First Time Screenwriter

Screenwriter for the first time

So he went to Hollywood and found work as a screenwriter. Live the dream: First scriptwriter Jonathan Perera about his film Miss Sloane

Just imagine: You are an emerging screenwriter without ties to the industrial world, who lives far away from the light Hollywood candles, and the first script you are writing not only ensures you represent yourself, but also becomes a film that appears in the cinemas all over the country with an Oscar-nominated star. Sound like every screenwriter's imagination, doesn't it? It' a real tale for Jonathan Perera.

The Q&A Podcast host Jeff Goldsmith recently talked to Jonathan, whose first screenplay and first film to be made is John Madden's politic thriller Miss Sloane with Jessica Chastain. Jonathan speaks in the following conversation about how he gave up his legal careers for his dreams of screenwriting: "He describes some of the intelligent ways in which he taught himself how to write a screenplay:

He also talks at length about his script development, sketching and authoring processes and how and why he subscribed with his executive Scott Carr - who joined them on set to speak about the questioning brief that convinced him. Considering that Jonathan is the only customer Scott has ever subscribed to an interrogation brief, prospective scriptwriters will want to hear for sure to find out what that interrogation is.

So how old is too old to be a screenwriter?

It was Raymond Chandler who started writing his first script at the age of 56. Not even published his first novel until he was 51. On the album he composed the film scripts for'Double Indemnity' and'Strangers On A Train'. So he went to Hollywood and found work as a screenwriter. Faulkner started writing his first script at the age of 48.

Mankiewitz was well over 35 when he was writing "All about Eve". Just like modern screenwriters: However, these boys all belong to the group of''established'' scriptwriters. They have been around for some time, i.e. since they came under the heading of "young" scriptwriters. Nothing like a success story to get a pitches meet, a screenplay and a deed.

So the more pertinent issue has nothing to do with the needs of incumbent scriptwriters, but with the new writer a few leagues ahead? When I use the term'new', I do not confine myself to the'elderly' who will start his first script later. I also include this vast swimmingpool of hearty spirits who have been scriptwriting for years (or decades) without even getting a foothold in the world.

It' the doorway to the two things older scriptwriters have against them. Hollywood thinks that a 23-year-old will be writing a more commercial screenplay than a 43-year-old or 53-year-old. You may be right if the story is about high scholastic or collegiate children ('American Pie','Road Trip' or some Freddy Prinze Jr. movie).

It is not that scriptwriters over 35 are incapable of producing stupid, pointless and simply horrible screens. And, for a second, do not suppose that there are no young scriptwriters who have composed beautiful, intricate, clever and intelligentplays. I learned it first-hand. Since 1988 I have been lecturing screenplay at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University in the Department of Dramatic Arts and Film & Television.

I' ve been teaching elsewhere, and I've been a screenwriting advisor on several hundred scripts. I was overwhelmed on more than one occassion by the work of some young authors who were studying with me. However, the older a screenwriter (or any author) gets, the better he or she gets.

If someone is 37 and begins scriptwriting, why shouldn't they have the advantage of doubting that they will do well? This is a matter of old-age for this new but not young screenwriter. Young scriptwriters don't have to be scared of meeting production people and even operatives.

But, as an older screenwriter, because of some (or a significant amount) of grey hair, crow's feets and a protrusion in the middle of your live, you run the danger of taking out possible dealers just because you are seen as old. There is a strange way of thought in Hollywood that when you're older and don't sell or have a screenplay made, you can't be any good.

With so many schools and academies that offer screenwriting programs, more and more high schools are enrolled in them and come up with BA's in screenwriting. When a pupil goes to the right schools, he is followed by an agent and producer even before he finishes his schooling. Do we get back to the character who chooses to do her first screenplay at 37?

I don't mean with someone who reads your screenplay. I' ve spoken to sales people about their policy of taking over customers and to manufacturers about scriptwriters they want to work with. The only thing that counts is a good screenplay with good written and a good storyline (which is why it is to your benefit to get an asset first.) She will mail your screenplay, and no one will need to know that you have kids in school or that you are about to become a nan.

However, do not try to see the female operative in person before she has finished reading your screenplay if you are not in top form as a high-end babyboy. And, with the scriptwriters in their 1930s and 1940s who have been around for a long time, there's always this little tendency of folks in the business to think that if you were good, you would have made it by now.

But on the other side, let's say you can get an operative to study your story, and she likes it enough to want to cover for you, and then she comes and hears you. It will only play a role if they want to get to know you by sending your scripts to producers and studio.

And if you liked your screenplay enough to ignore the fact that you are not a 21-year-old UCLA screenwriter kid, you too could miss your years. Or if your screenplay is sooooo good and crisp and inventive. A screenwriter in his late forties could be a menace to a manufacturer in his early forties.

In fact, no matter how old you are, it's still what's between the cover art of your play. If a 22-year-old employee at Blockbuster mit Pickel, who still resides with his mum and dad, wrote a great storyboard that sold for a million dollars, then so be it. Would it be better to be young and start a screenwriting profession?

Are you annoyed when you began to write scripts at a young age and ten years have passed without anything happen? Do you have a chance against you when you're over 35 and you' re about to write your first script? D.B. Gilles is teaching script and drama at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.

He' the writer of The Screenwriter Within and The Portable Film School. He' co-wrote the George Bush satirical W. The First Hundred Days. And he also composed the piece Sparkling Object. D.B. is a screenwriting advisor and writer's trainer. Most of his pupils have done business, scripted, released their work and created their TV shorts, drafts and films.

Writing the much-loved Rehab Screwriters blog: If scriptwriters can't get their acts.....

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