Scriptwriting: If you’re in it for the money, rethink!

Why do you want to write films?

I love films. I love the art of visual storytelling. I love creating stories and characters, and I love exploring the nuances of human relationships and behaviours.

I want to write films that will move and engage audiences. I am passionate about creating stories through the medium of film.

Do I also write films because I want to earn a living this way? Of course. But making money from scriptwriting can not be my main motivation. Why? Because it is incredibly difficult to earn a living as a screenwriter.

Eventually, if you are persistent, it may become your reality. But to get there, you have to be willing to write script after script after script, without giving up when they don’t make it to the screen or onto an agent’s ‘yes’ pile. You have to have a passion for, and dedication to the process, even when it feels like you are writing for nobody but yourself; even when it feels like you’re pouring yourself out and getting nothing in return. And this will happen.

Just remember that none of what you write is a waste of time.

You may get a few rejections… more than a few. But you are learning from every script you write, every scene you restructure, every character you create. You are investing time and energy into your chosen craft and finding your voice. You are being a scriptwriter.

I’m not saying it’s easy; far from it actually. Just like any other who chooses an art form as a career, you will troll through blood, sweat, tears, too much coffee, too much sleep, not enough sleep, blank screens, crumpled notes, repetitive strain injury, doubt, more doubt, and maybe one too many of your favourite tipple from time to time. You might even have a couple of days where you question why you’re doing all of this; perhaps think about giving up. But here’s the true test: if you love writing films, you won’t give up. You will take a breath and keep going. Especially when you realise you’re not alone. The struggle is there for all of us. But we keep going too.

On the other hand, if you’re only in it for the money, you will give up.

So… love what you do. You don’t always have to enjoy every part of the process but if you love writing films, if you love creating stories and characters simply because you are passionate about doing so… just keep going.

It’s worth the effort.

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