How to Become the Most Productive Screenwriter You Know

It’s Valentine’s Day, which means that instead of working your butt off writing your heart out (now there’s a mixed metaphor to be reckoned with!) you’ll probably be making sweet love all day…or being upset because you aren’t.

But tomorrow will come, and with it the siren call of your chosen profession – writing for TV, or films, or even publication. Here’s a Valentine’s Day gift to get your going at en even higher level than you’ve been at so far:

by Script Reader Pro

On the one hand, you’d like to write more to finish that screenplay, TV pilot or treatment (or start one, for that matter) and begin making headway toward your writing goals.

On the other hand…

Most days pass in a blur. You’re dead tired after getting home from work. Then it’s family time. Or you feel like crashing in front of the TV. Or you promised to go see a work colleague’s band play across town. And on and on.

There always seems to be something in the way of just sitting down and writing. Well, that’s about to change.

In this post, we’ve collected together our absolute favorite forty-eight resources that will teach you how to find time to write and create the ultimate writer’s lifestyle—enabling you to truly kick-start your screenwriting career.

We’ll cover hacks on how to find time to write, how to write more efficiently, tips to improve productivity for writers, health, fitness and much more.

In other words, everything you need to develop the optimal conditions in your life so you can give your screenwriting goals the best possible chance of succeeding. So let’s get to it.

Get Inspired to Write All Over Again

Sometimes the reason why we don’t write as much as we’d like is simply because the enthusiasm has dried up a little. After several rejection letters or lukewarm feedback on your scripts, it’s easy to get disheartened.

With that in mind, here are six resources you can use to rediscover your writing mojo….



How Does the Script for ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ Compare to the Film?

The process of transferring a script to the screen always fascinates us here at TVWriter™, and a new addition to YouTube’s “channels” is right up our alley. For example:

We know this is a writing site, and regular visitors know how much we preach about the importance of the teleplay or screenplay before and during production. And yet, our informal survey of TVWriter™’s minions showed that 9 out of 10 thought that the improvisation on set was what made this film the classic it is. (Well, that we think it is.)

What do you think?

More from Script to Screen HERE

Marty Scorsese on What Makes a Great Screenplay?

THE BIG SHAVE by Scorsese AKA the best student film ever made

Let’s face it, “What makes a great screenplay?” is flat out the question all writers need answered. (Not the same as “want answered” because that question would be, “How do I get an agent?”

For the record, our answer to the agent question is, “Talk to your friends who are agented and see if they recommend theirs…and make sure their reason is that, “They’re selling me and my work!”

As for the great screenplay answer, well, who better to hear from on this matter than the writer/director/critic who has given us so many of them? Take it away, Mr. Scorsese:

Thirteen minutes of video that are worth more than their weight in gold.

From Yellow King Film Boy.

The Founder of The Black List Speaks

Did Franklin Leonard start a revolution when he created The Black List blog? Opinion on that may be divided, but the site definitely opened a whole new world of opportunity for new screen and TV writers, for which we at TVWriter™ are grateful.

Here’s a look into how it began:

More Tedx Talks

You’re over 40 and want to become a Hollywood Writer? Read this and let yourself smile.

Words of wisdom – and encouragement – from a Hollywood writer who himself is, erm, over forty: The one and only William Martell:

by William Martell

There was a fellow on a screenwriting board I frequent who was lamenting ageism in Hollywood. He was past 40, and believed that was the reason for his lack of success in the biz. As a guy who is also on the wrong side of 40, I asked him a couple of questions about where he had encountered the age problems.

He thought he wasn’t getting a fair read because his scripts featured protagonists dealing with adult issues like mid-life crises and male pattern baldness and divorce and being laid off from the job you’ve been working at for 25 years.

Though stats say the over-35s are the fastest growing segment of the movie audience, movies are still the place where kids go on dates. So that 15-25 year-old high school and young adult audience is usually the target for films. They are the regular film goers – look at the people in the ticket line with you on Friday night.

You’ll see a lot of high school kids on dates or in groups. Hey, they may get their money from their parents, but who buys the tickets and makes the choice? Those 15-25 year olds! They pick the film. If you just look at the numbers, you’ll find that 15-25 year olds are the core cinema audience. They go every weekend. There are reasons for this – they are dating age, they don’t have kids keeping them at home, they have more disposable income.

Older folks go to the cinema infrequently – usually for some event film like MAN OF STEEL or AVENGERS or the fall and Holiday films that tend to skew older. They are not there every single weekend like a 15-25 year old – that age group is where the money is.

Even the most popular holiday Oscar buzz films that attract adult viewers don’t make much money – THERE WILL BE BLOOD, a brilliant movie, only made $40 million. Total. Last year TRANSFORMERS 3 made over $64 million in its first week.

Yes, every once in a while a film aimed at adults, like this weekend’s #13 movie BEFORE MIDNIGHT, , but most films are aimed at those 15-25 yerar olds who went to see MAN OF STEEL… and go to the cinema almost every weekend. They are the regular audience for the movies we write.

But wait, you cry! You don’t go to the cinema – too many of those damned noisy kids – you watch movies on DVD on your massive plasma screen TV! Though I am always first to note that DVD makes more money than cinema, it is still largely an *after market* for films that debut in the cinema.

Hollywood doesn’t know how to gauge what films will do well on DVD and did poorly at cinemas – and that’s partially because most movies that do well in the cinema also do well on DVD. So the ones that are DVD hits and cinema flops are the exceptions.

Even if we just look at movies aimed at older adults (as Hollywood sees us) we still have a problem – some are hits, others complete flops on DVD. Hollywood is all about *investment* in movies – and they want to invest in a sure thing. Movies that did well in the cinema are a sure thing on DVD. Making a movie that will probably flop in cinemas but *might* make money from older folks watching them in their home cinemas?

How do we know they aren’t just going to watch LOST or 24 or some TV movie? TV movies are usually aimed at an older audience… you know, our age. Hollywood tends to make films for the cinema aimed at people who regularly go to the cinema. If most men wear size 10 shoes, you can make all of the size 5 shoes you want but you aren’t going to sell as many. You can make all of the size 15 shoes you want, and you aren’t going to sell as many. So Hollywood focuses most of their production on the people who buy tickets every single week.


I told this writer that I though we had the advantage over those punk kid writers. See, we’ve been kids! They have never been over 40. We can write about kid characters AND their parents! And mine our own experiences. We can write about Jim in AMERICAN PIE (I was once just like him) *and* Jim’s dad (I’m fighting desperately not to become him now). You’re as young as your characters feel. There’s no reason you have to think like a 40 year old in this business… in fact, it helps if you don’t.

I go to the cinema every Friday night with a group of friends and I’m, um, twice the age of most people in that target audience. But I don’t *think old*. The stories I write are for the 15-25 year old in all of us. You don’t need to write about high school kids – most films are about adults. But not adults dealing with male pattern baldness and how to take care of their aging parents and that second mortgage you took out just before housing prices took a nose dive. Harrison Ford is an old man, the last INDIANA JONES movie was *still* made for 15-25 year olds… and the 15-25 year old in all of us. The last INDIANA JONES movie was written by a guy closing in on 50….

Read it all at Bill Martells great site – Script Secrets