For every successful screenwriter, there’s a unique story of how he or she made it over the wall. Each one is different, and no one’s journey can be duplicated by anyone else. Some had parents in the industry, some got big breaks, and some went to film school, while others didn’t get any of those advantages. It’s not important. What IS important is that you, as a hopeful screenwriter, build a toolbox of essentials that will allow you to seize any and every opportunity that comes your way.
As a screenwriter, you need:
- A well-written spec feature in your preferred genre that showcases your ability to write great characters. The plot can be complex or simple; it’s really about dynamic characters.
- A well-written spec episode of a currently running scripted t.v. show. It doesn’t matter if it’s Sons of Anarchy or Breaking Bad or Pretty Little Liars. It shows you can take existing characters within a world, and continue to breathe life into them. Not everyone one can do this. If you can, you’re a level above.
- A well-written short of 8 – 25 pages. This can be for a web series or a short film and any genre you want. It shows you can write in a way that’s powerful and concise, you can set up characters quickly, and you can come up with a simple story that has a beginning, middle, and end.
- A resume. Keep track of every screenwriting class you attend, every writing award you win (even if it’s for prose and not screenwriting), and every film festival or movie you interned for. Someday, you’ll have a list of produced credits. Until then, this will tell people who you are.
- A one page synopsis and a one paragraph synopsis of numbers 1 – 3, ready to send out immediately if requested.