Turning your dreams of a screenwriting career into your reality is tough. Really tough. Finding your voice, learning the craft, getting the industry to read your script – these are challenges that all new screenwriters struggle to overcome. But amidst all the learning and strategizing it’s important to make the time to find the inspiration that will keep us going.
At the recent London Screenwriters’ Festival there were over a hundred sessions over three days. There was something for everyone; whether you write film or TV, whether you’ve only just finished your first ever spec screenplay or have an agent and are on your fiftieth. But what struck me was just how excited everyone was about the sessions with their screenwriting heroes.
While the craft sessions offered the opportunity to take copious notes, it was the sessions with the screenwriting greats that got the writers in the audience really excited. Highlights at this year’s LSF included Ted Tally (The Silence of the Lambs), Joel Schumacher (The Lost Boys) and Lynda La Plante (Prime Suspect). It reminded me that we have all been inspired to become screenwriters not just because of a burning desire to tell our own stories but because we have been so deeply affected by the storytelling power of others.
Even if you can’t find the time or money to attend this kind of event (though I’d urge you try) there are little nuggets of inspiration you can view from the comfort of your desk. BAFTA Guru has a fantastic collection of interviews with screenwriters including Joss Whedon, Abi Morgan, Steven Moffat, Susannah Grant, Woody Allen, Heidi Thomas, Quentin Tarantino, Emma Thompson, Terry Gilliam, David Hare, James Schamus and many, many more. Or just put ‘screenwriter interview’ into YouTube and watch your screen fill with hundreds of interviews with screenwriting greats sharing their passion for storytelling.
It’s a long and challenging journey to become a professional screenwriter. There are no overnight successes, just years of hard graft and perseverance. It’s a road littered with rejections. But when it’s all feeling impossible and pointless, we need to be inspired again and what better way than to listen to the masters of the craft talk about what you and they love doing most in the world – writing stories.
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