What It Takes To Be A Screenwriter

A screenwriter friend of mine used to say that in Hollywood:

No means no

Maybe means no

And yes means maybe

There’s no denying that it’s difficult to sell a screenplay or television series. All the stars have to align (even the human stars) and every element along the way must click into place like tumblers in a lock. But the process all starts with one vital piece of the puzzle.

The script.

And that takes talent, right?

Yes, certainly talent is a plus. But it’s important to understand that screenwriting requires more than simply talent. Screenwriting is a craft. And just like any other craft it requires learning a skill. Then engaging in repetition. 

A first draft is a first draft. A second draft will be better. A third draft, tighter and more focused. The fifth script you write will be better than your fourth but not quite as good as your sixth. In other words, practice makes perfect. Okay, maybe not perfect. I don’t think you ever truly finish a screenplay, you just let it go and move on to the next project. There will always be something you wish you had changed long after it’s been shot and released. As Leonard da Vinci opined: Art is never finished, only abandoned.

Embarking on a career in screenwriting requires the three Ds:




So if you have the desire to write, the discipline to actually do the work, and the dedication to see it all the way through to the end, then welcome to the club.