So, it’s that time of year again, Screenwriter friends. We all make resolutions in January about how we want to change certain habits and achieve our goals – so let’s take a look at how that’s going. Especially as creatives, often working intermittently across many projects and trying to make ends meet, it’s hard to keep track and stick to those resolutions. So, in the spirit of Spring, Dušan and Kathryn are here again to talk you through some steps to ensure you keep on top of your screenwriting goals. Don’t panic! Even if you haven’t stuck to them or you’re struggling, we’ve got some nifty ways you can try and beat that writers’ block and make sure you have the best chance of getting your project off the ground.
K: Treatments are key to a great pitch and a fluid writing process. The trick is to make sure it’s not too detailed and spanning a huge amount of pages. But you need it to explain the major plot points, characters, and expands on your tagline. Here’s why getting your treatment right is key:
Why write one?
– Before committing to writing a screenplay, you can get an idea if it’ll work by using your treatment to gain feedback. You can create focus groups to share your treatment and see whether it appeals to target audiences.
– If you’re not a screenwriter yourself, a treatment could help you find your ideal collaboration.
– If you struggle with keeping your story on track when you write, a treatment will help to write it. Once you have a clear idea of your story, and you’ve noted down major plot points and characters, it’s a great framework to use to ensure you don’t get sidetracked.
K: Break the Rules: after reviewing The Coffee Break Screenwriter Breaks The Rules, I’ve learnt a lot about the value of questioning your screenwriting ‘norms’. If you’re struggling to come up with new ideas or you’re stuck at a certain point, why not try changing something that you take for granted? Whether it’s a character’s age or gender, or questioning the character arc you had decided on, these factors can completely change your narrative.
Saying that however, here comes a time when less really IS more. Changing one or two key things can change your film completely, so don’t feel pressured to change everything in order to try something new. Think about your narrative choices and make sure you’re making them for the right reasons. In a pivotal year for equality in film, and with the rise of movements like #TimesUp, it’s important to question the norms we are presented with in cinema, so why not try changing your perspective to create new and innovative stories. Why not attend our Screenwriting from a Feminine Perspective course and see how you can change the landscape of women in cinema in your writing process?
K: Practice your pitching skills. Whether its to your friends, your family, or even your mirror. Take note of your own body language and how you conversate during the pitch. Did you know Raindance runs a pitching competition called Live! Ammunition where you can brush up on your pitching skills and also win prizes?! Keep an eye out for the next date. If you’re usually uncomfortable speaking in public, you could try taking some acting classes and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Only by challenging yourself will you know what you can achieve (Butt, Kat, 2k18). Plus, you’ll probably find future pitches much easier if you’re used to being in front of an audience.
Read more from Dušan here.