yet there are no websites I can see which offer guidance on this. So, to fill a gap I thought I would share my research with you, gentle reader…

It can be frustrating for a screenwriter trying to estimate his or her potential screenplay’s budget. How much do SFX cost? How much does it cost to shoot in a particular city or range of locations? Will those exotic wild animals bump up the cost?

The only way I’ve found any answers is to look at previous movie budgets. Now, inflation can be a vexing devil, so I’ve only gone back a few years in most cases.

Here’s a list of recent movies from a range of budgets, along with what it cost to make them (All numbers are taken from http://www.boxofficemojo.com):

BIG BUDGET
Man of Steel = $225 million
Iron Man 3 = $200 million
World War Z = $190 million
Fast & Furious 6 = $160 million
Gravity = $100 million

MEDIUM BUDGET
Crazy Stupid Love= $50 million
Zero Dark Thirty = $40 million
The Social Network = $40 million
The Rite = $37 million
Saving Mr Banks = $35 million
Looper = $30 million
Anchorman = $26 million
The Conjuring = $20 million
The Apparition = $17 million
Nebraska = $12 million

LOW BUDGET
Paranormal Activity 2 = $3 million
The Purge = $3 million
Last Exorcism = $1.8 million
Insidious = $1.5 million
The Devil Inside = $1 million

MICROBUDGET

Paranormal Activity = $15,000

What does this mean? Well, let’s break it down.

BIG BUDGET

At the top end, we have big budget tentpole studio movies crammed with SFX and bankable stars. If you can make one of these for under $100 million, good luck. This is a very small market. Studios may only make a handful of these a year. Most of them are adaptations. Competition is fierce, and writing jobs are usually assignments that are  given to writers with a proven track record for generating serious cash. Here you will find your Joss Wheedons, David S Goyers and Zack Snyders.

MEDIUM BUDGET

In the middle range we have movies that are between £10-$100 million. This is a big range, and may movies are made for this amount of money. Factors that can push your script into this bracket include SFX, a few bankable stars, or lots of animals and stunt scenes. So if you’re filming Tom Hanks, Anthony Hopkins, or Steve Carrell, or your script calls for a family of tigers, or a scene where someone jumps onto a moving semi-trailer (that’s a lorry for those of you who are English), or a wise-cracking CGI alien, this is likely to be your budget range. Again, there is tough competition here. Writers like Aaron Sorkin have made this budget range their own. But it may be possible to break into this market if you have a seriously strong concept and story that attracts star caliber talent or high-level investment. Note that many of these are dramas or dramedies. That’s because it’s tough to get a drama made unless you have a star, or an ex-star that wants to come back. Both of whom can push your low-budget piece up into this category.

LOW BUDGET

Next, we have the low budget world. This is the easiest spot to aim at. Most of these movies have either no SFX, a limited cast, are contained (i.e. they have limited locations, ideally less than 4), or are found footage. This is the world of the TV or family movie, However, it is also notably dominated by the horror genre. Horror has been the proving ground for many directors who went on to be A-listers (Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson) and tends to feature actors who can carry a movie without having the ego or bank account of so-called “stars”. A good horror movie can break box-office records, and studios know this. For instance, Insidious (2011) cost only £1.3 million to make, yet grossed over $55 million. Compare that to infamous flop “John Carter” (2012), which cost $250 million yet has recouped only $75 so far.

MAICRO-BOUDGET!!!!

Finally, we have the weird and wonderful world of the microbudget movie. This can be the kind of thing that premieres on the horror channel (if anywhere), or the kind of megahit that makes an entire career. Again, horror tends to dominate. Paranormal Activity, The Blair Witch Project, and Halloween all became the most profitable independent films ever at one time. However other genres proliferate, such as 1980s sci-fi cult hits like Charles Band’s Trancers. However, it’s pretty safe to say these are flukes.

In reality, the low budget movie seems like a more sensible place to start. However, a word of warning: limiting your ideas to deliver a tiny budget movie may be a mistake. My own movie “Clone Hunter” was written as a big-budget space opera, yet managed to translate into a much lower budget movie. However, I’ve written microbudget movies by shoe-horning my ideas into confined locations without any SFX, and these failed to ignite any interest.

In my opinion, it doesn’t hurt to put your eggs in different baskets. You can always try for a big-budget payoff while honing that indie coming-of-age drama and rattling off that limited location found footage horor movie.

