Screenwriting from Hollins University. Hollins University Screenwriting & Film Studies is a low residency MFA/MA program that meets for 6 weeks each summer in beautiful Roanoke, VA. The program’s international teaching faculty is comprised of professors from leading universities as well as industry insiders.
Anyone else feeling the insane pressure of the summer already? Anyone else feeling some hardcore imposter syndrome? Anyone else so overwhelmed that instead of doing all the things you’re supposed to be doing, you end up swiping through Facebook and Instagram for hours? Yeah, me either.
Well, to help you feel a little less guilty about not getting ahead on your pages or fine tuning your pitch, check out this article from No Film School. The best screenwriting websites to spend some time avoiding your own responsibilities, but maybe learn a thing or two along the way.
Writing, while liberating and fun, can also be challenging and stressful. I second guess myself constantly and find myself overwriting or not writing at all because I’m paralyzed by fear and perfectionism. There are dozens of opinions on what aspect of a screenplay is most important, but it’s nice to find some that you believe in and stick to them.
I stumbled upon this list of the 10 things script readers look for. Although it’s just one person’s opinion, it’s already proven helpful in giving me goals and things to work toward without becoming completely overwhelmed.
What do you focus on when writing that keeps you from drowning in the pressure of it all?
I’m a student of Mr. Rogers and loved the Neighborhood growing up. Anytime Mr. Rogers’ name pops up in my casual browsing, I’m excited. So it was fun to see a connection between my childhood idol and screenwriting.
I recently finished yet another viewing of “The Office” in its entirety and I will admit it doesn’t get easier to leave these characters, this world and that writing behind. But as luck would have it, I stumbled across this article form NoFilmSchool with 10 lessons we can learn as writers from rewatching the groundbreaking show.
With a lot of competition deadlines looming and another summer at Hollins to look forward to, it’s nice to be reminded that watching well-written movies and shows, and learning from them, isn’t laziness. It’s research!
Disappointment is a part of life, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck. As creatives, we put our hearts on the line everytime we show someone our work. Then the risk and vulnerability increases with each person who sees it, level it gets to in a competition, or progress it makes towards production or accolade. I’ve posted about disappointment and rejection before, but its like the cat that keeps coming back. And the closer you get to success, the harder the fall becomes. It can be easy to give up, especially when it feels like years of hard work is now completely useless.
I have a handful of links that I could put here with advice for screenwriters, actors, artists, singers, or any creative dealing with rejection. But they all say more or less the same thing:
Don’t take it personally, learn from your mistakes, keep trying, don’t give up.
Solid, legit advice. But how do you not take something so personal, personally? How do you know the RIGHT lessons to learn from your mistakes? How do you decide to move onto another idea instead of rewriting the same one for the 20th time? I certainly don’t have the answers, and I’m afraid that there isn’t a one size fits all solution. But I do know rejection and disappointment suck. But what sucks more is never knowing how far you could get.
So even though it’s crushing, even though it feels like the end of the world, don’t let that “Unfortunately…” or “I’m sorry but…” define you. Don’t let it stop you. Get back on the horse. Allow yourself to grieve, or mourn, or wallow, but then stop it. And then get back up faster every time until it’s no longer a fall, it’s a cool jump move. We’re in this together, right?
Please share any tips or tricks you’ve found to help when things don’t go your way, I’m sure we’d all appreciate it.
This video popped up on my suggested articles the other day. My first thought was, “great, another listicle. I’m so sick of these.” My second thought was, “An hour?! Are you kidding? I’m a millennial, I don’t watch anything longer than 3 minutes.” But it kept popping up, no matter how many times I ignored it. And I’m so glad it did. I listened to the first couple minutes, intending to turn it off. The first two minutes were so good that I listened to the whole thing.
This is an hour of help, motivation, advice, butt-kicking, reality checks, and inspiration that I do not regret. Take a look and you might find a nugget of help for you in here too.
15 Screenwriting Lessons People Learn TOO LATE - YouTube
Parks and Recreation is my favorite show of all time. Although, the new(ish) The Good Place is threatening to knock it out of first place, if they would just make more episodes! Needless to say, I think Michael Schur is amazing. But do I think he’s worth $25,000,000? That’s 6 zeros, people. I’ve been suggested a lot of articles recently about the deal NBC has struck to keep The Office writer/producer around. Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon are really changing the way media is being produced, distributed, and consumed. And some people are really benefiting from it.
Take a look at this (and this, and this) article talking about the deal. What do you think? Are these good changes? Does the deal make sense? How will this affect your future as a content creator? Will this deal get them to make longer seasons of The Good Place, PLEASE?!
Perhaps you’ve heard the buzz, perhaps you haven’t, but things are changing in Hollywood and not everyone is on board. Steven Spielberg (maybe you’ve heard of him?) has some strong opinions about streaming services and awards eligibility. And Netflix has some strong opinions about his opinions.
Check out this article for the latest on the saga.
And leave a note in the comments about YOUR opinions. How has streaming changed things for us aspiring filmmakers? How should eligibility be determined for awards? Who is right, who is wrong? Also, what are you binging right now (I’m looking for some new recommendations)?
It’s no secret that the Academy has hit a few road bumps this year. The absolute disaster of the “Popular film” category; accusations of bigotry, racism, and sexism; and the inability to procure a host made for a tense and awkward lead up to the Oscars. So awkward and tense, in fact, that I didn’t even watch. But even if I claim to be above the noise of awards, I can’t help but be a little invested… so I looked up the winners first thing this morning.
Best picture winner, “Green Book” was a most welcome surprise for me. I saw the film and loved it. The acting, the writing, the story. They were wonderful and I was pleased to see it get some recognition. So even though I didn’t personally watch the Oscars this year, I recognize the clout that comes with one of those little gold statues and concede that I will continue to watch Oscar nominated and Oscar winning films. And you probably should too.