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How Do I Break Into the Screenwriting Industry?

How do I get into writing for film? Is it easier than writing literature or is it harder? I don't want to be famous, just write things. Which is an easier field to get into or what is the significant difference that could affect my choice about which writing industry to go into?

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Hank’s Answer

There's actually only one thing you need to do to be a screenwriter: Write screenplays.


It's that simple.


As for the rest, appreciate that the entertainment industry is all about relationships. Yes, you need to have talent. But the talent part comes AFTER the relationship part.


If it was only ever about the work, there would only ever be great films and marvelous TV shows. And we know that's not the case. So there has to be another more significant factor.


And that factor is: Personal relationships.


So, to answer your question precisely: You can be a writer just by writing. You can be successful by cultivating personal relationships. Operate them together and you have a winning combination.

Hank recommends the following next steps:

Establish a social media presence to not just showcase your writing but also to share ideas about writing and the business in general. As you learn more, you will be able to share more. Cultivate "followers."
Read others' work and make constructive and engaging comments about it.
Sneak in little plugs about your own stories, but don't make that the focus of your online experience.
Find out who the "players" are in the biz -- and not just the folks at the top. Query them: "How did you get where you are?"
Query agents and managers with an "informational interview" sort of idea -- not a will-you-take-me-on-as-a-client focus. Ask what they look for in writers to represent. These days, they all want a screenplay they can sell NOW. So your stuff will need to be even more pristine than that of experienced writers.

Thank you for your reply! I'm switching my major because my school closed the Creative Writing Major and am instead going to be taking a Film major. While one is definitely more of a team effort sort of job, I'm excited to see where I could go from here. Trinity G.

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Erica’s Answer

I wrote my first screenplay when I was in college. I had no idea about what I was doing. I didn't know structure, format or anything. I just wrote. I knew that I had a creative mind but I told myself "I'm going to write what I feel and what I want to create and worry about the format later". Once I followed my heart, I had the opportunity of selling my first screenplay to a famous child actor who grew up to be a director. I will tell you to just write and create what you would like to see because even though it may not have been created yet, I'm sure someone is waiting to see it.

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