Screenwriting : No quote or metaphor; only this. Screenwriting, what are you in it for? by Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

No quote or metaphor; only this. Screenwriting, what are you in it for?

I hear a lot of reasons about why people write screenplays. There’s the first time screenwriter that’s convinced they’ve created the next great trilogy. There are the young writers that want to move to Los Angeles because they believe contracts for writing films and television shows are growing on trees (or at least in the shrubs). And then there’s older folks like me who have a passion for creating stories and want to see a few of them made into films. Why do you do it? And if success is your goal, what are you doing to make that happen?

G.R. Barnett

I'm in it because I want to tell visual stories. Preferably animated ones, but I write all across the board.

Adam Tester

Well I'm going to be the greatest film-maker to ever write a script so that's my reason.

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

And I wouldn't be adverse to some Doritos/Tostidos and Coke. I love soda.

G.R. Barnett

Me and you both, Phillip! XD

Steven Michael

For the challenge.

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

@Steven: When you say challenge, is that related to your choice of topic or the challenge of seeing your idea through? I know I've challenge myself with tackling subjects like J.D. Salinger and The Birmingham Church Bombing. I'd like to think I can tackle anything. But it doesn't always work.

Steven Michael

Phillip - writing is tough most of the time. I've written non-fiction mostly and direct statements are relatively easy compared to dramatizing. Choice of topic is never a challenge for me - I have too many to address at any one time, and more pop up all the time. Seeing it through, and at least competently, is the challenge. I'm an emotional person, but not overly so. Yet writing stories that evoke raw emotions proves difficult. Plotting and story are my strong points, so I start with those. Injecting emotion beyond what the story's plot gives is step two for me. Sorry for the (possible) hijacking. But this is what I meant by challenging. Chances are good I'm not alone.

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

Steven: No worries on hijacking. When it comes to that subject, I'm a forum Jihadist. Thanks for providing a great answer to my question. Sounds like you my be doing historical and true story type material. That's one of my areas of interest.

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

@Jim: Bank account? What's that like?

Bill Costantini

"But I also have a bank account." (Psst, OP. I think he's trying to tell you that he'd love to be the money man for one of your award-winning scripts. And one of his favorite movies is The Professionals. And you're both Texans. And he has passion. I'm smelling an award-winning movie in the making here, hombres. )

Dan Guardino

Like you Philip I am a little older and I have a passion for creating stories and want to see a few of them made into films. What I am doing about it is producing my own with the contacts I have made over the years as a struggling screenwriter.

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

@Dan: That's a smart way to go. @Bill: The Professionals? Don't get me started. "Go to hell!" ... "Yes ma'am, I'm on my way."

Jody Ellis

What am I in this for? Ultimately I want to make a living as a screenwriter. Any kind of screenwriter, lol! Rewrites or stupid lifetime movies or even Christian garbage like "Fireproof". Whatever they want. With the hope that I can make contacts in the industry that will help me see my children, my darlings, my own screenplays, come to fruition.

Joleene Moody

I've wanted to write in this genre for as long as I can remember. Just finished pitching my first screenplay...SOOOO exiciting! Now I'm in the thick of writing a pilot for a dramedy idea. I'm "old" too. 44 in April. This sh** just flows out of me. I'm also a woman, and it's no secret that old ladies get the shaft in this biz. But I don't let that stop me or hinder me. I just write. :)

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

@Jody: My screenplays are my children too. And some of my kids are rotten. It's good to have a flexible attitude about material. The fourth script I wrote was about Paul the Apostle and designed for a Christian Literary Agent who said it was one of the best bible scripts he'd ever read. Also another secular literary in LA loved it but wanted me to make all the connections with people. So I figured "What do I need him for?" It's a solid, epic bible movie but a hard sell I'm afraid. I envision it being done much like "Jesus of Nazareth", which I consider the gold standard for biblical material. Though I'm a Christian, I can't write faith based material like "Fireproof". I'm far too jaded and curmudgeonly. But I loved writing a bible epic and my Paul's pretty bad ass in many respects. I hope the Lord won't kick my ass for saying that. @Joleene: Forty four? I have shoes older than you. Just sign your name J. Moody on your script and send it out gender neutral. F*#k discrimination against women. I hate that it happens. In Phil's perfect world material is judged on merit alone.

