Even though I am not yet a professional screenwriter, I am certainly working toward becoming one sometime very soon. In the meantime, I am writing every day and honestly, loving every second of it.
I am not exaggerating when I say that I am so in love with the process and this journey. I know that at this stage, I will do a LOT of writing that will likely lead to little or nothing, at least as I’ve done so far. But as much as I love to write, not only does it not bother me, but I enjoy it so much.
As I’m working on becoming a professional screenwriter, I sort of have to, don’t I?
If I could choose one thing I love most about screenwriting, it’s that I can become other characters. But that’s not all. I get to tell stories from their viewpoints. When I work on different projects, I have to speak from a perspective other than my own.
That sounds simple enough, right? Strangely, I don’t believe it is to a lot of people. Just think about how difficult it is for us to agree with each other all the time. That’s not really too bad. It’s mainly those who can’t even SEE your side of the discussion that I’m referring to. What you’re saying makes no sense to them whatsoever.
Of course we know that you don’t always have to agree with someone in order to understand their viewpoints. But some feel that to understand them is to agree with them, and noooooo…we can’t have that. Absolutely not.
With screenwriting, it’s not really my world anymore. It belongs to the characters I’m writing. As easy as it would be to inject my personal thoughts and feelings into every character in every script I write, I actually have so much fun doing sort of the exact opposite. Creating and writing characters who are NOT like me. Giving them their own identities to where they may love something I personally hate. Then at that point, I am researching to find out exactly why this character would love it so much. Then they may like something I like, but not in the same way. We may like a few things here and there. But the challenge is in creating a sort of unique character and telling a story from their eyes, not mine.
I am an Army journalist, so I would like to think that I’ve become pretty efficient at doing this in my scripts. As a journalist, I am never telling my story; I am always telling someone else’s. I am not making up my own story. You could say with screenwriting that yes, I’m “making up” my own story. That’s true. However, there comes that point where the story is turned over to the characters and now it’s all about them.
I’ve written a few spec scripts of shows currently on the air and those are just as fun to write, if not more, because the characters have already been developed. The challenge lies in ensuring that I continue to capture the characters in the way the original writers intended for them to be captured. It’s not my job to try and change them. If I’m paying close attention and am sort of embedded into the heads of these characters, then that usually isn’t a problem.
Many people can’t bring themselves to see a viewpoint other than their own. What I love most about screenwriting is that each time I sit down to begin or to finish a project, this is practically ALL I’m doing.
And I absolutely love it.