YOUR CAREER AS A SCREENWRITER
How you plan your first 1-2 years’ screenwriting will set the tone for the rest of your writing career.
If you are new to writing, you should begin to develop your storytelling voice - write stories initially in any form to explore the essence of telling a story in words.
Whether new or just new to screenwriting, you also need to develop a solid command of the core craft skills, through practical work with experienced tutors:
Upcoming workshops here...
Reading scripts is essential; most writers read far too few. Read as many as you can, especially from the genres that you are writing in.
Study successful writers, their techniques, strategies and their mental game - especially at the early stages of their careers.
Industry and Networking
Learn the basic structures of the TV and film industry. Network with other writers and industry personnel.
By the end of your first 1-2 years, you should aim to have a portfolio that includes up to ten story ideas in synopsis form, one short script, one TV script and one feature length script.
To help you we provide:
Once you have learned the basics and written a number of scripts, you are ready to move on.
This is the time to be rigorous about seeing yourself in business terms. Any business needs to invest time and money to develop its full potential.
Aim to strengthen weaknesses and fill in gaps in craft skills. Revisiting workshops you have already taken will bring deeper insights into these areas. (We offer substantial discounts for anyone who wants to take a course for the second time.)
Develop advanced craft skills, in particular:
Become adept at pitching and confident in handling stories that combine more than one genre.
On the mental game side, develop a stronger level and use of emotions, managing self-doubt, confidence and personal goal setting, and also putting stronger emotions into your stories. Develop greater confidence and reliance on your own use of creativity under any circumstances.
Reading scripts continues to be essential. Make deeper studies of screenwriters you admire at the intermediate stages of their careers, as well as other creative artists.
Industry and Networking
Deepen your understanding of the TV and film industry. You should seriously consider subscribing to at least one of the trades - such as Screen or Broadcast.
Widen your networking to include the larger accessible festivals, in particular, Cannes, Edinburgh and the annual Screenwriters' Festival in Cheltenham.
Marshalling your time and targeting your resources becomes more urgent. You can use informal writers groups or our development workshops to give you deadlines to complete your work.
Aim for a portfolio that includes 2-3 feature length scripts, and at least six serious, marketable ideas, including a one fully worked TV series proposal.
Aim to get a low-no budget short made for festival screening.
Widen your output of writing to help develop your voice and confidence - short stories, novels, stage plays, journalism. Journalism can bring in much needed cash, but be careful: the hourly rates are poor so ensure you still have time for developing your spec scripts.
To help you, we provide:
Once you have completed this level you are ready to step up to the next step, EXPERIENCED WRITERS.
Less advanced writers might wonder that experienced writers need help with their careers, but nothing could be further from the case. There are many problems that face such writers and which can sabotage a successful career.
Some writers may achieve early success but not totally understand how. They may become anxious that learning craft skills will somehow stifle this first burst of inspiration, but most experienced writers understand that refining their skills can only add to their abilities not subtract from them.
Others may find themselves trapped writing material that they do not find satisfying, or may find themselves losing focus and energy.
Experienced writers understand the need constantly to fine-tune craft skills, finding new challenges and new areas to explore without losing their individual voice.
By this stage, an experienced writer will already have worked out some efficient work strategies, but may need to deal with individual problems. These could range from time management to psychological management.
In the past, we’ve brought in industry consultants and psychologists to deal with issues from procrastination to fear of failure and how to deal with success!
Develop strong confidence in your ability to absorb the ups and downs of a creative life and turn them to good effect. A black belt in the mental game of creativity.
Industry and Networking
At this level you will have a strong understanding of the industry and be working on projects in collaboration with industry professionals.
An advanced portfolio will contain a number of proposals and completed scripts - but now the emphasis is less on quantity than on high quality - including a number which have been optioned and/or commissioned.
There may well also be a constant output of writing in other media, developing new ideas and consolidating voice and style.