Screenwriting : Frustrated by Lisa Beuk

Lisa Beuk

Frustrated

Am I the only screenplay writer who feels she is heading towards a dead end at a very slow speed? I have been writing for 6 years now and feel I am going nowhere, yet I know my writing has improved a great deal since I started. Is this just frustration setting in or maybe time to let it go? Does anyone else feel this way?

Anthony Cawood

What is it that you are frustrated at Lisa? Is it your writing or the struggle to get them produced?

Paul Zeidman

Yes, it can be very frustrating at times, but keep in mind that "this is a marathon, not a sprint." I've got a friend who's been doing this for 20 years, and only the past 3-4 have yielded any significant success. It's great that you're improving with each new effort. I feel like I get a little closer to the goal of being a working writer with each new script (and subsequent rewrite). You're definitely not alone. Keep at it, and hang in there.

Lisa Beuk

Anthony, I think it's more getting it "out there" and getting it read by someone who has the power to do something with it.

Lisa Beuk

Paul, thank you for the kind and encouraging words. That helps to know others struggle with it as well.

Kerry Douglas Dye

Yep, what Paul said.

Jean-Pierre Chapoteau

Have you entered any of your scripts in contests? When you start placing, you'll feel as though you're getting somewhere. Then start querying. The writer of 'Hanna' sent 400 query letters and only got two positive responses. The thought of that drives me nuts, but it got made, so we have to be persistent.

Lisa Beuk

Well said Lisa! Thank you!

Lisa Beuk

Jean-Pierre, yes, I have entered them in and they have done fairly well but never in the top.

Anthony Cawood

I agree with all the above, it's a case of chipping away and perservering... I'm writing a series of articles over on SimplyScripts about getting your scripts out there and produced - see www.anthonycawood.co.uk/articles might be something useful in these for you. But do keep on writing!

Lisa Beuk

I will certainly check them out! Thanks Anthony!

C. D-Broughton

Ha! When I first started out, I was writing in MS Word, so yeah, that definitely added some time! If you're using a (free) program like Celtx or the fabled (and expensive - though, I use it because it was bought for me as a present) Final Draft, learning how to format properly will come soooo much sooner and really help shape your style. After all, the words we choose to maintain minimalism yet not lose important descriptions or what is the current focus of the camera (god, this could open up a can of crap...) is partly what determines our style. For me though, the two most important aspects are CONCEPT and PACE. If you have a good concept, it'll drive the read; if you have good pacing, it'll keep readers turning the pages. As for getting reads: I feel your pain - hell, just about everyone who's ever called themself a screenwriter has! I've still not tried the Happy Writers thing, but it's getting people reads, so is definitely doing something right! What you have to remember though is that the reaction to that read is based on your talent and the level you're presently at, so if you feel you're ready, you may want to give it a go. And seriously, 6 years seems forever in the beginning, but after that time, you should be understanding why you were delusional to think you could write a masterpiece that'd sell for a million on your very first attempt.

Anthony Moore

Absolutely. I've gotten plenty of good reviews from contests and such, even pitched a few times but nothing has ever come of it. But still I write and toil on.

Anthony Moore

LOL!!!

Paul Zeidman

Just remembered something else to keep in mind: even when it gets really, really frustrating and feels like it'll never get better, there still isn't anything else I'd rather be doing. Hopefully that's how it is for you as well.

Crystal Diane Stevens

If this was easy, everyone would be doing it. It's not, and so at times it feels like the industry weeds out people simply by making it so hard that those who really stuck it out end up making up. Everyone's path is different - there is no ONE single path to success for any of us and we just have to keep trying :)

Lisa Beuk

@Paul, you are 100% right, I love doing it!

Crystal Diane Stevens

@John, true! But even if it leads to the dump, you can just walk away :)

Lisa Beuk

@Jim, i feel a ton better about this! Ive gotten a lot of great feedback here!

Tony McFadden

The successful writers are those who persist. And if you're seeing improvements, that's fantastic. Continue to persist. Of course, it helps a ton if writing is something you enjoy.

Crystal L. Smithwick

It's difficult not to get discouraged.

