There’s a new professional networking site called Hiive for those who work in the creative industries. In Hiive’s own words, they ‘offer a platform to showcase your work, find work, collaborate and get access to great courses’. They’ve asked me to blog advice to aspiring scriptwriters and filmmakers. Ha, the fools! Ahem, I mean, yes, quite right. LISTEN TO MY WIZDOM! Breaking it down, top 5 stylee:
No-one asked you to be a writer. No-one cares if you want to be a writer. You’ll get words of encouragement from friends and family of course, but even then it’s no skin off their nose if you don’t actually sit down and write something. So, sit down and write something. It doesn’t have to be good it just has to be written. Then you can get busy rewriting, or simply learn from the experience and move on to the next script.
If you want to a be a screenwriter or writer/director, then do yourself a favour and make reading screenplays part of your weekly routine. By all means read scripts of films that have been successful but the real trick to screenwriting (and appreciating a well-written script) comes from reading scripts that you have no previous knowledge of whatsoever. That’s how you learn valuable techniques, not to mention a keen understanding of visual grammar.
Make something. Write a one-page sketch or a two-page monologue or a 3-page short film, and film it yourself. It doesn’t have to have a budget and it doesn’t matter if it’s rubbish (no-one has to see it), but there’s a huge difference between ‘making something’ and staring at one of your scripts thinking you’re a genius. If you do make something and it turns out OK, you can always post it online (like I did with my very first short film).
Get online. Start a blog, or Twitter, Facebook page or sign up to Hiive. There’s a big filmmaking community online and you’ll find a lot of them hanging out on various platforms – sharing links, info or just having a laugh. Get involved, be proactive and friendly, and who knows what opportunities will open up. Nigel Cole, director of Calendar Girls, has become a mentor to Who Killed Nelson Nutmeg? because I reached out to him on Twitter after I read he was interested in kids’ films.
Screenwriting is one of the most important aspects of the biz yet, ironically, screenwriters don’t get treated very well. The real respect is given to directing (in cinema anyway, TV is more a writers’ medium). If you can focus on writing/directing, then you’re going to have a lot more say and involvement in your work than just being the screenwriter. Plus, it’s a lot more fun, too!
OK, that should do it from me for now (don’t forget to check out Hiive if you’re looking for a cool new creative network).