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In Hollywood, being a talented writer is simply not enough. You also need the right strategies and tactics to sell film/TV projects, get hired, and build a long-term writing career.

The Core Truth About Screenwriting

There are screenwriters who make an excellent living, enjoy working with other cool, creative people, and are thrilled every time their ideas appear on screen.

Unfortunately, most writers waste years of time, squander valuable opportunities, and – to be blunt – never see a single dollar from screenwriting.

But when you know the truth – and stop believing the myths – your chances of success go way up.

Let’s Get You On The Right Track

You might be expecting me to put a totally positive spin on things.

But that won’t help you, and that’s not my style.

My mission is to tell you the truth about the screenwriting business and make it possible for anyone with talent and determination to succeed.

So, with respect, I’m going to explain the essential truths of the screenwriting business, both the good and the bad, so that you can decide for yourself if writing film/TV is right for you – or if your time is better spent doing something else.

 

Is Screenwriting Easy?

Most of us have watched a movie or a TV show and thought, “I could write something that is so much better!”

However, it is harder than you may realize to actually write something that IS better AND get it in the hands of decision-makers who want to buy it.

Truth #1

Breaking into Hollywood screenwriting is a challenge.

But it can be done if you know how.

Is Screenwriting A Fun, Glamorous Career?

Yes… and no.

Screenwriting can absolutely be exciting, fun, and lucrative.

Hollywood can also be a disappointing, superficial, unfair business.

Truth #2

Making a career out of screenwriting is also a challenge.

But if you feel the call to write film/TV, nothing else will do, and once you’ve reached a certain level of success, it can be very satisfying.

Is Navigating “The Business” Easy?

Hollywood is like a jungle inside of a maze.

Complex, dangerous, and with a lot of dead ends.

Other industries have their perils as well. However, there is often a predictable way to make progress from the bottom of the ladder to the top.

In Hollywood, people can make big lateral moves, leap over multiple steps, or even start near the top of the ladder.

Truth #3

There is no “paint-by-numbers” method to guarantee screenwriting success.

And yet – there are strategic principles and tactics proven to work.

Is Being A Good Writer Enough?

Simply, no.

Screenwriting is a collaborative art, and writing is not your only job.

Yes, you need to be an expert with story DNA and story structure.

But you also need to be able to handle the social and political aspects of working on a team.

Truth #4

A key component of screenwriting success has nothing to do with your screenwriting ability.

However, even if you are an introvert, once you learn how to handle the social politics, your creativity and talent can flourish.

Can You Just “Wing It” And Break In?

Probably not.

To win at anything – whether it’s chess, football, or screenwriting, you need a plan of action that is proven to work.

Here’s what I mean:

  • Do you have an overall career strategy?
  • How about a strategy to meet VIPs and nurture those relationships?
  • What’s your tactical approach to handling a pitch meeting?

It’s okay if you don’t know the answers to these questions.

I’m just trying to point out that being a good writer without a strategy to succeed is like having a car with a tank full of gas… and no steering wheel.

Truth #5

You need the right information, strategies, and tactics take your screenwriting career where you want it to go.

Is Your Dream (Nearly) Impossible?

Absolutely not. You CAN do it.

So even if things have been hard for you, don’t give up.

There are more than 1400 primetime TV shows, 700 studio films, and thousands of independent films produced in the United States each year.

There’s the incredible work being done in the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Japan, China, Russia, India, and all around the world.

There’s the rapidly expanding marketplace of Netflix, Amazon, and the web. Netflix alone spent more $6 billion (yes with a “b”) on content in 2016.

Truth #6

This is a business that DESPERATELY needs content.

If you can get the right material into the hands of the right people, they will be grateful to have the chance to work with you.

Does Anyone Even Care About New Writers?

Hollywood professionals do – big time.

Truth #7

Everyone in Hollywood loves to find an outstanding new writer.

Executives, producers, directors, showrunners, agents, and managers are all looking for a hot new writer with exciting ideas.

If that sounds like you, and if you know how to navigate the “non-writing” aspects of the business, you absolutely can succeed in Hollywood.

Essential Preparation

There are three articles I recommend reading for anyone who wants to take control and make progress in their film/TV writing career.

7 steps to learn how to become a screenwriter

How To Become A Screenwriter In 7 Steps

This will give you an overview of the journey so you can start the process with open eyes and realistic expectations.

how-to-write-a-screenplay-you-can-sell-619

How To Write A Screenplay You Can Sell

This will explain how to improve your work so you can write a great story that is ALSO commercially viable.

The LIE Most Frequently Told

The Lie Most Commonly Told In Hollywood

This will explain the subtext of how “Yes,” “Maybe,” and “No” are communicated by Hollywood decision-makers.

How The Money Works In Hollywood

Money is a sensitive issue, and it’s also a really important one.

Here’s one of my most popular free resources:

The Film And TV Writer Compensation Report

If you want to understand how much money you are likely to make writing film/TV, this video training is for you.

Watch the Film & TV Comp Report

Screenwriting Breakthrough Quiz

To become a successful writer for film and television, you have to deal with three possible obstacles that can prevent you from reaching the next level in your career.

And every writer tends to have a primary obstacle which is the #1 thing holding them back.

To find out your #1 Screenwriting Obstacle, take the quiz:

Take the Breakthrough Quiz

Join The Community

The reason Good in a Room has thrived over the last 10 years (and counting) is YOU. I’ve built this website and stocked it full of carefully chosen resources to help you succeed.

I’d love to have you join me and my community of 50,000+ aspiring and professional film and TV writers.