Anthony Cawood

Alle you seem to have accidentally posted same thing twice, assume this is an error not just you trying to make the point twice ;-) Great that you have scripts circling the upper echelons, and that everything seems to be progressing well. Be great for us all on here to see your scripts, or samples of them, so we can see the standard we have to aspire to in this business. I'm sure we could all learn a thing or two. Congrats on getting married too.

C. D-Broughton

Alle, I think that it's fairly obvious that we gauge how much we've improved by comparing against our earlier efforts and judge how close we are to writing professionally by the credibility of our ideas and how well our work stands up against professional scripts. I get where you're coming from with the shorts though: investors can only lose money and directors can just as easily hone their craft with no budget "practise" shorts (though the more crew and ambitious the shoot, the more one can learn). The only problem with the no budget practise method is that investors expect to see Hollywood standards, and not how well one can block a scene and then have everyone and the camera dance around.

Lisa Beuk

Alle, I always find your comments very discouraging to me. When I see my screenplays making it further and further into contests and the feedback I receive improving each time , that tells me that my writing must be improving. I never said I was a professional. For whatever reason, you always seem to want to discourage me. On a more positive note, congrats on your marriage.

Lisa Beuk

Also Alle, you did read my work and again you were very discouraging then too. There was nothing right about it at all. Granted, you did make some very good points, but you were still very discouraging.

Crystal Diane Stevens

If memory serves, I head that THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY that took ten years to get noticed. Same, I believe, with THELMA AND LOUISE. Also actor Joe Pesci, after 9 years, gave up the business and went to work with his brother instead. Out of the blue, he later got a call from Martin Scorsese to do RAGING BULL.

Lisa Beuk

Thank you Crystal! It's so good to hear that others have and are going through the same thing as me!

Jean-Pierre Chapoteau

Alle, I looked up your IMDB credits and I don't see any projects with even a poster. Your most recent projects are directed, written, produced, and starring you, so I'm assuming you have an IMDB Pro account. You said you've talked with A-List actors and Producers that have basically begged you to start writing scripts. Where are these producers/actors/scripts? Who are they? You said this happened in 2006, so surely you can give us a name almost ten years later. Do you understand what A-List means? Are you telling us someone on Joel Silver or Hugh Jackman's level asked you to write/and or direct a movie? You only have 1400 followers on twitter and you hardly get any retweets or likes. I'm mentioning this because well known screenwriters who deal with A-List producers and Actors usually have more. I would understand if you're just a screenwriter who's not into social networking, but you have almost 89,000 tweets. I then looked on both of your Facebook pages and again, not really much activity from people other than yourself. It's an open page too, so anyone can "like" your comments. I mention this because I get the impression from reading your posts here on Stage 32, that dozen, or hundreds, or thousands of budding screenwriters/filmmakers look for your approval. Why aren't they liking your statuses and pics? This business is about Networking. If you're a Director, Actor, Screenwriter, Cinematographer, Director of Photography, Camera Operator, etc... and apparently really good and SUCCESSFUL at what you do, where are your fans? Your posse? Your suck ups? Your Alledroids? I would seriously like an answer to these questions.

Lisa Molusis

It all comes down to how much you want to succeed and where your craft is at this moment. It takes time for everyone. Know that you're not alone. Sending your work out before it's ready is one of the biggest mistakes a writer can make, and we all have done that. Knowing that you need to focus on the craft and continue writing until you are as good as the pros , imo, is the attitude that will serve a writer best. You have to really want it, even if it takes time. Have you had your work evaluated by a consultant or professional service? Have you posted it on The Black List? Do you understand where your craft is at the moment? Are you writing at the professional level? Have you sent your work out to prodcos and managers? Remember that all it takes is for one person to love your work and that sometimes it takes a while to find that one person. And it's absolutely okay to stop writing, too, if that's what you want. All of us have experienced the frustration you feel, but remember, the ones that make it in this very competitive industry are the ones that never give up. Sorry for the verbosity =)

Lisa Beuk

Lisa, thank you for your comment! I love the encouraging words and ideas that most of you have given me. You have made very good points here and I need to take a close look at where the frustration is really coming from.! The one thing that I am sure of is that I am NOT going to stop writing :-)

Ben Johnson Jr.

