September 2011, at Menara Airport Marrakech on my way to a resident writer’s workshop run by Euroscript http://www.euroscript.co.uk/ I met a man in his 50s who had been attending workshops for almost 10 years and still writing his first script. What a lemon, I thought. Needless to say but I’ll say it anyway, he was a total bore. When he spoke his words complacently plodded around in my brain, depleting my precious energy. When he asked me to read his unfinished script, I politely declined explaining that my trainee critique of his work would be of no use for a script that sounds like a masterpiece in the making. I noticed his chest inflate a few inches, and he went on to explain every little tedious detail of the story at which point I conveniently escaped to the toilet.
An event held by The Script Factory at BAFTA Piccadilly in June 2011. At morning coffee, I met a young lady around the age of thirty displaying a crushed demeanour. She had a somewhat sloppy and sluggish feel about her. When she spoke her words lacked enthusiasm and the sentences just trailed off. It turned out that she had been writing for almost three years and was almost half way through her script. Another plodder, I thought, and another escape to the toilet.
I don’t mean to be cruel, but generally these people are not screenwriters. They are dreary, mind-numbing, uninspiring dreamers that go nowhere and do nothing. Keep away or you will be exhausted.
As a screenwriter you want to be proactive and accomplish writing a complete spec script as soon as you can. And then write another one. Practice makes perfect. There is nothing better than writing stories that inspire you and in the process enhance your screenwriting skills. Sure, you can read and reread as many screenplays as you like, but nothing will teach you better than revising your own work over and over.
If you need a dose of enthusiasm then I highly recommend the following book: ‘I Will’ by Ben Sweetland – Foreward by Melvin Powers. The best book on writing a screenplay: ‘Save the Cat’ by Blake Snyder. http://www.blakesnyder.com/