Are you seeking a screenwriting career? If you are determined to have a screenwriting career, there are two key survival elements you must endure. The first to screenwriting success is learning how to earn money and work as a screenwriter in the marketplace. This refers to searching for paid gigs where you write for other people and earn a living from that.
The second key element to having a screenwriting career is establishing your voice and creativeness as a screenwriter. This is where you get to write your own work and develop your own story ideas and then sell them to a producer. Now a lot of novice screenwriters will make the mistake of thinking they have to choose only one element. The truth is you should never limit yourself to just one.
If you want a screenwriting career then you should be writing your own scripts as well as scripts for other people who are paying you. That way you can make money and get as much experience as you possibly can as a screenwriter. Remember this is the profession you have chosen, so you should be devoting your time to screenwriting. If the paid gigs are taking up a lot of your time, then try devoting at least an hour each day to writing your own screenplay. If that is not possible, try writing one page of your screenplay each day. After 100 days, you will end up with a 100 page script of your own while consistently working on paid gigs throughout this time. Remember, this is screenwriting survival. You have to use every bit of time you can to work on both elements, even if it is 15 minutes per day.
If you are a new screenwriter seeking a screenwriting career, then you need to learn about the film industry first before marketing your script to anyone. The best way to learn about the film industry is to read books, attend film festivals, make contacts, and learn about film contracts. The next thing you want to do is have a professional in the industry, like another screenwriter, review your script. This isn’t going to be someone you are selling to at this point. This is someone who is going to give you their objective opinion about your screenplay and then provide you with feedback as to how it can be improved. Let this feedback serve you as a tool for learning from your mistakes and becoming a more knowledgeable screenwriter as a result.
Of course, there is nobody who is going to be a perfect screenwriter. The rules of having a screenwriting career are not set in stone, which means many screenwriters might have different opinions about things like formatting, sluglines, scene structure and so forth. What you want to do is focus on the basic rules that everyone agrees with and then choosing your own path of writing that makes sense to you. Later on if you come across a producer that wants their script written in a particular way, you will know how to accommodate their wishes.