Sammy Montana has worked in several different capacities. He served as the VP of Production and Development for the Producer of the HALLOWEEN remakes. Then he ran his own Film/TV literary management company, Anarchy Management and had an active list of clientele, including writers and directors. Currently, he is a script consultant drawing on his years of experience in the film industry. Under the Anarchy Management and Anarchy Management & Consulting banner, he is developing in-house projects. To get free screenwriting advice subscribe to his YouTube channel and visit his site. Sammy also provides high quality script consultation services.
Screenwriters are guilty of two big mistakes which kill their writing motivation. Not only do these mistakes kill their motivation to write but they assist the logical side of the brain to create excuses that justify the lack of writing time. If screenwriters brought these unconscious habits to their conscious minds they can recognize them and stop them immediately. After all, you can not stop a habit you are not consciously aware of.
These motivation killing strategies are: addiction to external stimuli and addiction to complaining.
A great article that explores addiction and what it does to a person physically and emotionally is Feelings of Loneliness and Depression Linked to Binge-Watching Television.
It should come as no surprise to all voracious article readers that screenwriters are very creative when it comes to making excuses to avoid writing. They use and become addicted to external stimuli. Maybe the writer needs to check Facebook messages. Maybe she “needs” to respond to outstanding emails or phone calls. Maybe watch some TV or an indie film for “inspiration.” Maybe pornography addiction. Maybe general internet browsing addiction. Others make it a point to binge watch shows so that they can “catch up.” Maybe they are tired from lack of sleep. Maybe they are even depressed. Any of this sound familiar?
These excuses have not even scratched the surface of what writers come up with. Even though the use of external stimuli is comforting at first, the long term consequences, such as procrastination from writing, hinders your growth as a writer. Your growth as a writer comes only from writing badly, rewriting, getting feedback, writing a little better, getting more feedback and doing it as much as your time would allow during the week. Over a period of years, as you write and learn from your mistakes, and calibrate your writing to grow, you will grow. Then there is the fact that you must fit time in your busy schedule to watch and analyze both scripts and movies. I love Jeanne Veillete Bowerman’s perspective on this matter: Balls of Steel: How to Manage Time Flying.
Screenwriters are notorious for complaining about what’s wrong with their career. Lets call this addiction to complaining. I know it’s not exactly a genius of a title but it gets the point across. I read a book by Napoleon Hill once called Think and Grow Rich that had a huge impact on my thinking when I was younger. I learned that successful people take any negative energy they have and direct it into something positive. Notice that they do not try to eliminate their negative thoughts. If they tried to fight their negative thoughts they will very often lose. I strongly recommend reading this book. One of my favorite quotes in the book is “A quitter never wins, and a winner never quits.”
Let that sink in for a minute in order to grasp its deep meaning.
Look, nobody’s saying screenwriting is not a challenging career. It is. That will never change no matter how successful a screenwriter becomes. Read something like Script magazine and you will be surprised to discover how similar some of your “struggles” are compared to working screenwriters. It’s hard enough to crank out enough scripts quickly enough to make a decent living so do not make it harder by complaining and wallowing in your poor-me attitude. Most screenwriters, except the ones living in their own mental utopia, go periods without work. Eventually their time diminishes in the limelight to a certain degree, and they worry about being found out as a “fraud.”
The one thing to remember is addiction to complaining is a time waster that will cause procrastination and maybe even lead to an addiction to external stimuli. Now the question you should ask yourself is; do you really enjoy and want to write or do you prefer to procrastinate?
There are no benefits to developing addictions to external stimuli and addiction to complaints. Since all screenwriters will experience this to some degree in their lives, the key is to recognize it and be good to yourself and write, god damn it, write! The world needs to hear your voice sooner or later. Just do not forget to be entertaining in the process of doing so.
- More articles by Sammy Montana
- Balls of Steel: Pursuing a Screenwriting Career When You Feel Lost
- What’s Your Story: Creating a Successful Writing Practice