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Getting Started At Screenwriting

By Expert Author: Gary Jones

My first script was actually written many years ago. I was a great Star Trek fan and wrote my two scripts that you could submit without an agent. One was for Star Trek: The Next Generation (I submitted too late - the show had already commenced the final season and wasn't taking any further scripts...but mine still counted as one of my two!) The other was for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (I don't know why it didn't get accepted, but then I haven't looked at it recently - it was many years ago and I have grown considerably as a writer since then. It may have simply sucked.) I didn't get purchased for many different reasons, but I learned a valuable lesson in writing from those entries.
It is important to get an agent!
Do I have an agent now? Not yet. I didn't pursue writing television scripts any further after those Star Trek one were rejected. I have also written novels and eight screenplays. One of the screenplays is currently being produced...and yet, I still don't have an agent. Is it hard to get one? I guess so, but I've been working so hard getting my stable of spec screenplays written and polished that I haven't actually tried to get an agent yet.
A screenwriting mentor I talked to once told me that it takes about ten years to get enough practice and experience screenwriting before you actually produce a marketable screenplay. I've been writing screenplays seriously for about six years now, and I can honestly say that my product has improved dramatically. From the first day of learning the basics about formatting and software to the more recent lessons in tweaking character and plot, I've continually learned and improved. Now when I submit a screenplay for review, I get some concrete suggestions for improvements and not suggestions to keep my day job.
Through networking and writing groups, I found the team and talent to make my first film. It is currently in pre-production. In fact, I should be working on rewrites right now instead of this blog! But I wanted to impart a few words of wisdom to the aspiring writers out there (whether novel, short story, poetry or screenwriting) - get involved with a local writing group, WRITE every day, and read everything you can about what you want to write (examples and how-to books).
I've posted a few examples of how-to books that I found valuable for screenwriting. I hope you find them useful too.

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