Lol, I hardly have time to peruse and post here any more because writing takes up so much of my time but it's good to see some things never change. 'ALLE BATTLES" still rage on 32. How are you Alle? Lisa Beuk, I'm no guru, nor the most experienced writer on this site but I have sold scripts to actual producers for actual money, I have done script editing for actual money, I am now being approached by producers to write and will attend NATPE Europe and Story Expo LA, all expenses paid, based on the strength of my projects. All that has been accomplished in under 18 months. I don't consider myself exceptionally talented by any means but I do try to balance the craft element and the business element of my writing. I see my writing as a business and set measurable and achievable goals. I find that if I'm constantly aiming for something it avoids the treadmill experience of putting in loads of time and effort and feeling like you're going nowhere. I'm constantly looking for opportunities to build my portfolio and to improve my writing. Screenplay competitions motivate me to get scripts finished and afford the opportunity to have my work tested. I guess what I'm saying is if you don't have a plan that includes short, medium and long term goals you're going to feel that the wheels are spinning.

Lisa Beuk

Thanks Ben, for taking time to comment on this. I feel very encouraged.

Peter VM

I just saw a great doc yesterday called, "SHOWRUNNER". I just happen to come across it on Google Play. It shows the highs and lows of Exec Prod trying to succeed in getting their show created for network or cable TV. What surprised me the most, is the honesty of their failed attempts and yet they succeeded. THEY NEVER gave up. Also, this doc shares great in sight that even with their successful show their is no guarantee that their future projects will be a hit. They struggle like everyone else. I have watched this doc twice now and I found it incredibly inspirational. My hope for you is to find that inspiration to keep you moving forward. All the best.

Ben Johnson Jr.

A pleasure Lisa

Lisa Beuk

@Peter, I will check it out! Thank you so much for sharing this with me!

Lisa Beuk

Ha!!! Too funny!

Anthony Cawood

@ Alle - Wow all I did was suggest you post some of your scripts so that we could learn from them, reading scripts is a learning technique suggested by many - not you though apparently. Congrats on your wedding still hold by the way. Shame really, as you are always so quick with an opinion, and so quick to subvert a thread like this to showcase some of your own work that I thought you'd be keen to share a little more than nebulous statements like 'got a few screenplays circulating the upper echelons going through the process of being handed around and offers being suggested' quite frankly I could type that in a thread and it'd be no more proveable than yours. So, sorry that I cannot offer you a financial reason for you to engage with me, I'm a fellow screenwriter, not a producer or someone who can hire you in some way, after this example of your networking skills I can assure you that I would never do that. But you are correct, I am a writer, and so I can do my research when needed... and you did invite me to do my research, so here goes. You have the following on IMDB 19 producer credits 16 writer credits 16 editor credits 16 directors credits All of these are on the same movies, most of which are shorts. So this leads me to deduce that you hire youself to write and direct your own films, it doesn't look like anyone has hired you as a writer at any point. As I said most of your films are shorts, apart from your first few... so only looking at the films you wrote (screenwriting lounge afterall)... Something About AJ - IMDB rating of 2.1 from 45 users. Not about AJ - IMDB rating of 2.9 from 20 users They were over 10 years ago. By the way, what did happen to the feature you were making with/for Kirtsie Alley in 2010 after she tweeted you? Anyway... Since those first couple of Features you seem to have been concentrating on shorts but none of your shorts have enough votes to have a rating as yet. So I'm not sure what to make of them. You seem to have won some awards for the shorts, but I'm not familiar with the awards company unfortunately. Maybe you could post some of the winning scripts? But as interesting as the above is... it doesn't tell me if you can write, and hey I've nowhere near your level of experience and have only had a couple of shorts produced... so I took you up on your suggestion and read the couple of scripts on your profile page. Obviously these are shooting scripts so are formatted as such but still... Quickie - all written with a passive voice, and a premise that doesn't really work - why doesn't Jack just take a day off given they have a massive calendar with the date already circled? Eternal Sketch - at least this one is written with a more active voice but there are still fundemental issues with the screenplay format that even an inexperienced screenwriters is unlikely to make, e.g. continually capitalising the characters name, when it should just be the first time. Of course I am a relative newbie... so could be way off beam with my views on the above... and of course you wrote them (based on someone else's idea) to produce/direct yourself so formatting and such is moot. But I've nothing newer to review of yours and I don't have the money/opportunities for you to share anymore of your 'portfolio' with me or the other aspiring screenwriters in S32. I did take the research outside of IMDB and tried Google but the less said about that the better, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume haters are gonna hate. So I really hope that everything goes well for you in future, genuinely, as I'm that type of positive, sharing and supportive person. But on here I think you really need to reign in your self agrandizing, opinionated nonsense unless you can back it up with something more than destructive comments on other people's posts and reliance on vanity projects that no one has seen.

