We all know how tough yet rewarding this craft is. Screenwriting. It is the oasis in a desert, even though at times it feels like the desert itself. It can be like mana from the heavens or the sweet ambrosia of the gods. There other times, though. The dark times. When you feel alone…isolated…lost. You can’t find inspiration. You’ve rewritten a script over a dozen times based on notes you were given. Only to discover the person that gave you the notes, now hates your script that you’ve rewritten based on their notes.(wait…what?!)
Where does that leave us? Frustrated? Angry? Ready to give up? Yes, yes, and maybe. Now what? We can’t rage out. I mean you can, but don’t expect to get any more gigs after that. Personally, I’m still waiting for Thunderdome to become a thing. “Two men enter. One man leaves…Thunderdome” Apocalyptic grudge matches set aside there are a few other options at our disposal.
First, find your support group. I’m not talking about a “yes” man. We don’t need that. But someone that you can take out for a bite or a drink and just unload on. We need this person. They are our besties or will be soon enough. They are the underappreciated heroes in our life story.
Second, we need to really look at these downturns and rough times as what they actually are. Moments of growth. That’s it. Plain and simple. They force us to change. To adapt. To write better. The quote of “the sharpest blades are forged in the hottest fires” is true. Cliche yes, but true. These are the challenges that make us look deep into ourselves and ask if what we are going through is worth it. We need that because once you can answer it with a firm “yes” then you become galvanized and nothing will break you. Nothing. Trust me. I would know because I’ve been through it myself and have attained success. Not because I’m a naturally gifted writer or something special. I’ve had to hone my skill over almost ten years of discipline. Even that’s not why I’m here, though. I’ve seen plenty of great writers quit. I’m still here and have the success I have for one reason and one reason only…I…am…tenacious.
Tenacity is why I now have a script (Ships of Spirits) in post production. I will not quit. I will not give up. I keep going no matter what. That’s the attitude you need to have, my friend. Tenacity. Meditate on it. Breathe it in. Sink it into your core.
You need to become like the Terminator. An unstoppable machine. You are out there, writing, you can’t be reasoned with, you don’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear, and you will absolutely not stop…EVER! Your goals in screenwriting are your Sarah Connor. You will pursue her with a relentless intent until you get your greasy mechanical and probably mangled hands on her, and you will not let go.
Feeling empowered? Good. Now get out there and pursue your dreams. And one more thing…
Do it for Skynet, -Geoffrey D. Calhoun aka the T-800