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Screenwriting : When did you decide to become a "Screenwriter", How old were you? by Alen Bekrić

Alen Bekrić

When did you decide to become a "Screenwriter", How old were you?

Everyone has their own story, right?

I've been doing screenwriting for a year and a half, (I was seventeen when I started).

Is that weird? Some people are surprised, I don't know. I believe that was a good step?

What's your story?

When did you start writing and Have you ever stopped writing?

Roberto Dragonne

I decided to become a screenwriter at 42. Before this I wrote three books. I'm still writing scripts.

T.L. Davis

I was probably about 32, I had some novels out, was writing magazine articles and other freelance, some ghostwriting projects and a friend asked me to help him with a screenplay, because he had connections in the film and music industry. I studied up and helped him. Then, on a book tour I ran into a name actor and we collaborated on a screenplay. He sent me a few scripts with ICM covers and I studied those and wrote a script that got optioned. Then, I let it die out when that project cratered, because he got a starring role in a network show. Didn't pick it back up again until a decade or so had passed.

Dan Guardino

It was a longtime ago when I had a story to tell and discovered I couldn't write a novel to save my life. I accident I stumbled across a how to write a screenplay book at a bookstore. So you might say I became a screenwriter quite by accident.

Nathan Smith

I've always been obsessed with movies for as long as I can remember. At about 9 or 10 I would make short movies with my friends with my dad's video camera, it was mostly improv stuff before I learned more about scripts then I began writing them for my friends. In middle school I switched to writing short stories, in high school it was writing plays we could do in drama class and I had planned to go to film school but when that all fell apart I stopped writing for many years and finally came back to it about 3 years ago and now I'm giving it my focus again with screenplays.

Doug Nelson

I've been involved in Producing/Directing/Shooting (and other kind of crew stuff) since the mid '60s when I was much more interested in being a ski bum. I sold a tv sitcom episode in '72 and spent a couple of years in a tv writer's room. But since I had an Engineering undergrad and an MBA I thought I'd go for a real Profession - hey, it worked. I retired at 58 but didn't discover screenwriting for real until I was about 65. I've had some success. I've been blessed in many ways.

Craig D Griffiths
  1. I had loved film my entire life.

    I had helped my daughter with her films and looked at it as a new challenge. As long as you don’t want to take shortcuts. And are willing to accept that it is all up to you, it is a great thing to do.

Cannon Rosenau

Great discussion! This is a witness and testimony and a short story, long:

Always wrote stories for my friends growing up (what a nerd). Went to Paralegal school at community college because then "I'd have weekends off and could write novels."

Got married, had 4 babies in under 6 years (goodbye 20s) while working as a paralegal. Sure had plenty of time to not write.

Decided to go back to school, originally for law school, but first needed to complete my BA. I enrolled in Regent U for my Bachelors in Christian Ministry (because I like the subject but only needed something to transfer to the law school).

When it was time to apply for law school, I thought it would be too depressing and signed up for Regent's MFA in scriptwriting instead. All the courses looked so fun (and they were)! But true to my Christian Ministry degree I prayed that I would fail the entrance exam (and all practice tests indicated that I would fail as a horrible test taker). I didn't.

I'm so happy I went down this path. After this lengthy post, I'm not so sure you're so happy I'm here! Bwahaha. You're welcome.

Erik A. Jacobson

I started a company making posters and discovered I had a gift for picking locations, cameras, and photogenic models. Soon I was selling in all 50 states plus overseas.Then a buddy and I decided to make a low budget film together. The "script" was a joke, terrible... I had no clue what I was doing. I rented a beach-front pad in Laguna Beach, talked a rock star's hood-ornament wife into starring, and began shooting my little film. One day I spotted an actual script one of the actors had left on the set and started reading it, asking myself "A script? What's the big deal?" Boy, was I wrong! It's been a long learning experience ever since! (even though the film made money)

Nick Assunto - Stage32 Script Services

I was a movie addicted child, and would often fake sick to stay home from school and binge-watch films that my grandparents who lived upstairs had taped off of TV or HBO. I was 10 years old, I stayed home possibly actually sick this time from school, and Army of Darkness was playing on the USA Network. That was kind of the moment when I knew I wanted to make films.

Jason Mirch

Such a great question Alen Bekrić! I would say growing up I loved film and television (and History and Literature - hated Math), and by the time I reached High School I knew I wanted to "make that". But I also had no idea what that meant. And then eventually one realizes how hard it is to actually write WELL and then get something made. And that is when the real love starts...

Rosalind Winton

I started writing my screenplay at age 56. It's a story I've wanted to tell from when I was 11 years old. I tried writing it as a novel a few times, but for some reason I can't put my finger on, it never worked out. I joined Stage 32 about five years ago, but I joined in order to drum up clients for my literary editing business, but I found something completely different. A means to tell the story, which is about my Great Grandparents, so I gleaned everything I could from this site and learned how to write a screenplay. I started writing it two years ago and I am still developing it, it's been through various script writing services, received great feedback and I'm at the stage where I will be pitching it in the next few months.

Jim Boston

Alen, I got the screenwriting bug at age 23...when I was still in college.

Taren Pineset

I didn't start screenwriting until college roughly 2016 I was 20. And I didn't feel confident enough to call myself a screenwriter until January 2020. I felt that I wasn't where I wanted to be so i didn't deserve the title. I'm still not where I want to be, but I'm on my way, and I think knowing that gave me the confidence that I'm not an impostor.