Cherie Grant

Lisa I feel the same way and i've been writing for ten years. I have had to learn from scratch including basic English because I left school at 16 and failed that year too. Then i had to learn, and write, and learn, and craft and I don't have any natural talent and I am a very slow writer and have had a lot of hurdles, illnesses etc. But I am making progress and I have no reason to stop. I might as well keep on slogging on regardless. If nothing else it gives me something to do.

LindaAnn Loschiavo

All these women named LISA!!! OK, Lisa, step away from the computer. Next time, before you write, try this: do 10 mins of QI GONG. On YouTube, Lee Holden has a free 10 min routine to increase energy by changing your breathing. This "prelude" will unhook the enthusiasm flow and let it flow correctly. You will be recharged and no longer discouraged. One small change. . . . My best to you!!

Phillip "The Scribe Who Cares'" Hardy

Dear Lisa How many aspiring screenwriters are there in the world? Popular screenplay competitions like Austin Film Festival and Nichols get as many as 10,000 entries each year. Blue Cat competition received about 5000 this year. The competition for paid writing jobs is even more brutal. The aspiring writer is also competing against established WGA writers, who often have multiple credits. Like anything else that’s competitive, submitting work to producers, director and agents is often a numbers game. The more you do, the better chance you have of success. Of course that philosophy assumes that you’re writing compelling material. I read tons of other writer’s work who can quote chapter and verse on formatting and technique; but they can’t tell a story. They write scripts with scenes that don’t go anywhere. What you have to decide is why you want to be a screenwriter. I think it starts with having a burning desire to create and see your vision on paper. From there, if you want to make money doing it, you have to have the intestinal fortitude to put your work out there to be judged and have the ability to take rejection then continue to move forward.

LindaAnn Loschiavo

Yes, it is a "People: business. And before anyone posts on Stage32, it would be wise to project yourself as a "PEOPLE PERSON." (smiles)

LindaAnn Loschiavo

@ Lisa Scott ----- your sharp sense of humor is only one of the things I admire about you. :-D

Phillip "The Scribe Who Cares'" Hardy

Dan: Great idea about the directors.

Lisa Beuk

@Dan, All I've really done is enter contests. I did send out a few queries but never received a response. With the help and great advise I've received from people on here, I am starting yet another re-write. My concern is what do I do when the script is as good as I can get it? Besides entering contests. I live in a very small town in Northwest Wisconsin,

Philip Sedgwick

@Lisa, Ann Arbor has an Oscar-qualifying film festival. So does Indiana (Heartland). And Cleveland. All pretty close to WI. Get out and meet people in the industry. Suck up the creative energy. Talk about your work without apology. Be interesting. Be positive. Be nice!! This is a relationships business. As per Dan's suggestion I have been able to attach talent (actors & directors) to projects and have found that it absolutely magnifies interest.

Lisa Beuk

You all rock!!! Thank you for these great resources!!!

Marilyn Du Toit

Everyone. I finished my screenplay 2008 and I have just accomplished a assessment on it in order to rewrite it. I have been writing since 2004. This is the first time I feel I am getting closer. I have joined ISA Connect and this Stage 32, I am now actually able to talk to producers if I want. But first I need to ensure I have rewritten that screenplay and made it so great they cannot say no...Don't give up, your day will come and so will mine...one day. If that woman who wrote To Kill a Mocking Bird can do a sequel at 89 there is hope for us all.

