Over the last few years, I’ve worked very hard at screenwriting. Whether it has been movies or television scripts, I feel confident enough that, at least at this stage, I’m doing what I need to do to and am working to progress toward becoming a professional screenwriter.
I do read scripts quite often and when I watch television shows or movies, on one hand, I watch for entertainment. On the other, I watch to study. Even when I become a professional screenwriter, I will still be a “student” of this, because I will always be looking to learn more and more each day. I know that sounds very cliche and it will be difficult to convince anyone of that, but this is really the mindset I take on.
However, I’ve been fortunate enough to reach the point in this journey where some of my work may find its way to some very important people who could very heavily influence the start of a professional screenwriting career for me. That’s the good news.
The not-so-great news is the inevitable concern of me being an unknown writer. There really is no way around that. Especially when considering those who have been in the business for a lot of years. I would actually find it strange if this were not a concern.
Here is what I would like to say to those of you who would feel that way: I do NOT blame you.
Again, it is difficult to get around this. I can say all this and all that, but when my work makes it to you, even if you are impressed, it will be hard to not wonder if I am worth the risk and that simply comes from being inexperienced. In some ways, the quality of my work may not even matter. Unfair, yes…but I get why.
When you have done something for many years, you may be okay with working with someone who is new to some aspect of it. However, in many cases, you may not be. As an inexperienced writer, I will not be very attractive to a lot of you in the business, especially the ones I’m hoping to reach right now. I really do understand this. I think it’s important to not try to shy away from it or to pretend it is any other way.
Speaking of “not shying away from it,” I can’t sit here and pretend that I have more experience than I do. As much I wish this were not the case, this is where things are now. Everyone has to start somewhere. At some point, hopefully I will get my start.
This may seem like I lack confidence. Quite the contrary. I’m very confident in my work. I’m confident in my talent and my writing abilities. However, I’m also a very humble person and have a great respect for where I am in the process. I understand that there may not be a ton of patience out there when it comes to someone like me. It doesn’t have to necessarily be a knock on my work at all. I can’t look at it that way. It may be hard for other inexperienced writers to not take something like this personally, but as for me, I just can’t allow myself to do that. Again, this is something that’s very difficult to get around, no matter how good my work may be. Taking things personally just isn’t an option for me right now.
I honestly wouldn’t be an aspiring writer without admitting that I have wondered a time or two as to what I would say in the event that I am fortunate enough to have a meeting with a professional actor/actress, executive, etc. At some point in the conversation, surely the topic of my inexperience will come up. It wouldn’t be an awkward moment for me. I will completely expect it.
I am not going to tell you that you’ll love my work. I won’t tell you that you’ll be impressed. I won’t say it’s the best script you’ll ever read. I won’t tell you that you’ll like or even love me. In other words, I won’t tell you how you’ll feel. I’ve never believed in that. Yes, some would say that to do that displays confidence, but I’ve never agreed with doing things that way. I can’t control your feelings and I have no desire to even try to. Besides, if I am speaking to you and you have years and years in the business, whatever your specific occupation is, I would respect you too much to try and dictate how I think you’ll feel. You’ll be the judge of that. I have no way of knowing, nor do I have control over that.
What I will say is this. I can tell you about the areas I can control. I will tell you that you are speaking to someone who is hungry. You are talking to someone who has a borderline insane love of screenwriting. Writing is on my mind just about all day, every day. As I said above, I am and will always be a student of screenwriting as well. That does not mean that you will have to teach me how to crawl and walk. It simply means that I will always be looking to learn more and improve. I will never feel I am “the best.”
The reason I say that is because as an unknown writer, the last thing I’m sure you’ll want to hear is a lot of BS from someone who thinks he’s bigger than he is, especially when he has yet to prove himself. I can be confident without being full of myself. I know what I think of my writing, but I have no idea how you will feel.
As I stated above, when I watch a movie or television show, I watch to be entertained, of course, but since I began this, I also watch now to study things. I try to look at it from the viewpoints of all those involved. I try to see it from the view of the writer, the executives and even the actors/actresses. This can be difficult because I obviously don’t what’s going through the minds of many of them, but I do try my best.
My favorite show on the air right now is ABC’s Nashville. It is very common for me to watch a single episode 4-5 times. The first is, again, just to watch, but after that, I’m doing homework. I’m looking at how scenes are written. I’m studying dialogue. I’m observing the actors and how they interact with each other as their characters. Once again, to know I’m doing that may be impressive to you and then again, it may not be. I can’t control that part. All I can do is tell you that I’m doing it because I feel like I have to. In many ways, writing alone just isn’t enough. I have to look at screenwriting from more angles than just my own.
I do hope that one day, my hard work will allow me to be blessed with the opportunity to speak with a professional about my work. I will continue to work to make that happen. In the meantime, for any of you who sort of frowns a bit at the thought of talking to someone new and inexperienced, I will say again that I greatly respect why you would feel that way.
In many ways, I wouldn’t blame you at all. Believe it or not, I would very likely feel the very same way.
Thanks for reading.