One of the most critical elements of success in any field, and especially, in Hollywood as a screenwriter, is to take consistent, directed action in moving your screenwriting career forward. Whether you are focused on marketing to literary agents, writing the best screenplay you possibly can, selling your script, getting a script review, or simply studying and then rewriting, the most important thing is to keep taking action.
As a screenwriter, you’ve probably already noticed that it is a challenge to write a 100+ page script that people love and really get. No matter how many people you have review your script, you will continue to get advice on what you need to do to make it better. And if you’ve tried to market it, then a whole other set of challenges arise.
The constant effort that is required to move forward can seem very disheartening if you let that feeling of “It’s never going to be ready,” get to you.
However true it is that you may need to keep working on things, there is one bit of relief that you can start to relate to. And that is to look at it like this: Every step you take…. every improvement that you make on your script…. is yet another building block toward your goal. Like Pink Floyd said in their song, “Just another brick in the wall.” I like to think of it as another brick in building your career.
You may just be getting started or you may have been pursuing a screenwriting career for a while, and either way it can get frustrating when things don’t happen as fast as you would like with your script.
Many times I’ve worked with screenwriters who seem to be doing “all the right things,” and usually they think that they must be missing some BIG thing and that’s why things are not happening the way they want them to. Or they may feel that everything would be great if they could just get this one particular person to read their Great American Screenplay.
But that is not the case. The fact is, you might be doing everything you need to do. You might be doing all the right things. And you just need to keep talking to more people. Pitching your script to more people and creating more opportunities to sell your screenplay.
At some point, when you are doing all the right things, then it is a matter of continuing to do those things and constantly refining those steps with small improvements.
Over time, THE BIG step comes from consistently taking the small steps.
Think of the idea of creating a “tipping point,” critical mass, the domino effect, paradigm shift, quantum leap, and the straw that broke the camel’s back. The idea being that lots of smaller things add up, one by one, and then at some point, there is a huge shft and something big happens.
But the only way this Tipping Point will happen is if you keep taking these actions. To create a Tipping Point, keep taking the smaller actions in your career, improving on them, and dreaming up new small actions and simple improvements.
Or you might make calls to find their addresses, emails, or something. At the end of the year, you have 4 or 6 or 12 more Hollywood producers, directors, agents or managers who now know your work.
Put a few of these small things in place and you will find at some point, along with your conscious effort to improve, that a huge shift will happen in your career.
A final and very important concept to keep in mind is that you will not be able to tell which action will push your career to the tipping point — at any point it could be the very next action you take — so you will need to trust the process and keep taking actions until it happens. And of course, you won’t want to stop then!
Congratulations on all the actions you’ve take in your screenwriting up until now.
TIP: Add to your list of practices that every time you receive another Hollywood Screenwriter Hot Tip, that you think about and create an EXTRA step that you could take TODAY to move your career forward.
The Hot Tip will give you some ideas. You can also always look to see what action YOU KNOW you should take on your screenplay but just haven’t done it yet.
Here’s an Action Idea to get started: Are you ready to get literary representation? Are you ready to get your script to producers? If so, you might want to do a query letter mailing where the best producers, agents, or managers who could be right for you and your script are identified for you.
Smart Girls Productions offers an agent and manager query letter system to help you target your scripts to representatives in Hollywood or across the United States. (Although we recommend going directly to the producers at the same time.)
For more information on marketing your script, check out the query letter mailings or call Smart Girls Productions at (818) 907-6511.