What's the best advice that someone is the biz has ever given you? And did it help you?
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One of the best pieces of advice I received was years ago when I first started writing is to treat this like a job. You clock in, you clock out. Stick to the routine, stick to the schedule. :-)
I like that advice! Thanks, Ellis!
Budd Schulberg told me, "Don't quit your day job." :)))
For writing - many, many writers said this, "Structure! Know structure!" All of them are working TV and Film writers.
Can't remember really. Although Aco Djurcinov, an old school Macedonian director once told me: "U can't balance two watermelons under your arms. Sooner or later one will fall" - referring to keeping a day job and doing writing....never took that advice, so far :)
I’m writing full time right now, but wrote a tv series pilot in 20 minute chunks every morning before school. I was so proud when I finished it!
When all else fails, trust your own instincts. Yes, it works 80 percent of the time.
When I first thought that this writing gig sounded pretty good, I was trying my hardest, failing miserably and was a free floater on a couple of sets: Hitch told me to lighten up and remember, 'it's just a damn movie'. Never take anything/anyone or yourself very seriously - lighten up and enjoy the journey.
When I first started writing screenplays, I bought a couple of books, The Bible from David Trottier and one on Screenwriting for Dummies. I imagine you were the same and couldn't absorb the info on screenwriting fast enough from anywhere. I met a screenwriter on MySpace, (many moons ago) who wrote a book on interviews he had with the gurus of screenwriting. He told me, "If you can't take rejection, quit right now!" I guess I have a thick skin, but it does jab a bit when I do get a dear Claude Letter.
Yes, I have a pretty thick skin by now, Claude Gagne! And Damian Lloyd, you are right, the act of writing itself creates the work! It's remarkable, but true!
I'll give you three pieces of advice that have been paramount to my career and have, indeed, helped me: 1. From producer Sam Sherman - an exploitation producer of over 40 pictures, who worked on almost half a dozen of mine said to me - and he is paraphrasing a famous saying: "Experience is the best teacher, BUT, only fools learn there." It simply MEANS listen to others to avoid the same hurdles in your career, rather than making, "my own mistakes." 2. My Oscar-Nominated cousin, actor Danny Aiello said to me - and this is some of the BEST ADVICE I'VE EVER BEEN GIVEN in this business - "Go make a short Sammy. Direct it yourself. My friend Christine Lahti made a short, she asked me to be in it and she wins the Oscar." While I resisted this at first, I eventually co-wrote and directed my own short. I got one of the major actors from LOST, a Tony-Winning actor and one of the popular cast members of the reality television show Big Brother, in addition to a very fine lead actress - and some wonderful music. Now, while I didn't win the Oscar, I did qualify for the Academy Awards and just missed getting a Nomination. As a result of that, I got to rewrite, produce and direct and nice feature. I SEE SO MANY WRITERS, DIRECTORS and PRODUCERS on this site resist the idea of a feature, RIDICULOUS. Go make one! Take it to Festivals - once you are able to with this virus. Let people see your work on the big screen. Mingle, fraternize and network. And, GET YOURSELF OUT THERE! 3. From 2-time Oscar-Winning producer Albert S. Ruddy - he of The Godfather and Million Dollar Baby. When I told him about my feature, Stay Fresh, he told me he believed in me. "You WILL make this feature, BUT, it's going to take you several years - maybe 2 or 3, but DON'T give up." Well, nearly four years later with this feature happening, leave it to a 2-time Oscar-Winner to predict a positive outcome. This last one, is of course, self-explanatory. BUT, I think ALL THREE PIECES OF ADVICE are still poignant and timely. Here's hoping someone out there hears them. ONWARD and UPWARD! GOD BLESS and STAY FRESH!!! <3
I have a one-two punch piece of advice that I think is pretty valid. It came from a VP of development for a major studio, and it goes like this.
1. "Tell me a story I've never heard before." That's pretty essential, and probably needs little explanation, other than to say unique characters in unique locations and in unique times are new stories, and regardless of how many times certain themes in certain genres have been covered.
2. "Keep the story moving." That refers to how a story has the potential to engage an audience. When audiences are intently watching something to really "follow" it, their minds are processing that story and story information in ways that keep people focused and involved. They become glued to their seats, as they process and are intently focused on what's happening now in that story, and what's coming next in that story. They aren't channel-surfing, and they aren't playing on their phones. They are fully invested in what they are viewing. It doesn't get any better than that.
That's a pretty important understanding, and especially in this day and age when there is so much competition in every genre in every film; every TV/Cable/New Media show; and in other types of creative content.
Best fortunes in your creative endeavors, Rebecca, and stay safe!
John August and Craig Mazin gives great advice every week on the Scriptnotes Podcast.
They constantly say, consultants, script doctors, and others that charge amateur writers fees for help are all scams. The gurus are not giving you real advice and they are doing nothing that you couldn’t do yourself.
I heard that from them years ago and many time since.
This piece of advice gave me the knowledge and in some way permission, to do whatever I want. I believe this is the key to any success I have had to date, and will have in the future.
I would like to give some advice.
Anyone that uses fear to make a point is a conman (or woman). If they say things like “your script will be thrown in the bin” or “If you don’t wan to sell a script”. People that challenge you credibility with none themselves is wrong...always wrong.
If a person can make a coherent argument. They should be at least given some consideration. But you must make up your own mind and not outsource your opinions.
Thank you Bill and Craig!
I ignored it.
@Bill I agree thanks for share. Haven't heard that expression for a while "Glued to their seats." How many of us can remember a film we watched, where hanging onto characters every word/action was more important than even just a few seconds away, (such as example) to grab another can from fridge? For myself, far and few between. Audiences need to be grabbed by the collar and never let go. PACE, PROMISE AND SUSPENCE! @Craig Yep fear mongers are no help to anyone but constructive advice is and writers need blaze their own trail. @Sam So true! Making a short these days need not cost big bucks and artists should take more initiative with the free worldwide platform on net. @All I never relied on "one" piece of advice cos there's so many aspects to cover in industry but purely as an artist I would say, to thine own self be true and do something unique instead of following daily trends but know what you're doing will not fall on deaf ears. STAY SAFE ALL!
I'm glad you didn't quit, William!
Show don't tell, I still see myself tempted to tell. Then I shake my head and show.
The best advice I've heard is 4 simple words: "Don't be an asshole."
Perfect Joshua and WL!!
The back end means no money.
One advice that I got: It doesn't matter how good your projects (end product) are if you're mean and treat your employees poorly. Be kind always.
Trust your gut.