Joleene Moody

I never thought of that. I guess because I've only ever pitched right in front of the executives (via Skype)...so they see my mug. Hell, age shouldn't matter PERIOD. I write better now than I did when I was in my 20's. I feel like experience should count for something.

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

@Joleene: Damn straight you do! And damn right it should!

Aray Brown

It's my passion. Point blank period.

Jody Ellis

@phillip Oh I agree, I love the saying "kill your darlings" and make sure I do just that in every revision, lol. @joleen I'm older than you. My age has never been an issue and no one has ever refused to read my script or shut the door in my face because of my age. I feel like I'm not getting older, I'm getting better. Ya know, fine wine and all that shiz. Haha

Joleene Moody

@jody That's awesome! I honestly won't let it matter. If it's in you, it's in you. And it's in me. :) And you, and you and you, and all of us....

William Martell

Because paper was cheaper than 16mm film. But I'm a writer - I have written short stories and novels and articles and joke for stand ups and all kinds of other stuff. Screenwriting was the first to pay me consistently, and has been my occupation for the past 25 years. If screenwriting dries up tomorrow, I find some other media to tell my stories in.

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

William: now you don't even have to spend much on paper. Last year, I had only three requests for hard copy scripts and even WME is accepting PDF files.Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Jody Ellis

@phillip I've only had one request for a hard copy script so far. Talk about cumbersome and archaic!

William Martell

You also don't need 16mm film and processing and workprints and A&B and all of the other stuff - you can shoot digi. Heck, make a film on your phone. But when I made the decision, it was paper or celluloid.

Jennifer K.Machado

I'm starting out with my first screenplay, and gee, just like Joleene, feel my gender and age have less to do with success being elusive or tangible, and more to do with my mind having consumed so much of life that I'm birthing this baby no matter who applauds. I've already toured the gamut of creative outlets, sung for my supper, waxed poetic, argued my five minutes of wisdom for a cause in many arenas, stood in the gap, and managed a blues band at it's inception, which later opened for BB King...and lately have kicked the comedy couch around the block a few times. Discussing longevity in the business at just one thing, for me, isn't as fruitful by comparison. I will certainly hope to trust the guidance offered. The fact that I'm taking on one more wonderful way to express creatively what we all kick around as an understanding of life, real or imagined, means I'm not dead yet, so the worms of decay can wait their turn. I've got a brilliant story to tell that will keep others wondering what else they can choose for their lives. Money? I will be glad to have two commas in the same statement, and if that's the reward for doing what I love, so be it!

Kody Chamberlain

Although I mostly write comics, I sometimes hit an idea that just works better in film. I tend to push those aside and stay focused on the stories that make for great comics. Still, this one idea has been gnawing at me for quite a while so I decided to give it a go. I'm currently on page 70 of my first feature screenplay and I'm having a blast.

Michael Hager

Because I love to do it; it excites me!

Joleene Moody

@Jennifer LOOOOVVEEE! I just got off the phone doing an interview with a creative coach - and we talked about how creatives like us NEED to shift our gig. It's inevitable. I've always, always loved to write. I've written plays, books, ebooks, web content, and screenplays. At this point in my life, I don't care what's next...as long as I am damn happy doing it.

Baljinder Singh Gill

It's therapy. And I'd like to get paid for it.

Lise Pyles

Hi Phillip, I see you're in Austin. Greetings from a neighbor in San Antonio. I'm also an older writer. The screenwriting bug hit me when an article I wrote (period piece) years ago would not let me rest. The thought that the story deserved to be a movie pushed me into screenwriting. By the time I wrote that script, I was hooked. For me, screenwriting taps into the brain in ways that other writing does not do. I'm less thrilled with marketing, but it brings challenges I try to embrace. In striving for success, I do everything I can think of: I enter contests (AFF semifinalist), co-run a local script group, network online, attend Austin Film Festival and area events, and volunteer on friends' films for the experience and networking. I hope to get a manager and am trying to step up my game with pitching, querying, and completing more scripts. Are you part of the Austin Screenwriters Group? If so, maybe I'll see you in late April. That group is going to do a table-read of one of my scripts. I'm looking forward to it.

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

@Lisa: Thank you for the lovely post. Congrats on the semi-final spot at AFF. I've been a second rounder for the past three years with first drafts. But I aim to give them a little more polished work this year. Please let me know more about this ASG you're speaking of and I'll try to make it there.

