Or, At Present, An Aspiring Screenwriter

I think writing, and screenwriting in particular, is my passion. I've been writing since I was really little; everything from attempts at novels, journal entries, short stories, whatever.

When I was 18 I discovered a deep, unknown love for filmmaking. I worked as an extra on a couple movie sets, a tv set, and the set of a MOW and fell in love. Then it occurred to me that someone was writing everything I saw on TV, and in movies. When I realized that, I felt I'd discovered my calling.

I turned 29 a couple months ago. The last script I wrote was completed in 2003. For those who're keeping track, that's four years ago. It may have even been 2002. The script was called Stealing Eve, and it was my fifth full-length screenplay. Since then I haven't done much any sizable screenwriting. Until a friend asked me to help him pass a screenwriting class he was in, I hadn't written a cohesive screen story since Stealing Eve. I was gratified to get a A- and two B+'s on the three short scripts I wrote for him. Even more gratifying was the fact that those shorts were all first drafts.

The thing that bothers me is if this is truly my passion, why don't I do more of it, naturally? Why don't I find myself irresistibly drawn to write every day? Why have I written only five scripts? If it were truly my passion I would think that I'd be unavoidably writing at least one script a year, and every day write at least a little bit on one of them...even if I didn't really feel like it. I'd think that it'd be like a drug, or an itch I just have to scratch. Yet, I'm not sure I've heard of many writers--even among the greats, the legendary--that felt that way about writing. It seems that, for many, writing is hard, a real struggle...even if they feel it's their calling and their passion.

All that aside, I'd love most to write for television. I don't get to watch much TV, but there's nothing quite as riveting as a good TV show. Here I'm thinking of shows like 24, and CSI (before they dumbed it down). Also, in TV, the writers are the main creative force. The work is also a lot faster. You see what you write go from conception (in your mind) to being splashed on screens all across America inside of a week or two. That's amazing, and I'd think highly rewarding. The idea of such pressure appeals to me. I like pressure. My creativity flourishes under such conditions.

So it is that I find myself wanting to write for TV--on shows like 24, House, CSI, Heroes, and NCIS, yet I find myself curious how the writing staff of those shows writes so convincingly about careers, places, and people they almost certainly have no expertice in. It occurs to me to wonder if the writing staff all has a background in medicine, in investigation, in special ops, and so on? Or do they somehow use consultants (but how does that work into the writing process?)? I don't know. And how does someone on the outside write spec samples for shows without the benefit of a consultant? How do we fake that sort of expertice? I guess I've never learned how to research in a way that gives me a sense of what others' lives are like.

I'm considering putting together a Heroes spec, and submitting it to the ABC/Disney fellowship for 2007. Who the hell knows, maybe I'd even win one of those coveted 14 slots. It's always worth trying. If nothing else, I'd learn a lot in the process; though it's a ***** trying to find Heroes scripts anywhere online. I can't find anywhere that has them for sale or download. It's a pain in the butt. So, I have just the pilot script to go off of, and I'm going to watch all the episodes and then wing it as best I can.
liferiot liferiot
26-30, M
1 Response May 18, 2007

I just found screenwriting and enjoy it also, although I am on my first one :). Interesting to read your thoughts on writing though. I think with writing that you can be passionate and not write every day. Writing seems to evolve on its own rhythm. And as for writing for TV with the writers strikes that were going on, seems like a good time jump into the mix. They were talking about discontinuing some series just b/c they had no one to write for them. Just kick yourself in the butt and keep writing. Good luck!