Michael Eddy

If your writing is improving - which is all you can ask short of hoping for a sale (which can be very encouraging - as an 80 year old said upon winning her Oscar), then only you can decide if you're ready to throw in the towel. The business doesn't care. If you get frustrated and quit - they never knew you existed. More writers (and actors and directors etc.) getting off the bus every day or graduating from film school with a script or a student film. The ones who make it are the ones who stick it out. You start (hopefully) with a belief in yourself and your talent - and you don't take any of the no's to heart. And there will be plenty of those. Only takes one yes. I was like you at one point. Frustrated and wondering if it was meant to be. Gave myself the only deadline ever (personal) - 18 minths away - to end on my birthday. And ON my birthday - I sold a script.

Lisa Beuk

Wow Michael, how cool sellibg a script on yoyr birthday! You're right, no one in the world would care if I quit, sad, but true. Only I will know when and if it's time to give it up.

Christopher Binder

Walt Disney was fired by an editor because, "he lacked imagination and had no original ideas." His first animation company went bankrupt and it's said that he was turned down hundreds of times when he sought financing for Disney World. Look what happened to him in the end.

Phillip "The Scribe Who Cares'" Hardy

Here's a novel concept; write because to enjoy doing it.

Phillip "The Scribe Who Cares'" Hardy

Michael: great quote!

Phillip "The Scribe Who Cares'" Hardy

John,: you're often correct about that. However, during the summer of 2012, I spent about 3 weeks working on a project and my wife thought I was crazy. A few months later, I got $10,000 for my work. At a time when we really needed the money. So, sometimes, persistence does pay off.

Michael Eddy

LisaB. Yeah - it was like giving myself a present. And Michael S. - agreed - persistence - especially in this business is key. And a good dollop of luck never hurt either. Timing. I think location is for real estate. But being out in LA probably helps as well.

Virginia Shine

I get such joy from making a story "work" that if I never sell it or get anywhere in this business I am ok with that. I work, I raise my son (more work) and I write, the writing is my Friday night essence--what I do for fun and spiritual nourishment. I am trying to put myself out there more since my son is getting older, entering contests, getting involved in my local (not LA) film festival and a writer's group. I'm also planning to get feedback from a paid source that I trust. Hope this helps you in some way and good luck, we can all use some of that

Phillip "The Scribe Who Cares'" Hardy

John: agreed.

Linda Perkins

Lisa, patience is so key with screenwriting (so I've learned). For the past couple of years I've been a finalist in a contest and wondered why not the winner's place, what's wrong with my script...after all I've been revising it over the past 6+ years (hopefully to perfection...NOT!). So, I've become very doubtful and discouraged but I refuse to throw in the towel. That script is in its second round of 'Coverage' and the advise received has strengthen me (along with encouraging words from Stage 32 members). The journey is a very trying one but eventually I'm confident there is a rainbow at the end of my (screenwriter's) journey. Hang in there, girl!

Deborah Dennison

Write a short film and find some filmmakers to get it made inexpensively. Get it into film festivals.

David Kurtz

Selling or optioning a script is up there with winning the Nobel - we couldn't be in a much tougher pursuit -- so, I don't get too discouraged, and along the way look for small victories (like placing very high in the very best contests) and getting a request from a pitch (though the pitch itself becomes the challenge). Personally, I have learned there are pitfalls to avoid, like taking feedback from readers too literally since many readers have no real experience in the business, and different readers can have very different takes on your script. Though reworking/editing a script never seems to end, I've put off investing too much ego and money into pitching until my script feels to be as good as I can make it. And then, it just might not be that interesting! Like others here, I write because I love to write - I write the script of a movie I want to see - I make friends with my protagonists, and know what they will say in a given situation, so writing dialogue flows and feels really creative - characters come to life on my laptop. Once you really learn formatting (old and new style), it is a joy to break some rules. Reading other scripts online is tricky since the original spec, if there was one, is almost impossible to find. But a script like JUNO can be an inspiration. Would I like to sell a script, not only for the money but to have others meet my characters - absolutely. In the mean time, I am loving the process and keeping my powder dry and my money in my pocket as there are many people who want to spend it with questionable credentials. Meanwhile, keep at it, if you love to write.

Doug Nelson

Lisa - did anyone tell you it is gonna be easy?

