This posting is for all aspiring screenwriters.
Okay, so you have a story rolling around in that noodle of yours. What do you do? If you're like me, you go to a library or amazon.com and start borrowing/buying all the books you can on the subject. And then..you feel overwhelmed. And lost. The books do not compliment each other at all.
In fact, they contradict one another.
As you gaze in frustration down the road you suddenly realize that the tumbleweed gently bobbing across your path is actually tufts of your own hair you've pulled out.
Not a good sign.
I have a few suggestions, of them being Rogaine.
Beside getting more books on the matter (I highly and will always recommend Save The Cat! by Blake Snyder), I would like to suggest this:
See if any universities or colleges in your area have screenwriting classes and see if you can audit.
I had written a script which ,of course I felt was a sure winner. I didn't have any Final Draft software so I attempted to do it all on Word. (NOT recommended at all). When I was done and had rewritten it a few times, I decided I was ready for the plunge. I began querying around and a producer actually wanted to read my script! I was elated. I sent it to her and she got back to me in a month's time. She said she loved my story, but it wasn't formatted correctly, and gave me some feedback. I still have her email. It was a very gracious thing for her to do. Because now, the classes I've taken, I realize what a piece of crap and how amateurish it was. I bang my head on the computer when I think about it. She did leave me an open door, however. When I rewrite it, she wants to see it. Like I said, she was extremely gracious. Finding this kind of "niceness" is rare in these waters.
So, since I work at a prestigious university at the moment, I decided to see what classes I could audit. Lo and behold, there WAS a screenwriting class I could take! And, HOLY SMUDGEMUFFINS! The teacher was Will Akers...the author of the book I was currently reading! I contacted him and he gave me permission for the class. I was on Cloud 9.
I can't tell you the wealth of information I've gotten from his class. It's WAY different from reading a book. You can ask questions, bounce ideas off the teacher, etc. I wouldn't change my attending his classes for anything. In classes, you can not only find out about the craft, but also the intricacies of the business. WHEN my screenplay is being considered, I can tell you right now the first person I'm going to call for guidance is Will. You can't call a book for advice. If it's written, it's written. Anything else that you need that's not in that book, tough tiddlywinks, kid!
So, find a mentor. Find a Will Akers. And when you do, for God's sake, LISTEN to them!!! If he/she is in a position to teach a class, there is probably good reason. If you're willing to listen, shift plots, ideas, dialogue now, it won't be such a shock to you when a producer asks you to do it later.
Keep dreaming! Keep writing!
PS I DO highly recommend Will's book: Your Screenplay Sucks! 100 Ways To Make It Better. I've also added some other links of his.
Book - Your Screenplay Suck! 100 Ways To Make It Great
Blog by Will Akers
Website - Will Akers