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Screenwriting 101: The Nuts and Bolts

Updated on October 10, 2011

I get bombarded with many online screenwriting program ads all the time. They all vary in prices and some are better than others. But, if you cut away at all the fat and perks, becoming a successful screenwriter comes down to several things. Knowledge is always power and the screenwriting schools are banking that you have not researched the field because if you have done so, most of what you pay for, is actually free. At least the core elements.

The core elements are:

1. Love it. Treat it like a drug and you cannot wait to write. Always write for a period of time every day, even if you end up trashing it. It is a process. If you write even a single page a day, within three months, your 90 minute script is done.

2. Buy a book or several on the style and format of a screenplay. This is a must. Part of the job and craft. Agents and others will immediately toss it out if the format is out of whack.

3. Buy the most recent copy of the Hollywood Creative Directory-Producers. It lists everyone who is anyone in Hollywood, all studios, producers, production companies, indies, contact info etc. In other words, it IS the bible. Use it to query targeted companies.

4. Understand the lingo of the actors involved in the process. Know what a producer does versus an executive producer, understand how a movie is made from script to end product. Know what a pitch is, what a log line is and so on.

5. Find out what Hollywood is currently looking for in the way of scripts. The genre varies and it is possible that your script is what they are looking for. There are fee services that provide this info.

6. Get an agent. Many agents are looking for new writers. A list of agents is available from Hollywood Creative Directory. Many times it can be quite easy, depending how hungry they are. Even if you do not, no worries. You can circumvent this by a few tricks.

7. Network with other writers on facebook and twitter. Share info and tips. Many of those with power also are on FB and twitter, but don't act like a newbie and solicit your script. That is unprofessional. Work the contact as a friend.

8. Use Inktip to upload your finished script. Many looking for material go there for a read. Go to;

9. Make your finished script perfect in format. Pros can spot a newbie ten miles away with minor errors.

10. Understand that luck does play a large roll. Don't quit your real job, even if you option your script. Just because it is optioned does not mean it will actually be done. Understand many movies are made and shelved for years. Understand that the road to getting your script into a movie is filled with places that will halt its production, many totally unrelated to you. History is full of them!

11. Understand and know who the big talent agencies are in Hollywood and how they operate. Sending a script unsolicited is a total waste-it will get trashed, they get so many every day. But, if you target an agent specifically and have a cover letter from an agent, it will get through and the agent will give it to a reader to read.


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    • creativegenius profile image

      Brian Scott 

      6 years ago from United States

      I agree with your advice. Besides investing in a script formatting software, buy the newest edition of Hollywood Creative Directory because it will give you the most priceless information: contacts to agents and producers.

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      it is much easier!

    • Riviera Rose profile image

      Riviera Rose 

      7 years ago from South of France

      Having written novels I recently completed my first screenplay, and found it so liberating! It's such a different form of writing but I really enjoyed it. Am attending a Syd Field workshop in a couple of weeks and cannot wait!


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