Lisa Beuk

@ Doug, never has anyone said it would be. :-)

Phillip "The Scribe Who Cares'" Hardy

David: David: What a great post. You’ve beautifully expressed many of my exact sentiments. I’ve often advised people to write the movie they see in their heads. Additionally, I endeavor to draw from the ingrained feelings I’ve had when watching the films of great directors like William Wyler, John Ford, George Stevens and many others. I’ve had several screenplays optioned, as well as been fortunate to get my work in front of industry folk. I’ve also been blessed on the festival and contest circuit and agree with you about reader’s feedback. Recently, I posted an example reader’s feedback from a script I submitted to Bluecat Screenplay contest. One reader stated “I was really surprised by your ending” and the other said “I saw it coming a mile away.” Different strokes for different folks and so on and so on and Scooby dooby do. My primary concern is to retain my original voice as a writer. I will never advise anyone that one way is the right way. I will advise people to read a lot of other people’s scripts; both famous and unknown. Assimilate the things you like and use them in your arsenal of writing tools. In a note to another Stage 32 denizen, I shared that I recently purchased William Goldman’s “Five Screenplays”. Last year, I was blown away by the visuals in a film I viewed called “The Great Waldo Pepper”. Afterward, I tried unsuccessfully tried to locate the script. Goldman included this script in his book. Even though the film was a box office flop, I thought it was visually brilliant. In reading the script, I was amazed at the nearly conversational way that Goldman conveys the narrative. Yet it has the qualities of a scaled down novel. The same goes for seminars, books and writing classes. They are all tools to help you write better. The right way is the one that produces a page turning screenplay.

Doug Nelson

Absolutely correct Lisa. My simple advice is to find out what makes you happiest and then strive to become the world’s best at it – if it ain’t fun, don’t do it.

David Kurtz

Phillip, I had a similar difference in reader's take on a small shtick: I had my hero trip an obnoxious kid who was terrorizing an airport waiting room. One reader was horrified (so I was going to remove it). Another loved it, and even suggested a way to further punch it up! You have to edit yourself, which can be difficult. If and when someone buys my script, I'LL CHANGE ANYTHING THEY WANT. I'm not proud!

Phillip "The Scribe Who Cares'" Hardy

If producers or multiple parties are involved, you need to be ready and flexible to changes to your work. Last week, a producer called me about a script they’re interested in using for a television film. The first thing he said was I need to be ready to work with someone on bits they want rewritten.

Michael Umansky

Never give up, Never surrender! I suggest you join a group on Facebook called "The Inside Pitch". It is moderated by Christopher Lockhart (google him please). Lots of good topics and lots of good people though most are honest and brutal - a necessity in the writer's world. If you have good patience then try scrolling back through as many of the posts as you can - more than likely you'll encounter a discussion, or many, that will prove interesting and beneficial to you.

Lisa Beuk

Thanks Michael U! I will check it out!!

Michael Umansky

For anyone else who might be interested, there is the group FB page (you have to ask to join): https://www.facebook.com/groups/theinsidepitch and this is the link to the monthly podcast of free logline pitches https://www.facebook.com/theinsidepitchpodcast . There are other sites/places where one can pitch a logline for an eval but there is no one else in the biz like Chris Lockhart. Most likely he won't respond to a logline pitch in the group BUT you will get constructive criticism from some of the very active and experienced members.

Peter Chiverton

G'day from Australia Lisa. The great director Scott Hicks once told me to never give up. So, never give up Lisa!! You have lots of people all around the world who are on your side and willing you to succeed! My fingers are crossed for you as I type this. One of the things that keeps me going is to occasionally write short stories, articles and poems and get them published in newsletters and magazines etc. which is a lot easier than trying to get a script produced! Just having someone else read something I have written helps me to keep going. P.S. I'd be happy to read any screenplay you have written. Have you thought about pitching your stuff to Aussie producers? Cheers and good luck! Peter

Shirley Nishimoto

I don't have any IMDb credits just a bunch of spec screenplays. I've been at this since 2009 and what I learned from getting my degree in screenwriting is, like some of the others said, it is a process and you get better the more you do it. You do, however, need to get feedback from people you trust maybe pay a reliable service to do coverage so you know you're on the right track. It's all perception. None of us can see or hear the impression you are making on other people. The only way is to get feedback. Professional writers have their own trusted people. You don't always have to follow their advice but do you really know if anything you write is good unless you let other people read it? One more thing, bad screenplays do follow you around on various data bases. You want to show your very best work that you're proud to put your name on. All the best. Oh and if your lucky enough to find well connected people who will kick your butt to do the work, even better still.

