THREAD: I've seen a few threads on this topic bouncing around lately, so thought I'd share my experience.

Three @austinfilmfestival's ago, I was at one of those roundtable things and received some wisdom from a screenwriter that totally changed my life. This is what she said:

1. Keep it SMALL. ~5 people.

2. Meet EVERY WEEK to workshop each other's writing.

3. Everyone submits at least ONCE A MONTH.

4. SHUT UP AND LISTEN while you're getting feedback.


5. Don't go to draft until the GROUP APPROVES THE OUTLINE.
Then, she delivered THE CLINCHER, which imprinted itself immediately onto my brain...

She told us that FOUR out of the FIVE writers in her group, which had been doing this for the past nine years, had WON The Nicholl.
So of course, I immediately went back to MY writer's group, which at the time was a group of aspiring writer friends who met every other Saturday or so to drink beer, and asked if they wanted to do this. Everybody agreed that it was probably time to up-level.

And so, we did.
Since AFF 2018 we have been meeting 3x a month to review each other's work. In that time, we have workshopped 140 pieces total, from pitches to pages.

We don't do everything exactly as outlined above, but we've developed a rhythm and methodology that works for us.
But most importantly, we're consistent.

We've met during vacations, from different time zones, after 14-hr days on set, from the hospital waiting room after the birth of a child, and through an entire fucking global pandemic.

If someone can't make it, we reschedule.
Over the past 2+ years, this group has become my brain trust and dev team. They know what kind of stuff I write, understand my strengths and weaknesses, and see all my writing before anyone else does, from the malformed fetal idea blobs I usually start with to the finished thing.
Working with other people regularly has improved my craft, made me faster and (hopefully!) made me better in a room.

But most of all, it has helped me mentally...
I went from writing in a vacuum and being constantly worried that my dreams were delusional to being a repped writer who is pitching original ideas, getting paid to write (a little!), and starting to get put up for staffing, etc. Other people in my group are on similar journeys.
I have by no means "broken in" but things feel possible now and that feels dope. Forever grateful to that AFF screenwriter who inspired me to get my shit together!

So if you're thinking of starting a writers group...DO IT! DO IT AND BE HAPPY! (not advice. just enthusiasm.)
For the people wondering who the AFF screenwriter was....


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More from @shrutesnladders

28 Sep
THREAD: IMO most screenwriters don’t name their files in a useful or even consistent way. Weird considering how neurotic we are about screenplay format.

Good filenames can save you SO MUCH heartache, esp when you’re returning to old projects or sending stuff out.

My method:

This is a contained, informative file naming convention that organizes your work for you.

I chose this particular order bc, when sorted alphabetically, I want my projects to self-organize by NAME, then PROJECT, then DATE, and then VERSION
So, for example, if I’m writing a new treatment for my TV pilot “Cool Name” the filename would be:

Shruti_Cool Name Pilot_200928_Treatment
Read 13 tweets
2 Aug
How did you guys learn structure?

Found these coffee-stained scripts today when cleaning! I learned how to write TV scripts by writing specs. Before speccing a show, I would watch every episode 2-3 times, summarize them, then get three scripts and break them down like so: ImageImageImage
Then, I'd try to write a spec that matched the show tonally and story-wise, but also structurally. It was total overkill, but I feel like I really get 1/2 hour structure now while I still struggle with 1-hr because I never specced them!
Okay, since some people are finding this helpful, here's an example of a slightly more sophisticated script breakdown from when I started doing them in Excel. Image
Read 4 tweets
9 Feb 18
just thinking about all the times someone told me I was pretty "for an indian girl" and I was like "thanks?" rather than "damn, that's really racist!"
comments like that used to feel innocuous, but now they feel indicative of how skewed society's perception of beauty is and how a lot of people feel it becomes less and less probable the further we get from whiteness.
even in India, all the actresses on telelvision and in movies are super light-skinned and skin lightening products are STILL popular in beauty.
Read 4 tweets

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