Like everything with writing, it seems there’s no single surefire quick access route to success. Sometimes it’s just a matter of writing what excites you and finding someone who is as passionate about your material as you are. If nobody else shares your vision, move on.

 

 

 

How to Write Hollywood-style action lines — part 1

Today, here are some tips on how to do the above – write action lines like the ones you see in Hollywood screenplays. Style can make or break a script, or turn a great story into a terrible script.

The main aim of all stylistic devices in a screenplay is… to get the reader to read yor script.

That’s it.

So how do you do that?

Create suspense.

Use short sentences.

Make it a vertical reading experience.

See?

 Here are some examples:

The “vertical” style was perhaps most famously used in “Alien”. Here is a sample taken from the revised script by Walther Hill and David Giler, based on the original script by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett:

“SOMETIME IN THE FUTURE:

INT. ENGINE ROOM

Empty, cavernous.

INT. ENGINE CUBICLE

Circular, jammed with instruments.
All of them idle.
Console chairs for two.
Empty.

INT. OILY CORRIDOR – “C” LEVEL

Long, dark.
Empty.
Turbos throbbing.
No other movement.

INT. CORRIDOR – “A” LEVEL

Long, empty.

INT. INFIRMARY – “A” LEVEL

Distressed ivory walls.
All instrumentation at rest.”

Pretty obvious why it’s called the “vertical” style, right? The aim is to make the reader’s eye naturally flow down the page thus causing him or her to TURN OVER and start reading the next page. Do that enough times and the reader will actually finish your screenplay.

But you don’t need to be so drastic. Back in 1978 that was fresh writing. Nowadays it’s more a throwback. Also, this tends to use up a lot of pages.

Here’s a slightly more modern example, from a draft of “Scream” written by Kevin Williamson:

“FADE IN

ON A RINGING TELEPHONE.

A hand reaches for it, bringing the receiver up to the face of
CASEY BECKER, a young girl, no more than sixteen.  A friendly face
with innocent eyes.

CASEY
Hello.

MAN’S VOICE
(from phone)
Hello.

Silence.

CASEY
Yes.

MAN
Who is this?

CASEY
Who are you trying to reach?

MAN
What number is this?

CASEY
What number are you trying to reach?

MAN
I don’t know.

CASEY
I think you have the wrong number.

MAN
Do I?

CASEY
It happens. Take it easy.

CLICK! She hangs up the phone.  The CAMERA PULLS BACK to reveal
Casey in a living room, alone.  She moves from the living room to
the kitchen.  It’s a nice house.  Affluent.

The phone RINGS again.

INT.  KITCHEN

Casey grabs the portable.

CASEY
Hello.

MAN
I’m sorry. I guess I dialed the wrong number.

CASEY
So why did you dial it again?

MAN
To apologize.

CASEY
You’re forgiven. Bye now.

MAN
Wait, wait, don’t hang up.

Casey stands in front of a sliding glass door.  It’s pitch black
outside.

CASEY
What?

MAN
I want to talk to you for a second.

CASEY
They’ve got 900 numbers for that. Seeya.

CLICK!  Casey hangs up.  A grin on her face.

EXT.  CASEY’S HOUSE – NIGHT – ESTABLISHING

A big country home with a huge sprawling lawn full of big oak
trees.  It sits alone with no neighbors in sight.

The phone RINGS again.”

This is a nice, flowing style that leads your eye down the page. Notice how the sentences are short. Clipped. And, in some cases, incomplete.

There is also far less detail than you think in these lines. The writers were adept at using minimal words to convey a setting. The reader’s mind fils in the blanks. In fact “Alien” uses only two words to describe a spaceship’s engine room.

So the next time you think about adding a ten-line paragraph to explain that this is a comfortable, well-furnished craftsman-style house that nestles on the edge of town surrounded by sycamore trees with a luxury car parked on the drive outside… think again.

Which brings me to my second tip .

Don’t overdo it.

Some sentences belong together. When you try to force them into a vertical pattern, you actually break the flow and make it more difficult to read down the page. For example, here’s a passage from the script of “The Bourne Identity” by Tony Gilroy, based on the novel by Robert Ludlum:    

INT. FISHING BOAT BUNK ROOM — DAWN — TIME CUTS

Transformed into a makeshift operating room.  A light swings
overhead.  THE MAN layed out across the table.  Sounds —
groans — words — snatches of them — all in different
languages.