Michael Eddy

Phillip: The quote was from Ruth Gordon in her acceptance speech when she won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for "Rosemary's Baby".

Michelle Hickey

I'm late to this most lengthy and informative discussion. I would like to say I get it, you can feel like it is not going anywhere as we (all of the people here trying to work in this field) create and struggle in isolation. We hear the statistics, the time it takes, the likelihood of success and the amount of people we compete against in competitions and when we compare all that to the effort we contribute it can seem as you describe. We enjoy our creativity, we fight our fear, we work on our craft and hope that it gets the attention of a champion who can launch us to the next step - a paid writing job, representation and another such opportunity. I don't have the ultimate answer for you but I share the concern. If you want to, you will find your way. I believe many of the success stories come down to perseverance (which you have - time you have contributed and heart you have put into your work) and luck. I remember hearing Glenn Mazarra's path at a writer's event (2nd showrunner the walking dead) He was a hospital administrator in NY and he cold called LA for four years. One of the people he spoke to was the Showrunner of white collar, who remembered him from a writing course and gave him his break. We can't plan it in this profession, A + B does not = C. We learn, we write, we network and we persevere. All the best for us all on our quest.

Crystal Diane Stevens

@Steven Sears, Amen! It's not easy for any of us but it's staying in the game that matters most.

Harold Vandyke

I'm a little late to this party... Crystal and John, sometimes you can find cool stuff at the dump. Lisa, hang in there. I think for most of us, writing is the "easy" part -- sit by yourself in a room... It's getting our work out into the market that takes the extra effort.

William Martell

So, I've been saving all of these apple preserves for nothing?

Harold Vandyke

Jake: pen(t)othal. Feel free to correct my typos.

John Totten

Lisa Beuk, my opinion is that a big part of your frustration is that you live in Wisconsin. You can be a great screenwriter waiting to be discovered, but it's probably not going to happen if you live in Wisconsin. The machinery of the entertainment business exists for the most part in New York and Los Angeles. This is where managers, agents, performers, and execs all live and work. For example, I went to two events recently, one red carpet and one not. (Hint, hint, right there.) I met two actors solidly on anybody's A-list, meaning that they were the leads in more than one major studio film. (I'm disinclined to drop names here.) But the better opportunities are with the B-list actors. After being introduced to one as "an amazing screenwriter" (thanks, Oliva!) I gave him two log lines and he asked for the treatments. While his agent wasn't with one of the big four agencies in LA, neither was she overworked, and she could be approachable. You're not going to get those kind of networking opportunities where you live. The other problem is that the barriers to screenwriting are very low. All you need is a typewriter and a vivid imagination. A computer with Final Draft helps, but isn't required. You don't need a college degree (but it helps, too.) So there are a lot of people pumping out scripts. Some write full time, some write in between acting gigs, and some are spec writers with day jobs outside the industry. Regardless, there are no shortage of scripts available to producers, so their need to go outside the industry or especially outside the region for a good script is minimal. The competition is brutal at best, even for those of us who live in Southern California. My suggestion to you would be to save your money, pack your bags (and hard copies of your scripts) and move to LA or NYC. Then get involved in the creative community and let everybody know that you are a screenwriter. Work it hard and see what happens. There's no guarantee that if you go for it that you'll make it, but if you don't go for it, I'll guarantee that you won't make it. Good luck.

Leanne Sampson-Bowden

I feel the same as Lisa, actually more so as she is probably still a lot younger than me. It is amazing how many people who are giving her advise are ones already with success and mostly success due to contacts. Not all of us have that. And especially not the money to enter all these things that keep popping up here every hour it seems. Makes me more frustrated. Joey or whatever your name is on here? Why should we be charged for every course, look see, pitch, talk, meeting, contest etc? Especially when from Australia where the exchange rate puts up these costs even more.

