Own your story 3Take ownership of your story

 One of the most important issues that an aspirant writer has to come to terms with, and fully master, is the difference between the writing process and the film process.

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So often writers who write for the visual medium have no desire or interest to find out what happens in the world of film and film making, television or DVD.

What it all boils down to is this: the writer writes the screenplay and the director writes the film.

The script or screenplay is a master plan for the film. It is never in itself a finished work of art like a novel or a short story.

An architect has his plans; a director has a screenplay which is his blueprint for the final film.

Film is a financially based art form.

Many factors govern the development of a screenplay from the birth of an idea to the final shooting screenplay.

It might begin as a gleam in the eye of a director; it might be written by a freelance writer as pure speculation; it could be an original screenplay; often it is an adaptation of a novel. Some screenplays are written with a particular actor in mind.

Once it has been accepted, a screenplay undergoes many changes, some minor, and some radical.

There are always compromises as film is a collaborative art form.

I think you’ve got to be schizophrenic. At one point you’re more or less the creator, and then you’re part of a group of people who are trying to bring something to life.  Robert Towne, screenwriter


You’ve got this strange art form that can’t come to life without a tremendous number of people helping you. If you are a writer you are either drawn to this kind of collaborative work, or you are not. Every time the director, or actors, or designers do something you’re not thrilled with, there’s probably one or two other times they make you look better than you really are. Everyone makes everyone else look better, which is what true collaboration is. Ted Tally, screenwriter

Screenwriters often notice a glaze coming into the eyes of the director and producer when the screenplay is finished, and you get the subtle feeling that they would not weep if a truck hit you. Sometimes it gets to be an antagonistic relationship. I think you have to understand that people feel threatened by the writer. It’s very curious, he knows something they don’t. He knows how to write. That’s a subtle, disturbing quality he has. Some filmmakers resent the writer in the same way that a comedian might resent the fact that he isn’t funny without twelve guys writing the jokes. The director knows that someone else wrote the screenplay he is carrying around on the set everyday.  Ernest Lehman, screenwriter

The Writing Process

Although the writing process seems simple and straightforward, most novice writers tend to take a step in the wrong direction by shortcutting, outsmarting or over-complicating the natural, instinctive process of communicating their story and making their voice as a writer heard.

If you shortcut the process and rush straight to the screenplay from the outline, your first draft is not a screenplay; it’s a surrogate treatment.

Let’s take a closer look at the course of action you will follow to write the first draft of your story, from inspiration to screened film, produced stageplay or televised television series.

Find an idea

The process begins with the writer who wants to write. You have an IDEA – this is your intention as a writer, there is something you want to write about, a story you need to tell, magic you need to spin. The IDEA is only an idea and nothing more; sometimes the spark of a great idea is only wishful thinking and evaporates the moment an even greater idea sparks up.

Do research

Feed your talent. Talent must be stimulated by facts and ideas. Do research. Gather your material any way you can. The hardest part of writing is knowing what to write. The only way to write is writing. All the time. Write it down. When ideas, description, dialogue, or character information comes to mind, write it down, immediately. By doing research, you acquire information. You must take time and effort to acquire knowledge. The information you collect will allow you to operate from the position of choice and responsibility.

 The Process Of Writing Your Story Is Fully Explored In The Write Journey Course

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