I had a great conversation with Richard Walter on yesterday’s edition of The Script Adventurer!. He was his usual entertaining, anecdote-filled self. (Missed it? Never fear – it’ll play again Sunday at 7PM PST on radioslot.com)
There were two things in particular he talked about I thought were extremely important for any screenwriter to keep in mind.
When asked what was the most important thing any writer should know, his answer was Move The Story Forward. If you have an interesting story that really flows and holds the reader’s attention, then your script is already that much more ahead of others.
Scene A should lead into Scene B, which leads to Scene C, and so on and so on. But if Scene R can fit between B and C, and not disrupt the flow, then it shouldn’t have been Scene R in the first place, or maybe R needs a serious rewrite.
The other thing was that unless you want to be part of series television, it’s not absolutely necessary to live in Los Angeles to be a screenwriter. In fact, he added that it may even be an advantage: you’re not constantly surrounded by people in the industry. I cited Nick Schenk of Minneapolis, who wrote GRAN TORINO.
A big reason for this shift in thinking is the internet. Query letters by email. Scripts attached as a pdf. A ton of resources and groups available online. I’ve connected with writers around the world via Twitter, which at times seems completely mind-blowing. I could ask for feedback on a script and get responses from just about anywhere.
With a solid script and an internet connection, there’s no stopping you.