Chas Franko Fisher

You are not alone.

Harold Vandyke

Thou speakest in riddles, Jake.

Krishnapuram Subramania Iyer Nagarajan

I am 67, a retired electrical engineer from ONGC. I have been whistle blower against a looter of public wealth and I don't get Justice even at the highest Court. The symbolic justice Balance as the monogram, emblem for justice appears to weigh Matter that is heavy for justice and APPEARS SURELY NOT ON THE SPIRIT OF JUSTICE. So enjoy your improving your writing skils than the market worth of it. Keep doing it one day it is sure to see the day light. Wish U all the best. K.S.Nagarajan. Chennai, India

Cherie Grant

Who is this Jake everyone's replying to? Can't find his post.

Leanne Sampson-Bowden

Me too. I mean I can't either, Cherrie.

Peter VM

You see, in my view a writer is a writer not because she writes well and easily, because she has amazing talent, because everything she does is golden. In my view a writer is a writer because even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway." Quote from Junot Díaz

Doug Nelson

If writing is in your DNA – then you’re gonna write, period. I see life as one big long learning curve; for some it’s steep, for others not so much. We’re each unique but we’re all on the same trail – we all stumble from time to time but that’s no reason to quit. We all make mistakes but the true learner harvests knowledge from those mistakes, and goes on. There will always be some more advanced than you, just you have progressed further than some. It’s your responsibility to help others as best you can. Unfortunately there are many out there who don’t want help – learn to recognize them and be willing to move on. It’s a hard lesson to learn but spending all day arguing with a fence post is non productive.

Linda Perkins

So true, Doug Nelson.

Bill Costantini

I also agree with Doug's statements and will add this. We're all trying to succeed in some ways - for personal, professional, financial etc. reasons - as writers. As we all should realistically know, the supply of competent writing far exceeds the demand - and I'm not counting the novices. Just from the WGA's own statistics, half of its members reported income from writing in 2015. So that's the reality, and that just includes WGA's members, who would definitely qualify as professionals. So, if in the event some of us writers don't succeed in long-term, professional and financial senses, if one loves writing, then that's what matters. Writing at a mediocre level is easy. Writing at a brilliant level is extremely difficult Love what you do, and you'll always be happy.

Jody Ellis

I feel this way at different times every day, like I am just spinning my wheels. But I can't see myself not writing so I keep on keepin' on. What else can ya do?

Kenya Branch

Writing can be a lonely and frustrating exercise at times, but I write simply because I have to.

Debbie Croysdale

Well said @Doug n Bill. @Lisa Frustration is a feeling we all get from time to time, whether writing one year or twenty years. Let it sweep over you, but not engulf you, changing the mindset to that of a clinging bulldog to your writing. Enthusiasm kills clinging doubts and insecurities. I've just noticed this thread is a year or so old, hope you been writing seven years now?

Al Hibbert

Have you tried any consultants yet?

Jesse Dean

I can relate, try having an online platform "scripped.com" accidentally dump all your work you worked on for three+ years and then politely apologies and blame it on them selling out to the next company that bought and changed it up 'writersduet." Anyway it's been two years now and I finally found that I still am in the writersduet.com system so I am starting over. Just finished my western and might sell out on that one to a Indie filmmaker in Australia. thinking about handing it over to him for $1,000 and I keep my name on the credits and can be bought back as script supervisor. Anyway; yes! it is a long slow road that for some does end up nowhere unless you have material people really want and your style is professionally adapted. I am a good screenwriter and nobody can tell me or any of my close critics different. Living in the woods and not in L.A. or N.Y. is one of my biggest problems getting it out there. So here is what I am going to do. I have decided to write a novel after I finish up this romantic comedy I am working on. Also I have decided for here on out I am going Indie with my work and publishing myself now that we have the social networks and bloggers that make it possible. You do not have to rely on the big publishers anymore; that is a dying system and I thank God! Never give up just keep writing no matter what. maybe we will all get noticed when we are dead when they find us lying on mountains of manuscripts in our studies. :P https://www.facebook.com/scriptwriterpro/

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