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Ed Solomon @ed_solomon
, 16 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
Dear New Screen & TV writers:
If I were to hashtag this thread, it'd be #ThingsYOUwillDoThatWillKeepMEworking. And no matter how much I stress that these things can help you make serious strides, you still won't do them. So I don't mind telling you, cuz my job'll still be safe.
Because here's the reality: EVERYONE WHO HIRES WRITERS WOULD RATHER HIRE *YOU* THAN ME. This is fact. You're cheaper. You're (usually) younger. You have (at least, you'd *better* have) a fresh voice. YOU are what they YEARN for: a "discovery" they can hitch their wagons to.
And here's more good news: This is by far the best time in decades to be starting out as a writer. It's exploding. So why, then, if all this is the case, is it so damn hard to break in? Because - and NOBODY likes to hear this: your work isn't as good as you think it is -- YET.
But you're in good company. Because NONE of our work (mine & my peers' included) is as good as we think it is - especially when we first finish it. And not only that: we aren't any good at even knowing how to ASSESS whether it's working or not.
You'd THINK you'd improve at this with time, & some do. But most.. don't. In fact (& here's MORE good news!): most get WORSE. Why? The reasons are too much for this thread (hint: it has to do in part with the idea of working "smart" vs working "hard"). BUT...
This thread is for new writers - you know, the people I'm trying to keep from taking my jobs. So here's Volume 1 of things that you will totally ignore, otherwise known as #ThingsYOUwillDoThatWillKeepMEworking:
1. YOU WILL REFUSE TO ACTUALLY HAVE YOUR SCRIPT READ OUT LOUD. You will somehow think that what the words sound like INSIDE your head will be the same as what they sound like OUTSIDE your head. This will do wonders for my further-my-own-career-at-everyone-else's-expense agenda.
You'll be shocked how differs from what you expected. What dragged, what was over-explained, what wasn't clear. Use the best actors you can find, & have OTHERS (ie, strangers) in the room watching. THEIR eyes change how YOU see it, even before they even open their mouths w notes.
2. YOU WON'T ACTUALLY MOUNT YOUR OWN SCENES. Seriously - just try this (you won't!). PUT SOME ON THEIR FEET. If you thought hearing it read aloud changes things, this is changing things on STEROIDS. My work evolved exponentially when it got staged. It's HUGE.
But I can relax, cuz your anal desire to keep the whole thing in your head - where it's all safe & cozy - will be one of the biggest advantages I have against you. THIS IS A PERFORMANCE MEDIUM that takes place in 3 dimensional space and moves through time.
Scenes have OBJECTIVES, INTENTIONS, drive, purpose. Mounting some makes you have to deal with WHY things happen & WHERE. It's not about the battle of IDEAS, it's about the battle of HUMAN WANTS & DESIRES. Direct some yourself w others in it. ACT in some w someone ELSE directing.
Then really dig deep to grok why some scenes worked & some didn't. Pry the director, the actors, BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF. Sometimes it's shamefully embarrassing how badly the scenes go when on their feet. But man, do you learn. Often, for me, I learn just how much I overwrite.
3. YOU WON'T TAKE AN ACTING CLASS. Do this, even if you're the worst actor ever & even if you're scared shitless. (Your not doing this will allow me to continue to clothe my children for another year or two.) Knowing how to be INSIDE your scenes will transform how you write.
We often forget we're writing CHARACTERS (ie, fully rounded HUMANS) for ACTORS to INHABIT & EXPRESS. You have to know how an actor thinks. You have to LOVE how an actor works. You can't be intimidated by them. YOU MUST EMBRACE ACTING & ACTORS. You must understand their process.
The point being: Get it out of your brain & into the world, where it's MEANT to be. Then step back - observe it - & THEN start to work w it.

I rest knowing I could scream this from the roof & no one will do this. Which I guess, at the end of the day, I have to thank you for. :)
I can’t personally vouch for this book (because I haven’t read it, though others have spoken well of it), but it purports to do this for novelists.…
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