Writing for the Screen is a collection of essays and interviews exploring the business of screenwriting. This highly accessible guide to working in film and television includes perspectives from industry insiders on topics such as breaking in; pitching; developing and nurturing business relationships; juggling multiple projects; and more. Writing for the Screen is an ideal companion to screenwriting and filmmaking classes, demystifying the industry and the role of the screenwriter with real-world narratives and little-known truths about the business. With insight from working professionals, you’ll be armed with the information you need to pursue your career as a screenwriter.
- Contains essays by and interviews with screenwriting consultants, television writers, feature writers, writer-directors of independent film, producers, and professors.
- Offers expert opinions on how to get started, including preparing your elevator pitch, finding mentors, landing an internship, and moving from an internship to the next step in your career.
- Reveals details about taking meetings, what development executives are looking for in a screenwriter, how and when to approach a producer, and how to pitch.
- Explores strategies for doing creative work under pressure, finding your voice, choosing what to write, sticking with a project over the long haul, overcoming discrimination, and reinventing yourself as a writer.
- Illuminates the business of screenwriting in the United States (New York and Los Angeles) as compared to other countries around the globe, including England, Ireland, Peru, France, Australia, and Belgium.
Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1: GETTING STARTED
Preparing to Leave School and Begin Your Screenwriting Career
By Gabrielle Kelly
TEN ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE
To Be an Active Hero in Your Career
By Jen Grisanti
IMPRESSING THE DEVELOPMENT EXECUTIVE
By Trai Cartwright
WRITING FOR TELEVISION
What It Takes
An Interview With Fern Field Brooks
WHERE DO YOU BEGIN?
Notes From the Screenwriting Guru
An Interview With Erik Bork
FROM WRITER’S ASSISTANT TO SHOWRUNNER
Interning, Knocking on Doors, and Making Connections
An Interview With Stacy A. Littlejohn
CHAPTER 2: STICKING IT OUT
THE SCREENWRITER’S JOURNEY
By Pat Verducci
WHAT IS A PITCH…?
And Why and How Do You Do It?
By Joshua Malkin
BUILDING A SCREENWRITING CAREER
Advice From the Entertainment Career Coach
An Interview With Carole Kirschner
A SCRIPT READER’S PERSPECTIVE
How to Love What You Do When You Can’t Do What You Love
By James Napoli
THE ART OF DISCIPLINE AND PERSISTENCE
Moving Toward Creative Success
An Interview With Anne Fontaine
A VETERAN PRODUCER’S TAKE ON SCREENWRITING
An Interview With Bruce Gilbert
By Chuck Erven
How to Find the Positive
By Hugo Van Laere
CHAPTER 3: FINDING SUCCESS
BUILDING YOUR TEAM
Insights From the Screenwriting Consultant
An Interview With Linda Seger
Working With an Independent Film Producer
An Interview With Mary Jane Skalski
DECIDING WHAT TO WRITE
By Kira-Anne Pelican
A WORKING SCREENWRITER’S JOURNEY IN AUSTRALIA
By Susan Macgillicuddy
THE PATH TO WRITING AN ICONIC FILM
Navigating the Business of Hollywood
An Interview With Barry Morrow
CHAPTER 4: GETTING AHEAD
A BOLD MOVE
Running With an Unexpected Story
An Interview With Mary Harron
SURVIVING AND THRIVING IN HOLLYWOOD
Eight Principles to Empower Your Writing and Your Life
By Jim Jennewein
FROM CREATIVITY TO CRAFT IN SCREENWRITING
By Mark Readman
WRITING FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
A Strategy of Forward Motion
An Interview With Claudia Llosa
RISKS AND REWARDS
Following a Passion
An Interview With Jay Paul Deratany
SCREENWRITING AND MENTAL FITNESS
Thoughts From a Mental Health Professional
An Interview With David Silverman
CHAPTER 5: STARTING AGAIN
Writing the Next Great Script
By William Rabkin
ART VS. COMMERCE
The Cage Match in My Brain Continues
By Shalom Auslander
EVERYTHING I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT A CAREER IN HOLLYWOOD…
I Learned From Writing Scripts
By Rosanne Welch
STARTING OVER IN AMERICA
From Writing to Directing and Back Again
An Interview With Kirsten Sheridan
LIFE LESSONS IN WRITING FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES
Wisdom From the Head Writer for Sesame Street
An Interview With Lou Berger
Anna Weinstein is the Series Editor for PERFORM. A writer and editor with over fifteen years of experience in educational publishing, she received her MFA in Writing for the Performing Arts from the University of California at Riverside-Palm Desert and her BA in Communication Studies/Performance from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She teaches introductory and advanced screenwriting at Auburn University, and she is a frequent contributor to Film International, where she publishes interviews with award-winning female directors in her series "Diva Directors Around the Globe."
"This book answers all the hard questions every aspiring writer asks and the rest of the screenwriting manuals avoid. It's astonishing that this essential addition to every screenwriting library hasn't existed before—and a cause for celebration that it finally does now."
—William Rabkin, Author of Writing the Pilot, Professor of Television Writing and Producing at Long Island University’s TV Writers Studio
"An essential book – so accessible, so beautifully written, so encouraging and realistic and specific. It covers all the bases. Anyone contemplating a career as a screenwriter MUST read this book!"
—Dr. Linda Seger, Script Consultant, Author, Seminar Leader
"Writing for the Screen is perhaps the most powerful book on 'making it' in screenwriting that I've read in years. It is feverishly real, with raw truths and unabashed encouragement. I love the book's kaleidoscopic portrait and its solid approaches to the unique challenges of succeeding as a screenwriter today."
—Dr. Pieter Aquilia, Head, Screenwriting, Australian Film Television & Radio School