Making that Breakthrough

December 11th, 2010 by Ron

The Script Blogger

Making that Breakthrough

Yep, without saying it that’s what most are looking for.

But how do you get your foot in the door?

Marketing helps and is one area that many writers don’t think about when they first start to write.

Who will read my wonderful screenplay, who will buy my original script?

Whether your ambition is to act, write, direct, produce or be a different part of the collective of people that make films, it’s not easy.

Of course it’s not.

If it was, you would have achieved nothing, even if you just get through the door, come second in a competition or get your script in front of a major producer. If it was easy, what would you have accomplished?

The first thing to realize is that you get out what you put in. All energy has an equal force and the more energy you put into your shoulder the easier the door will open.

Many people sit back at home and dream of the phone call, or the email saying, I loved your script.

Or maybe a fax saying, “I saw your short at so and so, how would you like to direct my next feature”.

It ain’t gonna happen that way and the sooner you realize that the quicker you can make real progress.

We all know that famous question, “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?”

“Practice”.

Nobody is going to give you a break unless you earn it. Many of the big Stars in Hollywood were not the overnight successes although they may appear to be. Many did commercials, worked in Soaps, were extras; some even had small roles in Law and Order.

Most of the established writers worked for years before an assignment from a Studio, or an Indy feature placed them in the spot light.

Ridley Scott and Alan Parker made TV commercials for many years before moving into film.

But nearly all of the successful actors, writers and others became successful because of their own hard work, skill, knowledge and partly through a network of contacts.

There’s that network thing again.

You often hear of luck, but most of us know you make your own luck and part of making luck happens for you through a contact, by someone who is part of your network.

If no one knows of you or your work how can they ask you to do something.

Getting that all important break will only happen if you are seen to be worthy of receiving it.

So you have to be out there, selling your skills or wares, as a writer submitting scripts and accepting rejections as part of the growth. No doubt it is the same for actors attending auditions and never hearing another word.

Directors submitting their short for a festival and finding it is not included in the organizers selection.

Disappointments and rejections are part of the journey to success. What makes the difference is the commitment to succeed, the willingness to get involved, the professionalism projected and most of all the desire to be a winner.

If you want to be one of the winners get with the agenda and set yourself targets, turn your dream into an ambition (there’s a big difference between the two), be prepared to take criticism and always keep moving forward.

Reviews on sites like Zoetrope and TriggerStreet can help, if you can get past your ego.

Believe in yourself and others will believe in you and don’t over stretch yourself, know what you can do and what you can’t.

When you over stretch you lose balance and then you are as likely to fall on your face rather than get the breakthrough.

If you seriously want to be in the movies in a serious way, get serious about it and make your breakthrough happen, don’t wait for it.

If you wait, it will never come. Breakthrough your own barriers to create your own breakthrough, it is worth the effort.

Sounds great and like most things on paper looks easy. I’ll just pop down to the mart and get myself a network.

Opps, they’re out of them.

So how do you buy a network, you don’t. You work at it everyday by marketing yourself, not your work but you. People buy from people they know, it is you that they will be dealing with.

Think product, your scripts are your product you are the Brand. So get yourself on the shelf, be seen on web sites, use your own name, attend functions and festivals, write, phone, email do what ever it takes for people to know of you and that YOU write screenplays.

Competitions, various methods such as Visual Pitches, web sites all help, but in truth the person who moves your career forward the quickest is you, by marketing yourself.

When I first started I had no idea what to do with my first script. After searching the web for a couple of hours I finally decided to post a script on InkTip.

Four months and three more scripts later, I received my first assignment, then my second, quickly followed by my first option, followed by a script editing job.

Since then I have developed a network of over 400 contacts in the industry, through various web sites, attending festivals and generally being a pest on the phone.

Now my network keeps me busy and employed, but most importantly it gives me hope and confidence that I made the right decision in becoming a scriptwriter.

5 responses to “Making that Breakthrough”

  1. As a newbie with big dreams and goals- thanks for the great advice. I’ve got some work to do…

  2. Stofer says:

    You make a lot of good points on this blog. Keep up the great work.

  3. Hi, Ron!
    Following your advice…allow me to introduce myself. -Mariann

  4. Mom2JDJT says:

    Hey, great post, really well written. You should post more about this.

  5. Mark Gilvary says:

    As Always Ron … Inspiring! Keep Up The Good Work!

    Regards,

    Mark Gilvary – http://pro.imdb.com/name/nm0020804/