How to Make More Money as a Screenwriter
If you could write a terrific screenplay and sell it on spec for $1 million to a major Hollywood movie studio (like Antwone Fisher did while he was re-writing the Antwone Fisher movie script) would you keep writing or would you retire? Most scripts from rookie screen writers are rejected but every once in a while someone like Diablo Cody comes along and writes an Academy Award winning script like Juno. Antwone Fisher and Juno were two popular award winning movies written by a security guard and a stripper, respectively.
I’m not a security guard and I’m not a stripper…I’m just an engineer who loves to read and write screenplays.
I’ve learned that the easiest way to begin writing a screenplay is to create an outline or “beat sheet” for your story.
I like to use Syd Field’s Plot Points to establish my beat sheet. Here are the 10 plot points as they would appear in a three ACT screenplay;
Once you have your beat sheet laid out you can begin with the end in mind; that is once you figure out how your story ends you can work backward and write what happened just before this happened. For example, in my ending, Johnnie Oh kills the bad guy, gets the girl, and turns in his badge (but keeps the diamonds). What, I ask myself, happened just before this happened? I repeat this over and over again until I have a high level outline of my story and then I start fleshing things out with dialogue and story boards. I also practice the art of proper screenplay formatting. Here’s an example of a properly formatted screenplay;
Kuchie Wannakobe Meets Eva Wong
There are many screenwriting resources on the internet. Some free, some not, just do a Google search (or leave a question in the comment section below and I’ll give you my personal recommendations). That aside, I think the best thing you can do to make more money as a screenwriter is to order Screenplay by Syd Field.
Here’s the link; Screenplay by Syd Field
“Life often has a way of making people feel small and unimportant. But if you find a way to express yourself through writing, to put your ideas and stories on paper, you’ll feel more consequential. No one should pass through time without writing their thoughts and experiences down for others to learn from. Even if only one person, a family member, reads something you wrote long after you’re gone, you live on. So writing gives you power. Writing gives you immortality.” ~ Antwone Fisher
[on screenplay-writing for actresses] “The attitude toward women in this industry is nauseating. There are all sorts of porcine executives who are uncomfortable with a woman doing anything subversive. They want the movie about the beautiful girl who trips and falls, the adorable klutz.” ~ Diablo Cody
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