Lise Pyles

Congrats on your own excellent results with AFF, Phillip. Second-rounder with first drafts is not shabby! I don't know much about Austin Screenwriters Group (yet), but their website is here: http://www.austinscreenwriters.org/

LeAnn Morris

I've always been a visual person (photography, drawing, etc.) so as Lisa said when "the screenwriting bug" hit me it seemed such a natural way to express myself with words. I think being an older writer gives me a lot more life to pull from which is a good thing. For me writing has just become something I have to do, and sure I would like to see one of my feature scripts produced, but until then I just keep on writing and polishing. I've entered contests both large and small. Made it to the finals in the Nashville FF a couple years ago, which was a lot of fun. The genres I like to write the most are historical and action scripts. I'm a Christian but I don't fit the mold of the Christian film market, which makes it difficult because I definitely want my work to express my faith but in a more thought provoking way. I've written and produced a couple short films and that was a wonderful experience. It helped me learn on a very small scale what it takes to make a movie. I know I've still got tons to learn, but I'm definitely enjoying this journey as a screenwriter. Thanks for starting this discussion, Phillip!

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

Leann: great post.

Steven Harris Anzelowitz

I'm that older guy(63) I just want to write great stories that get made into films. And what am I doing to make it happen? I write every day, I stay on Stage 32, and I learn the business side of the film industry.

Karl M Kelly

The Love of the art. A true passion. Priceless.

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

@Steven: Fortune cookie says "Your relentlessly positive attitude and dedication to your craft will serve you well; and your time on this earthly plane will get you senior discount at most buffets." @Kari: Me too.

Lisa Clemens

For me, it's a combination of two loves: writing fiction and being part of what goes on behind the scenes of films (I've always loved DVD extras!) But to be honest, I am not someone who has aspired to be a screenwriter a long time. I was challenged to try my hand at it by a friend in the industry who needed a writing partner! Now it's all I want to do. I have had a couple of sales, one produced and one that's funded and heading for production. If they do well and I get even more work, I'd love to be able to quit the day job. Not quite there yet though!

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

@Jennifer: Great post. @Anthony: Good answer.

Izzibella Beau

I love creating stories. An inside joke for authors and screenwriters is that we have voices inside of our heads that need to be heard, the characters. I would love to see one of my stories take off and become a hit, but I'm old and wise enough to know that won't happen unless hard work and energy are put into making the dream a reality. Until then, all I can do is to keep trying.

Michael Eddy

I became a screenwriter because I loved writing stories since I was a kid in grade school and was pretty good at it. Always had a ripe imagination. I also LOVED movies since I was a kid and started going to them at a young age (and not just Saturday matinee birthday party sort of stuff). I went to college thinking I'd follow in my father's footsteps and become a lawyer - but when it became time to go to law school - the prospect of 3 more intense years didn't appeal to me (and seeing "The Paper Chase" AT THE MOVIES was a scary proposition as well - not that I ever would have gone to Harvard Law, but you get my drift...). Besides which - I had transferred after my freshman year thinking liberal arts - to go to the preeminent cinema school in the US - and when graduation time came around - because I never had aspirations to direct - or do any of the technical aspects of making a film - and because I still fancied myself as a writer at heart - and thought that was a way to break in (all you need is paper and a pen or a computer or Final Draft and a terrific idea...) that's what I did. And it worked. And as I did it - the notion of starting with 100 blank pages and a story to tell - and getting the words down on paper - was a damned thrill. And still is.

Aray Brown

I love to write, to let my crazy imagination run wild.

Stephen Barber

I wrote in a journal while I was in the Marine Corps (1997) in Camp Lejune, NC. And in my journal I said: "I'm going to write a screenplay someday." When I found that journal and read my entry, nearly 15 years later... I had no other choice but to keep my word! -Turns out, I'm not bad at it and I fell in love with it!

Guillermo Ramon

Escape from reality! Writing, I create the stories I want to create and the characters I like (or hate). I don't read much fiction, so I don't write novels. I watch many movies, so I see the stories i want to write as movies. I know how difficult it would be to have my script made into a movie. I enter festivals and contests to call attention to my scripts. However, for more immediate gratification, I write plays. I enjoy seeing my plays produced. Maybe some day, I will also enjoy seeing my movie scripts made.

Steven Michael

@Stephen - outstanding! Best of everything for you, and Semper Fi.

Stephen Barber

Thank you, Sir!

Martin Wilsey

Money.

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