I just joined this site tonight so I'll start off by asking a simple question. I'm only 15 years old and I love to write and I have a great interest in movies, so i figured I'd try screenwriting. Im working on my first script now, and I was wondering.....Will it be harder to get recognized in the film industry because of my age and "lack of experience". Will my scripts be looked over just because of those factors or will people focus more on my talent/ideas, instead of my age?
P.S. Don't sugar coat your answers either. Just give it to me straight :D
01-05-2004, 08:45 PM
I'll give it to you straight since you asked. If I find your script on my desk and after reading it I believe that it is worth developing (entering a development phase), I will option it without regards to who wrote it. I don't care if you are 10, boy, girl, or from Paraguay. If it is a great script most wont care how old you are. HOWEVER! Some will! because of several reasons, some of which are related to the additional legal costs associated to optioning scripts from minors, specially if the production company has a contract with the AWG.
My suggestions are simple:
1. keep writing
2. go to college (film school if possible)
3. register everything your write with the American copyright office - even if they are notes on a paper napkin
4. send your scripts to competitions
It is great to think of your career this early, but keep in mind that writers spend lifetimes trying to sell their scripts. Most of them have day jobs. Make sure you have yours too.
01-06-2004, 09:17 PM
Thanks alot for replying, and you can expect to see many more posts from me while I familiarize myself with screenwriting.
01-06-2004, 10:59 PM
I am 18 and my plan is pretty much Explorarts advice. I am in college now, taking photography because I believe it will help me gain some skills I will need in film. I am writing a script now in between working, going to school and the occational nap. And I already know wha my next script will be. At this point it's not my age, but I would rather get my schooling out of the way so I can focus on it 100%, because I just want to graduate from post secondary school, it's just something I want to know I did. If film school is availiable to you I would say GO FOR IT!
01-07-2004, 02:40 PM
Thanks Tine for the input. Congrats. on writing both your scrpits too. and good luck!
01-08-2004, 12:31 AM
wow, there are more young film peeps here than i had realised, I'm 17, writing my first screenplay with my best friend and i plan on going to film school after i finish year 12 this year (man i hope i get in). If this helps, I plan on making each screenplay i write, i don't need a some suit in an office telling me that i'm to young, my advice is, if in doubt, make it yourself! :) who knows the story better than the writer, you will be able to bring exactly what you see to film. And don't let a small budget hold you back, look at Clerks (written and directed by Kevin Smith) that had a tiny budget and it was a great achievment! Sorry it seems i've been rambling but my point is, if you get turned down because of your age or someother similar reason, why not try and raise some money and make it yourself. Good luck with everything man :)
01-08-2004, 09:56 AM
Read everything you can get your hands on. Novels, short stories, scripts, books on scriptwriting, books on writing, non-fiction (some of my best ideas have come from real life), newspapers, etc... I think you need to read because too much of what is coming out of Hollywood is cannibalistic, in that they're re-making and sequeling us to death. Let's see some original stuff. Too many people in Hollywood (where I live) don't read anything and it shows because all they do is make movies that look like some other movie or a combination of scenes stolen from other movies.
Start watching movies to study how they're put together. Structure is very important. Listen to commentary tracks by writers and directors.
Begin writing short scripts to get your style and dialogue down. If you can, make them with your friends. Keep them simple with minimal locations and casts.
Watch "Unbreakable" and see how M. Night sets up the whole movie in the opening scene on the train.
The college route is a good way to go for writers. You get writing experience and a degree. The degree comes in handy for getting a job to pay the bills while you try to break in and get writing jobs or sell your scripts. It will take 3-5 years to get enough writing work to become a fulltime writer unless you're mighty lucky or untalented (in which case it might take 10 years or never)
Finally, get your butt in a chair and write as much and as often as you can. Writing is a discipline and it takes incredible dedication and work habits. Writing is so tough because it's just you and a blank screen, but it can be so great to sit down and just pour your toughts onto the page.
01-08-2004, 01:12 PM
This is what I love about this site. Fimlmmakers helping Filmmakers.
All you youngsters, be grateful for this opportunity (I know you are). I wish I would have had a place like this when I was in my teens.
I'll be 27 in a couple of months, and I learn new stuff here everyday.
As far as advice goes, I would echo what Scott said about watching as many films as you can and reading as much stuff as you can. The advent of audio commentaries on DVDs are just about the best thing for any young filmmaker. You can actully hear Martin Scorsese and other great directors (not Speilberg, he has something aginst commentary) speak on their choices for each of their films. Utilize that.
01-08-2004, 01:51 PM
Great advice Poke!
DVD commentaries are definitely a valuable tool to learn about the process of filmmaking.
01-26-2004, 09:58 AM
In recent BBC survey Lord of the Rings was voted the greatest novel of all time. As it happens, almost all of the top ten had been adapted for film. You could, from this information, work out that most cinema goers don't actually read that much and most film makers do. I whole heartedly support the others, when they say that reading, books, magazines, watching documentaries and reading newspapers is a really good practice for any good writer.
The other thing I usually suggest to writers, is that they become people watchers. When you are out and about, listen to how people actually talk to to each other, look at how people behave, when they are alone, when they are with other people.
The stories we tell are all about being human, the more you understand people, the better a writer you will be.
The other thing to remember is that like any other skill, it takes practice and the more you do it, the better you become. I cringe at some of the stuff I wrote in my teens, but writing it led me to where I am now.
I would also suggest that you don't wait to be discovered as a writer, but take control of your career and make films as well. You'll learn more about what works and what doesn't by trying to produce your own scripts.
Don't get down hearted if your early efforts aren't world shaking, just accept that they are all part of the learning process.
The main thing though is to enjoy it.
01-27-2004, 07:14 AM
Yeah I wish id realized my dream years ago rather than only now but these sites are very helpful, and the most important thing is they make you feel not alone and not the only one whos going nuts when you dont know 'exactly' what you're doing :)
Remember that if you send me a script if i was a producer that your name would appear on top as the writer but you wouldnt even mention your age. The reader wouldnt know unless it was obvious from styles of writing etc.
I've always said this and I'll say it again, age has less to do with skills and evolution than people think, look at Mozart. Who's to say you wont be the next great thing? My advice is think big but make sure you master this craft as best you can, teach yourself and let others teach you and never stop learning because the point is you never do stop.
Good luck to you all
02-09-2004, 11:02 AM
Isn't it true that that in the script business, no one really knows who, or what you are? You have the ability to be nothing more then a name on a piece of paper.