How to Improve as a Screenwriter
So you want to become part of the entertainment production industry. You think you have what it takes, you’re just not sure where to take it. Perhaps you’re still not as confident about your skills, although you do believe you have the knack for it.
Becoming a screenwriter for TV and film are two different things, but at their core, they’re both the same in that what matters most is the story you tell, and how you tell it. If you want to be as prolific as those modern-day screenwriting heroes like Geoff Johns, Shonda Rhimes, Joss Whedon, Wes Anderson, Quentin Tarantino, and more, then pay attention. You could benefit from these helpful tips.
This is the simplest, most straightforward piece of advice you can get if you want to improve your screenwriting skills. This has also got to be the hardest. In order for you to come up with a good screenplay, you need to write one, first of all.
Sometimes, it would turn out disappointing and lackluster. Sometimes, it wouldn’t turn out into anything, refusing to develop and grow organically no matter how much you try.
That’s okay, that’s part of the process. The important thing is that you keep doing it. Because it is only in practicing that you can truly develop your own style and voice as a screenwriter, which would eventually be a trademark or signature of your work.
Writers would know: to be an effective writer, you need to read and watch other materials as well. You need to expose yourself to other mediums and genres so you can further strengthen your own identity as a screenwriter.
Being cooped up in a bubble never served any good for any aspiring screenwriter. How can you write about the world when you’re not even open to exploring it as well?
It’s also a good way to learn about the various styles and methods in storytelling, how characters are developed, how plot twists are executed. In other words, other art mediums are reliable references that you can use to further improve your craft.
Most importantly, however, you should read and watch with a critical eye. Being able to spot problems is the first step to fixing them. You need to be able to do this, not only so you can avoid these pitfalls, but also so you can identify them in your own work, and thus be able to correct them immediately.
Understandably, it can be very intimidating to show someone your hard work. It could even feel something like opening up your chest and exposing your beating heart. Opening up your work for a critique can put you in such a vulnerable state, but trust that this process is necessary.
It all relates back to not putting yourself in a bubble. Remember, you’re writing a screenplay, not a journal. Of course, other people would have to read it at some point. Your work is intended for an audience, so find an audience who can provide feedback early on.
You may or may not necessarily agree with their points, and it still would be ultimately up to you whether you would change your work based on their critiques. Nonetheless, it’s good to be able to know how your story is shaping up in the eyes of another person.