Tips for aspiring screenwriters
We are a nation of extraordinary stories, and producers and content providers are always looking for good, skilled writers to craft these into the medium of film. The question is where does an aspiring screenwriter start? Here are some of my top tips:
- I would advise you see as many great films as possible, and get your hands on the scripts. I saw Citizen Kane in New York many years ago, and then was fortunate enough to be able to sit alone in a private room in the New York City library with one of the original drafts. It was an eureka moment for me. To realise that a great film began with these scraps of typewritten paper, with all its pencil marks and typos.
- Read as many great books as you can. And South African and African writers. That’s essential. I think we could build a unique film culture. If we look at what young African artists are doing in fine arts for example, the freshness and vision, it’s very inspiring. There is no reason why film and television shouldn’t do the same.
- Go and see as many good plays as possible, and watch all the great tv series that are coming out. It really is the golden age of television writing.
- Get into the habit and routine of writing. You need a lot of stamina to be a screenwriter because the deadlines can be punishing. So practice sitting down and writing for long stretches.
All About Writing has devised a course, How to Write a Screenplay, to teach the essential elements that make up a screenplay, whether for the big screen or television. Suitable both for beginners, who have never written before, and writers working in other mediums, it is substantive enough to satisfy screenwriters who are “stuck” or who want to refresh themselves on the basic techniques. Click here for more information.