Happy National Screenwriters Day!

Today, we honor the people who started it all! It’s safe to say a movie begins with an idea, and out of that comes the screenplay. So, we celebrate our favorite movies because of the men and women who wrote them.

Here’s a list of my favorite screenwriters who have inspired me and continue to inspire me on my journey to becoming a successful screenwriter, myself:

  1. Woody Allen (Annie Hall, Match Point)
  2. Alan Ball (American Beauty)
  3. James Cameron (Aliens, Titanic)
  4. Paddy Chayefsky (Network)
  5. Damien Chazelle (La La Land, Whiplash)
  6. Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous)
  7. Eric Heisserer (Arrival, Lights Out)
  8. Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – Story by Kaufman, Michel Gondry, and Pierre Bismuth)
  9. Christopher Nolan (Memento, The Dark Knight – also written by Jonathan Nolan)
  10. M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense)

There’s many more to mention! Quentin Tarantino is amazing with dialogue in all of his films. Orson Welles’ “Citizen Kane” is a masterpiece of its time. Dustin Lance Black wrote a powerful screenplay with “Milk”. And, I hope Tina Fey, Amy Schumer, and Kristen Wiig continue their screenwriting careers after the successes of “Mean Girls”, “Trainwreck”, and “Bridesmaids”, respectively.

Who are your favorite screenwriters?

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New Year’s Resolutions for the Writer

The universe has a funny way of blocking me from certain goals. If I’m at the gym and I want to run four miles, I’ll get a phone call from mom who wants to talk my ear off or I’ll get the workout poops in the middle of a run. It happens! The same thing happens when I want to write.

Right now, I’m experiencing a lot of writer’s block, but that’s only because I have so many projects in my head that my mind won’t allow me to focus on just one yet. It’s nothing some meditation and yoga can’t fix. But other things happen: Friends want to hangout, the boyfriend wants to see a movie, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Etc. Things get in the way, for sure.

But there are tasks you can work on that will help you with your writing goals.

  1. Write Every Day: Invest in a writing journal. Utilize it as a diary for daily use or dream journal. You can even purchase journals that give you a different writing assignment each day. There are some assignments you may not find too appealing and it will cause you to skip days, though.  Also, get out of the mindset of wanting to be in the mood for writing. Repetition is the key!
  2. Make Time: Your novel, screenplay, whatever is not going to write itself! READ THAT AGAIN! You have to make time to complete your writing projects. If Diablo Cody could write “Juno” during her lunch breaks at work, then you can find the time to write. Communicate with your partner/friends/family on how much time you need within a day or week to write and follow that goal. But follow through with it!
  3. Focus On One Project: Our minds are filled with numerous ideas. I’m guilty of wanting to complete a horror screenplay in October, but once that month ends I don’t want to be scared anymore, so I begin writing my next project. Make it a goal to finish one writing project at a time. Finding writing competitions will help determine the kind of project you need to complete first. There are screenplay competitions, short story competitions, and they  can be pretty thorough in what they ask for. If you’re just writing to submit to a publisher, give yourself a deadline for your first draft, then give yourself a deadline for edits, and so on.
  4. Read More: What I mean by this is to find the material that closely matches your project and see what others have done. Don’t copy, but learn. For instance, if you’re a screenwriter, read more screenplays but read the scripts that 1) have been awarded for its writing, and 2) match your genre (comedy, war, horror, etc.). There are many screenplays available for download online.
  5. Finish It: Writing becomes tedious at times. Sometimes, we stray away from our projects and abandon them all together. Honestly, this might mean that our projects suck. But it could also mean that we’ve been working on the same thing for awhile and we need to clear our head. Take a break, come back, and get back into it. Change a character, delete a chapter, add a chapter. What it comes down to is heart. If your heart isn’t into it, then you most likely won’t get it done so make it something you can love after it’s complete.

Good luck on your writing goals for 2017! You can accomplish so much in a year. Your biggest resolution should be to actually sit down and get it done. Get to it!

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