Why Beginning Filmmakers Need To Write
So, you decided you want to be a filmmaker! You want to spend the rest of your life making movies that entertain the audience.
You dream of winning many awards, hoping it might even make its run on the academy awards. It’s every filmmaker's dream!
Everybody can be a filmmaker now with the rapid innovation in technology, we can shoot anything even a full-length movie with our own mobile phones!
But as time moves rapidly and online resources just keep coming in. The film industry is now flocked with filmmakers that are not that good.
You need to have either a connection or a special talent to even make it big in the film industry. You might not be as lucky with a connection like the rest of us and you might not have the required talent to pull it off.
Well… Glad for you, you still have one thing: Time.
You can spend it learning anything, cinematography, production design, anything but its most important when you spend your time writing.
Put That Camera Down For A Second
“I want to be a director, why should I write a script? I’ll buy one from a really good screenwriter!”, a friend of mine said to me the other day. It's safe to say, I actually cringe when I hear that!
So many beginner writers think that writing a story is just part of the normal filmmaking process.
Some of them think it's only the ideas that make a story great, but for us screenwriters, we know that isn’t the case.
If I could give you any advice to a beginner filmmaker, I’d suggest you start writing a screenplay.
But I want to make my movies more cinematic? That can wait!
So many starting filmmakers now want to learn about editing, cinematography more than they want to learn about the writing process.
They’re not wrong, but if they want to be a filmmaker but if they want to be great, writing is inevitable.
I’ve known many friends who really make use of good visuals, stylishly edited but have an absolutely stale movie. Yes, it's pleasing to the eyes, but if the story's nonexistent, it’s bad!
So why write exactly?
Unlike learning how to colour grade or how to make videos look more cinematic, writing cannot be learned overnight or even a period of a month or year… It’s a lifetime of learning.
The sooner you start writing, the better it’ll be.
If you only want to be a director and you just pick any script without even knowing what makes a story/writing great, you’re bound to make a really bad movie.
The worst thing that a young filmmaker can do is ignore the writing and focus more on the technical side of things.
I mean, it’s alright if you only want to be a cinematographer or an editor, but if you want to be a director that wants to be known for his renowned movies, don’t you think they have to have a renowned script?
Yes, you can buy a script but it’s never a guarantee!
You might find the next Aaron Sorkin or Billy Wilder but what are the chances? Are you going to wait or are you going to write?
If you choose to wait, you’re gonna die waiting for it.
If you choose to write, you’re in for a treat. You’re gonna fail (a lot)!
Your first script is bound to be bad, but invest just at least one-hour writing every day and you’ll improve dramatically, separating you from the other millions of filmmakers out there!
Benefits Of Writing
There are a lot of benefits in writing, here are just some of it:
- Creative freedom: Writing your own script gives you total creative freedom. Your dreams, visions and experience can be the difference between a mediocre script and an original one!
- Understanding Of Story: There are still some friends I know who want to be a filmmaker but don't understand what makes a story great. To answer that, it’ll be characters! Understanding how a script works can go a long way and you’ll automatically improve your story in a long way
- Increasing Film IQ: Once you’ve started writing (and reading) a ton of screenplays, you’ll have lots of knowledge that you can apply to your filmmaking! You’ll understand pacing better, you can make scenes feel natural now, you can shoot a scene with subtext rather than just shoot because it looks good. There are a lot of things you can add to your filmmaking tools by learning how to write
- Patience: For me, writing is second to exercise to be the most therapeutic activities. Writing teaches you patience and persistence because you’re going to write a lot of scripts, you’re even going to be rejected along the way. You’ll have to learn to take criticism and it may be hard but that patience is going to build up over time and you’ll start to enjoy the process more and learn. The story is never going to strike like a Eureka moment, it’s going to be a hard gruelling process.
- It makes you open-minded: All of the friends I know who write are one of the most open-minded people I’ve ever met! Writers are always looking to venture further. Most filmmakers nowadays just try to spot the common problems in life, writers try to venture further into something deep.
In conclusion, there are a lot of benefits you can get from writing a screenplay as it not only helps you in getting better at filmmaking in general but also improves your life!
Even just one hour of writing every day will immediately set you apart from all the other new filmmakers out there who are trying their best to look the best.
If you don’t have a good story, you won’t have a good movie!