GIANCARLO playing doctor in a greasy kitchen apron.  Cutting
away the clothes.  Turning THE MAN on his side.  Two bullet
wounds in the back.  Probing them, judging them.

Now — GIANCARLO with a flashlight in his teeth — TINK —
TINK — TINK — bullet fragments falling into a washed-out
olive jar.

Now — something catching GIANCARLO’S EYE — A SCAR ON THE
MAN’S HIP — another fragment — exacto knife cutting in —
tweezers extracting A SMALL PLASTIC TUBE, not a bullet at
all, and as it comes free —

THE MAN’S HAND SLAMS down onto GIANCARLO’S”…

This is still a pretty vertical read. However it would have been even more vertical to separate each sentence out onto separate lines, like so: 

“Transformed into a makeshift operating room.

A light swings overhead.

THE MAN layed out across the table.

Sounds — groans — words — snatches of them — all in different languages.

GIANCARLO playing doctor in a greasy kitchen apron.

Cutting away the clothes…”

And so on. But does this make it any better? No. Sometimes it’s worse to force the reader to look at a new line. The most important thing is to preserve the flow. I’ve read lots of amateaur screenplays where the writer thought they were doing the reader a favour by splitting lines up in this way. But  it actualy makes it harder to read them.

It’s a judgment call. And the best way to decide is to look at other scripts. There are plenty of them on the Internet these days. Break them down the way you would an Enlgiash Literature exercise.

And that’s exactly what we’ll be doing in Part 2.

See you then!

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug reviewed (or “Not more barrels”).

The Hobbit Part 2: or "how many characters can we fit in a barrel?"

The Hobbit Part 2: or “how many characters can we fit in a barrel?”

This week, here’s a review that shows the perils of big-budget filmmaking from a screenwriting perspective.

WARNING: SPOLIERS AHEAD

Now, I really loved “The Hobbit Part 1”. I mean, I really loved it. Others may have thought it lacked action scenes and spent too long with the unfunny dwarves. However, I loved exactly that. Music is a much-ignored part of filmmaking. But when done correctly, it can elevate a film to something fantastic. Consider Superman the Movie (the Christopher Reeve one, not the emo-Superman of recent years), Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Close Encounters. All had great soundtracks. Coincidentally, all by John Williams. But other composers like John Barry or even Daft Punk have come up with equally good soundtracks. Anyway, I digress. The point is, the Lonely Mountain Song by Neil Finn was my favourite soundtrack piece of 2013.

I also liked the time spent setting up the dwarves. Film is not a video game. These are supposed to be STORIES about CHARACTERS. Not just an endless succession of CGI chase and fight sequences (which become outdated fast. Check out the Matrix Reloaded if you don’t believe me).

So, in short, I loved Part 1. Loved Rhadghast with his rabbit-drawn sled. Loved the goblin king. Great.

Now to “The Hobbit Part 2″…

It began well enough. Through the “magic” of 3D (it wasn’t available in anything else in my cinema), I was transported to, respectively: Bree, Beorn’s cottage (although this lasted slightly less longer than I had hoped), and the caves of Thranduil. Very nice stuff. Even liked Tauriel and Kili (although I’m not sure how a romance between an elf and a dwarf would work in practice).

Then we came to the barrels. And this is, for me, where it all went wrong.

Now, I understand that this is a adventure film. There has to be SOME action, right? So I was along for the ride. Until the laws of physics started to be routinely ignored. Not only that, but it seemed the laws of PLOT LOGIC were ignored as well.

During the barrel riding scene, elves became superhuman. Dwarves also became superhuman. The numbers of barrels magically fluctuated (maybe Gandalf put a spell on them). Dwarves leaped twenty feet out of moving barrels in a fast-flowing river to steal weapons from the hands of Orcs and throw them back with deadly pinpoint accuracy. And having done all this, they arrive at Laketown and complain they haven’t got any weapons… having just slain about two hundred Orcs!

Still, my growing sense of apprehension was only a feeling of dread akin to the knowledge that the Necromancer had returned. So I went along to Laketown, hoping things would improve.

And, for a while, things did. The Necromancer, and his link to the evil eye in LOTR, was a very nice touch. Not in the book, but it made perfect sense within the context of the movies.