Seraphima Nickolaevna Bogomolova

Hi Alen, I think you starting your screenwriting at 17 was a very good decision. It is your unique timeline that you should follow not what others say or seem to be surprised at. Myself, I fist had no idea I had a cinematographic style in my writing. I always loved books, read a lot but also enjoyed watching movies and going to the theatre. My story goes like this - (this is the text of my story of becoming screenwriter taken from my post that I did on my site, but I am copying it here))):

'Book Cum Screenplay or a 'Tall, But Not Dark, Stranger'

My first ever screenplay was a book or I thought it was, although everyone else said it was not. Prior to writing my book-cum-screenplay I had not written anything except some press releases, advertising copies, and business contracts and letters, the tasks I excelled at, I must say.

The idea of becoming an author came by chance, even by fate. In 2010, I was in New York, visiting. Being interested in digital publishing, especially when applicable to life style magazines, I dug into a list of relevant meet-ups and chose the one that sounded more appealing and not too techy. There, while mingling with New York media crowd in a cramped void of fresh air bar, I unintentionally stepped on a toe of a tall, but not dark, stranger. The stranger was holding an iPad in his hands. His eyes glowing with excitement, he was explaining something to someone from some publishing house.

The urgent matter of his toe being stepped on made the stranger divert his tireless tech savvy attention to me. And not in vain, for I got fascinated with his iPad. Looking at it, I decided to buy one for myself before leaving New York.

The iPad aside, the name of ‘the tall, but not dark, stranger’ was Robert. He turned out to be a Scottish national with some aristocratic roots who had lived the past 30 years in the USA. Almost Lord Byron, but not quite. Having found a common ground, we exchanged mobile numbers. Before my leaving the Big Apple with an iPad in my suitcase, I met Robert once for a drink in another New York bar.

Since then, we had kept in touch by exchanging emails. Robert was into synchronicities, practical wisdoms, and occasional philosophy. He shared his views on life with an openness of a true American citizen. In my turn, I told him about books I had read, travels I had done, and adventures and excitements I had faced in the uber-modern Dubai of the mysterious UAE – my new residence place.

Some months later, on the Christmas Day of 2010, while sitting at my desk and contemplating the stretch of the turquoise sea before me, I received from Robert an email which served as a divine kick to my creativity. In his email, he was writing about a dream he had recently had. The dream portrayed a woman and a man having a one-million-dollar idea for a book – a thriller. They were also writing the book together. Unfortunately, Robert could not remember what exactly that idea was. Having read his email, I took his dream as a sign and declared in my reply that we could start writing that ‘one-million-dollar thriller’ straight away.

Taken aback, Robert tried to make a quick u-turn, saying it was just a dream and maybe, most probably, had nothing to do with reality for the writer he was not. But it was too late. Kicked into action, I had already started writing the first page of that ‘one-million-idea book’. The main character, as her name, came to me easily – Angela Moreaux.

The opening scene, too.

In my mind’s eye I vividly saw a silver Bentley whizzing like a bullet through the snowy Moscow night. The Bentley was whizzing no more no less towards a night club where an elegant, tall dark stranger - an aluminium tycoon - was seated at a table. The name of the tycoon came as if by magic too – Kazimir Stankevitch.

With such a beginning, my tall, but not dark, Scottish aristocrat from New York was deprived of a heroic role. So, he resorted to a secondary one of a character he was responsible for – a certain Juan MacBride. The creation was purely his own and had some mixed features and traits, partly taken from himself and partly from some novels he had read.

Being a romantic at heart, or so he believed, Robert projected his romantic notions and ideas onto the character who in turn projected them onto Angela Moreaux whom Robert uncunningly thought was me. But I was not her and her was not me. Angela Moreaux, as she was depicted in my first book-screenplay, was the character of her own free will and independent life. She came to me out of universal subconscious and, except some minor details, had nothing to do with me or my life, as, in fact, all other characters in the book. Apart, of course, from Juan MacBride.

In the course of our writing, Juan MacBride had become a stumbling stone as much as an obstacle both, for myself and for Robert. The character seemed to have the life of his own which he imposed onto lives of other characters, constantly messing up the story and plot line.

Soon, it became apparent that Robert as well as his character had become uncomfortable with and in the book and wanted to get out. By that time, which was six months down the line, it also became clear that the ‘one-million-dollar-idea’ of a book was not working and my and Robert’s writing styles are not compatible either. To my mind, the flowery writing of Robert was very much 1980s and rather passé. And my swoosh cinematographic style framed into episodes of 2-3 pages was not to Robert’s taste. So, we had parted, on a bad note. Juan MacBride was mysteriously killed and cemented into a wall of some villa on the outskirts of Moscow.

With Robert and Juan MacBride out of frame, I had finished my first book-screenplay alone and called it ‘My Trickster’ (re-written and turned into a screenplay 'A Tricky Game' - 2018). The trickster, of course, was Angela Moreaux, but everyone else in the story was no less of one.

I self-published the book and everyone who had read it said it was not a book but a screenplay, for they ‘watched’ it as a movie, not ‘read’ it as a book. It was a huge compliment, but at the time I was bitterly disappointed for I genuinely believed that I was writing a book or was it my ‘tall, but not dark, stranger’ who thought so?

Peter Dowd

I decided to write movies when I was 12 years old. I became a huge Tarantino fan and used to buy his scripts from Border's bookstore and read them obsessively. Over the years writing has come and gone at times, out of frustration, self-doubt, but I also tried music for a while. I think we're always trying to figure out our story, the one we need to tell.

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