What Steve Said

Not an actual pic of Steve
Today I'm going to treat you to some words of wisdom offered up by Steve Barr, a Hollywood veteran with 16 plus years under his belt.   It's good.  And it's important.  And he said I could post it.  And I'm too lazy busy trying to score writing to come up with brilliance of my own.  So read his. 

There aren't different rules for new writers than there are for professional writers. The way you become a professional is to write as well (and with as much voice) as a professional. If you try to write according to the rules that apply to newbies, your screenplays will read like a newbie's screenplays.

Here's the standard learning curve for new writers:

1- There are rules?
2- Fuck the rules!
3- I guess I'd better learn the rules.
4- I understand the rules.
5- The rules aren't helpful to me anymore.
6- Fuck the rules!
7- C'mere kid, let me teach you the rules.

Lots of writers think they're at stage 6 when they're really only at stage 2. But you don't start working at a professional level of craft until you've learned all the rules and internalized what they are and why they exist ... and then can break them with clear intention rather than out of ignorance.

If you want to read amateur screenplays, go to zoetrope.com or amazonstudios.com and start reviewing. That's also a good way to get feedback from other amateurs.

There are plenty of bad screenplays out there, and they can teach valuable lessons on what not to do. But you should be trying to write like the professionals if that's what you want to be.

You can find Steve on Twitter under his secret name @BarrSteve
'Nuff said.  
 
 

great pic by Adam Rassalhague

4 comments:

  1. That Barr guy sounds like a sanctimonious prick.

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  2. This is good advice. You can break the rules, but you need to it meaningfully: in some way that enhances the story, or emotional reaction from the audience. You can get lucky sometimes, but to be really good, you need to know what you're riffing off of.

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  3. I'm not worthy... I'm not worthy... ha ha. Great advise that I'll pass on to my Colleagues and Peers. Kem Royale http://www.kemroyale.com Writers Advocate Blog/Discussion Group

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