Then came Laketown.

Peter Jackson’s LOTR is reknowned for its attention to detail. It is said that there is so much set detail in Rivendell that it can never be captured on camera.

So what went wrong in Laketown? All of a sudden, it felt like I was on a set. Maybe it was the heavy overuse of interiors. But everything looked a little bit fake. The politics of Laketown were also hard to grasp. Stephen Fry’s Mayor seemed to fluctuate between wanting to kill the dwarves and wanting to help them. Nor was it clear what Bard the Bowman’s  status was in Laketown. Anyway, it was here that the Hobbit and I parted company.

Cue, Smaug. Everybody loves a dragon. I am no exception; I’m a sucker for the mythical beasties, ever since seeing Disney’s rather frightening kids’ film “Dragonslayer”.  So when Smaug appeared, I wanted to like him.

Yet, while Bilbo raced for the Arkenstone (which has no magical properties, it appears, so why it was so valuable compared to a mountain of treasure the size of Wales escaped me), we were treated to the least enjoyable action sequence I have yet seen in the whole film series.

Instead of a brisk romp with a dragon, this sequence turned into a half-hour epic. Dwarves managed to survive fifty-foot drops. They leaped across thirty foot-wide gaps. Never again will I doubt dwarven architecture, as a waking dragon can cause an earthquake in Laketown but fail to bring down the roof of a chasm even when all the support beams are shattered.  The dwarves (ingenious creatures worthy of a job at Microsoft) are able to rig up a one-hundred foot molten gold statue in less than a minute.

When said statute suddenly (and inexplicably) explodes in a torrent of molten gold, it had me rolling my eyes and sinking into my seat.

Another example of plot nonsense occurs when Smaug returns to find Bilbo quivering, ready to be eaten and accepting his fate.

“I’ll show you,” says Smaug. “I’ll burn Laketown down, that’ll make you suffer!”

How about eating him? Wouldn’t that make him suffer? But no, Smaug decides to save Bilbo for later (after all, there’s another three hours to go), and burn down Laketown. Which he would do anyway.

Hmm.

Don’t even get me started on how Thorin manages to use a heat-conductive metal shield to float safely on a river of molten gold.

So in conclusion, “The Desolation of Smaug” is definitely a film of two halves. The nice character moments and humour of the first half is undone in the second half by an over-reliance on the same physics-defying and unconvincing CGI we have sene in films like “Indiana Jones 4” (Remember the fridge? That’s worthy of a trope in itself, much like “Jumping the Shark”. Maybe we should have “Riding the fridge”?)

Perhaps it’s the result of so many disciplines being involved in what used to be a proces involving only actors, a director, and a handful of crew. Maybe it’s even due in some way to the input (or lack of input) of Guillermo Del Toro, who apparently departed the production due to delays in filming. It’s anyone’s guess how having such a visionary director leave halfway through affected the outcome. But whatever the cause, it felt like the filmmakers had thrown in their towels after the barrel riding scene.

I don’t know if “The Hobbit” will take its place alongside the “Lord of the Rings” as modern classics. But it seems that in a world where anything can be conjured up using that magical CGI paintbrush, filmmakers need to exercise more restraint. Otherwise they risk suffering the fate of a certain cartoon mouse who also experimented with magic and came undone.

Music is Your Friend…

Do you listen to music while you write?

Sounds like a banal question. But many writers are heavily influenced by music, while others say it helps them to concentrate and focus.

Alan Grant, comics writer of “Batman”, “Judge Dredd”, and many more, says he listens to music for an hour or so each morning before he starts to write. Evidently it gets his creative juices flowing.

Personally, I prefer something instrumental. I won’t bore you with a list of my favourites. Suffice to say, it includes plenty of heavy 1970s electronica and Baroque classical. Anything I can get my hands on that provides ambient background music. Hypnotic white noise helps me to zone in on the page.

Other writers have used music to do more than focus, however. Take Alan Moore. Almost every chapter of “Watchmen” has a musical lyric as its title – a conceit used to brilliant effect in the movie soundtrack. In fact, several of Moore’s stories seem to have been directly inspired by lyrics.

Music can capture your mood. Or it can provide you with tangible inspiration from its lyrics. Just don’t play that Eminem record at full volume on your iPod in the library, or I may have to hit you. Hard. With a book.

