Where is nowhere anyway?
“I’ve been writing for years, and still – I’m getting nowhere with my work!”
Is this you?
You started writing short scripts for the screen, hoping that the smaller budget possibility would help you get your script produced. It might have even worked. Maybe you could get your film seen in some festivals, or use it as a calling card for the bigger picture with agents and producers.
Your experience starts to grow. Your scripts start to become more about your voice as a writer; your characters, a projection of the worlds you want to create. Great! You keep going.
Soon, you’ve written at least five short scripts, a treatment for a high-concept, and a couple of indie-style features. You’ve got structure down, and you’re beginning to understand the importance (and the woe) of rewriting. It’s hard, but you do it anyway.
Then one day, you look at all of your hard work; the sweat, the tears, the joys; the paper trail that is the journey you have taken so far in your craft – and you realise… “Wait. I’m getting nowhere here.”
Your scripts are still locked away in a file on your desktop, or prettily bound in a plastic sleeve, neatly piled on the floor by your desk, or even lost in an email conversation somewhere with an agent’s assistant.
So where exactly is nowhere? Nowhere is hours of graft, piles of pages, hundreds of edits, proof-reads and rewrites, only to wind up with… well, a completed script, and a writer ready to collaborate but nobody is around to take on the task. Nowhere then, is no interest; no interest from agents, producers, directors. Nowhere is a script in hand in an empty room. Nowhere is, ‘what now?’
But here’s where we make the mistake. The empty room becomes our result. We look around and feel disappointed because we are suddenly ‘nowhere’. But the empty room is not the result at all. Take a look at what’s in your hand. This is the real result; the piece of work you have created and crafted and worried over until it finally became a joy to edit and proof. Of course, a script is never really finished until the film is made and the crew WRAP.
But the empty room is a counter-productive place to stay. It is too quiet to stick around. So take your work with you and leave. Send your work out into the world, without expectation and begin again.
You are nowhere. But where is nowhere anyway? Nowhere is to continue. It is to take a breath and keep going, keep working, experiencing and growing as a screenwriter. Nowhere is the place you build a portfolio of work. Unless you stop; unless you become trapped inside that empty room, nowhere is not really ‘nowhere’ at all. There’s no such thing. Just keep opening doors. Not all of the rooms are empty. And while you’re looking around, keep writing.