So find your muse, find your mood music, and write away…

Quickie movie review – Manhunter

Another dip into my DVD collection this week. While researching the thriller genre I struggled to find a list of the top thrillers of all time. Maybe I’ll do that in another post. Hmm. Meanwhile, here is my review of the much-overlooked prequel to “Silence of the Lambs”.

“Manhunter” was not a commercial success on release. But in fact it is better than its bigger and somewhat dumber sequel, although Anthony Hopkins certainly portrayed Hannibal Lektor with much aplomb. So without further ado I present to you…

MANHUNTER, 1986

Brian Cox is a different kind of monster in "Manhunter", 1986.

Brian Cox is a different kind of monster in “Manhunter”, 1986.

Will Graham is a former FBI Agent with a difference. He is able to put himself in the mind of a serial killer. His talent has almost cost him his sanity. But when the “Tooth Fairy” starts wiping out whole families, Graham is called out of retirement to help catch the murdering monster. His first task, however, is to re-establish his serial killer mindset. And to do that, he needs the help of  one Hannibal Lektor…

Manhunter is a gorgeous film. Michael Mann, fresh from the TV series Miami Vice, used every trick in the book to make the film reminiscent of 1940s Noirs. There are some beautiful shots, such as Graham’s house overlooking the ocean – shot entirely in blue. Mann, whose earlier film effort “The Keep” also had some excellent photography, provides us with more memorable images here: tigers, the Tooth Fairy’s stocking mask, and of course the death of one rather unpleasant reporter who becomes one of the killer’s victims.

The acting is also pretty nifty. William Peterson plays Will Graham with heart – although he is sometimes a little too downbeat for his own good. But he carries the “leading man” part off nicely. A shame his talents would never be utlilized to such a degree again. Character actor stalwart Brian Cox steps into the biter-mask of Hannibal Lektor this time. Cox is chilling, especially in a bravura scene where he manages to use a telephone from inside a high security cell. The slicked-back hair is something that would remain part of the character in “Silence of the Lambs”.  The late Dennis Farina plays Graham’s FBI buddy to good effect, while Tom Noonan (who appeared recently in “The House of the Devil”) is scary and believable as the damaged, murdering monser. In fact, Noonan’s portayal is much more sympathetic than Ralph Fiennes’ would be in the by-the-numbers remake, “Red Dragon” (2002).

Indeed, by comparing “Manhunter” with “Red Dragon”, we can see how superior “Manhunter” is. There is poetry to this movie. It takes place in a kind of hyper-realism. The strange lighting, the memorable music, all serve to make this a masterpiece of thriller cinema. “Manhunter” is also more generous with its emotions. We see with both unease and pity the heartbreaking attempts of the Tooth Fairy to connect with another human being. But it is an act doomed to failure. Although the filmmakers bring us within a hair’s breadth of sympathy for the killer, it seems that some sins cannot be expurgated.

The action builds from unease to a tense climax that has plenty of surprises. “Manhunter” is psychologically realistic, without the overblown theatrics of “Silence of the Lambs” or “Hannibal”. More than any other film based on the Thomas Harris books, “Manhunter” takes us deep into the world of the serial killer, and shows us that it is a twisted, frightening place. And it does it with style.

The top 10 scariest horror movies ever made…

A spot of indulgence today as I list my personal top 10 scariest horror movies of all time.

Horror is a misunderstood and much-maligned genre. At its worst, it’s nothing more than sickening exploitation. However at its best, it can be a place for experimentation, satire, and the exploration of the darker side of human nature.

This is not meant to be a definitive list. Add your own. But here are some movies that made me turn the light back on… and some that made not turn it off at all.

10. Nosferatu

F W Murnau’s unofficial film version of Dracula led to him being famously sued by Bram Stoker’s widow. But the frightening make-up of Max Shrek as the titular vampire Count Orlock remains one of the scariest images ever committed to film. The moving shadowplay on the wall would be used again time after time. Remade stylishly by Werner Herzon with Klaus Kinski as the vampire.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-DrKgjit4I

Max Shrek. His name means "fear" in German!

Max Shrek. His name means “fear” in German!

9. Threads

A made-for-TV drama about what would actually happen in the event of a nuclear strike on Britain. Produced in the early 80s when nuclear war was still a grim possibility,  this terrifying program shocked a generation. Once seen, never forgotten…

8. The Thing

John Carpenter’s homage to the 50s B-movie, this guts’n’gore horrorshow pushed the boundaries of what was possible with make-up effects. A box-office flop, it has since become one of the greatest horror films of all time. Compare the atmosphere of the freezing scientists in this pic to the lukewarm remake.

7. Poltergeist

Tobe Hooper and Steven Spielberg collabroated to produce the grandaddy of all haunted house movies. A combination of SFX rollercoaster and shocking horror movie, it made a generation of kids afraid of trees and TV sets.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ytjaMfoF2M

6. Halloween

John Carpenter’s first big hit and the first true slasher pic. Indestructible madman Michael Myers stalks teenagers in a small town. But it’s the film’s creepy insinuation that horror could be lurking anywhere, even in the dark spaces of your own home, that truly lingers.

Just a normal street. But look again.

Just a normal street. But look again.

5. Alien

Alien is on some levels a very stupid movie. Butch warrant officer Sigourney Weaver displays more common sense than the rest of the entire crew of the ill-fated spaceship Nostromo, but still ends up trying to save a cat in her underwear. Even so, jaw-dropping production design and the most memorable alien in movie history combine to produce nerve-jangling scares from start to finish.

4. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Time has dulled the edge of this “based on true events” movie. But from the film’s opening shots we know we’re not in Kansas anymore. The casual violence remains shocking, but it was the film’s “endurance horror” that would go on to influence filmmakers such as Sam Raimi with his “Evil Dead” movies. Forget the countless remakes and sequels.

3. Jaws

Yes, that shark terrified audiences in the 70s and beyond. It may look rubber now, but the film’s great ensemble cast and stirring theme music still manage to make bathtime a little scarier.

2. Dawn of the Dead

George A Romero followed up his genre-busting “Night of the Living Dead” with this satirical masterpiece. you get a real sense of claustrophobia watching this for the first time as zombies are everywhere. Copied over and over again from low-budget schlock to the more stylish “Walking Dead” TV series, Romero was the only one to do something actually new with the zombie as an archetype of horror. Remade quite well but with less ideas in 2004.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pt-EipwlWQ0

1. Salems Lot

This two-part TV movie must have sent network executives into a spin. A creepy Stephen King story about Dracula transplanted into the modern US becomes something quite different in the hands of horror maestro Tobe Hooper and veteran scriptwriter Paul Monash. The horror continues to rise as citizens of a small town are transformed into the most frightening bloodsuckers you have ever seen.  1970s TV heart-throb David Soul grows understandably more and more hysterical when faced with sneering James Mason and his army of undead. But it’s the surreal, frightening scenes where a vampire kid comes calling on his classmates that have stayed in my imagination. Watch the unedited version for the shocking twist ending.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIbJ2rQ59ZE

The Importance of Being Persistent

You wouldn't want to be this guy. Unless you were a writer.

You wouldn’t want to be this guy. Unless you were a writer.

As you go through this journey to reach your writing goals, there is one thing I cannot stress enough.

You must persist.

Of all the people I know who have become writers, they all share one thing in common. They did not give up. And out of all the people I know who did not become writers, they too had one thing in common. At some point, they did.

It’s easy to give in to the voice inside your head that tells you you’re not good enough, that you never will be good enough, that you’re wasting your life, that becoming a professional writer is just an impossible dream…

But are you wasting your life following a dream?

I would argue that those who go through life without dreams are truly the ones wasting theirs.

It may be that you have financial pressures urging you to get a steady job. It may be you have a family, or one on the way. It may be you are surrounded with unsupportive people who laugh and sneer whenever you mention your latest project.

Eddie Murphy has said on the Actors’ Studio that he only surrounds himself with positive people, because negative people wear you down.

You will encounter a lot of jealousy in your quest to be a writer. People will laugh at your dreams. Some will give you harsh, unconstructive feedback. Others will simply ignore you.

You must learn to overcome this. Because this is a form of rejection, and rejection is the writer’s shadow. It follows him wherever he or she goes, threatening to obscure him or her from view.

One way to beat rejection is to reframe the statistics. If you only get one script request out of a hundred submissions, well then surely that means that every submission will get you closer to reaching one hundred and getting that script request!

Being positive is sometimes the hardest part of writing. But if you can master it, you will eventually succeed. Even if it happens in a way you never expected…