“No one can make a living writing movies.” — How many times have you heard someone say something like this?  And you know what?  It’s true.  What?  Yes.  It is true to those who choose to believe it.  The absolute truth about anything in live is that whatever we believe becomes truth.  So… no matter how many scripts you write, if you don’t believe in yourself and your talent, you may never make it.  There is something very powerful about our internal beliefs.  We attract what we believe.  The great thing is that we also have the power to change our beliefs and if we believe to the core or our being that we can make a living as a working screenwriter then we will find a way to make that belief a reality.  Just ask all of the working screenwriters doing this very thing.

If you choose not to pursue your dreams, you’ll still be part of a dream – only it will be someone else’s

– Mike Hawkins 

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Doing your homework when deciding which contest to enter is a wise thing.  Some key things to look at is how long the contest has been around and what they are doing for their winners.  It is nice to get that prize money.  It is also nice to have your winning script put in front of agents, producers studios and managers.  Many of the smaller contests offer some valuable connections to key decision makers without a ton of prize money.  A contest could help bring attention to your writing and help advance your career.  So, do your homework and try a few contests.

 

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Although there is no sure fire way to make it as a screenwriter.  One genre that has proven the test of time is horror.  Horror has universal appeal when is comes to selling movies.  Why is this?  Movies are emotional mediums and fear is something that everyone can relate to.  We are all afraid of something and if we push the envelope to the extreme… Who isn’t afraid of death?  Pain? Suffering? Take these primal fears and combine them with a unique story and you may have a hit.  Many of these types of scripts are completely story driven and that saves money on “A” list actors… you simply don’t need them… So the next time you sit down to write that Academy Award winning script… take a break and pound out s horror flick!

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Some people believe that winning a screenplay contest is the beginning of their career success and in some cases this may be true… it is rare however.  The idea of creating a “buzz” around you and your writing is the key.  So, how do you create this “buzz?” If you are the type of person who wants to be in control of your life and your career… then you do everything you can to get you and your material out there.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to move to Hollywood.  Getting your material and yourself out for the world to see could mean… Entering multiple contests, creating a website, joining a writers group, developing professional entertainment relationships, writing a book…  The ways to expose your talent to the world are endless.  Get creative and go for your dreams.

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When choosing a genre when it comes to screenwriting, choose wisely…  Does this mean I should write action? How about comedy?  Maybe horror?…  What we mean by this is to choose the genre and story where your passion can shine. What makes a screenplay a hot property is a great story and compelling and multidimensional characters.  How this comes to be is through the writer’s talent and passion for the craft… then it is all about the execution.  Trust your own personal writing process and if screenwriting is your dream, keep writing those scripts and never give up!… The money will then follow.

 

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Unless you are an “A-list” screenwriter maybe the feature script isn’t the way to go when looking to break into screenwriting.  Many Hollywood producers are still looking for screenplays but many are looking for shorts to showcase new writers talents.  Short scripts cost much less to produce and offer an on screen showcase for the writer and producer.  So, where do these short films showcase?  Many important festivals preview short films and deals are cut this way.  A number of successful short films go on to be produced into full length features.  The movie business is ever changing and short film production is on the rise.

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There are many screenwriting books, seminars, workshops, classes and the like around that claim to offer the winning formula to the horror screenplay.  Many of these do offer insightful information however as with any screenplay genre, the truth is that there is no specific formula or these individuals would stop teaching what isn’t a sure fire formula for claimed success and write those six figure scripts themselves.  The absolute truth is that all A-list screenwriters became successful by following a different path, one in which they created.  So, why not develop your own winning horror screenplay formula.  Success is something in each of us, we just need to find that place and tap into it.

 

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Horror scripts have made a resurgence in the marketplace for a number of reasons:  They are generally less expensive to produce and have international appeal due their visual nature.  But what makes one stand out from another?…  It all comes down to the story.  A fresh, well constructed story coupled with amazing characters sells screenplays time and time again.  This basic rule has pushed the first time writer to career success many times over…  It happened with Blair Witch, Paranormal and others…  So… if you are struggling with your next great idea for a movie, why not flash out a horror script…  This just might be the one that sells.

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Do you have a screenplay contest strategy?  Believe it or not… some writers have a specific strategy when it comes to entering contests.  If you have that amazing horror script that can be shot on a small budget (i.e. Paranormal) and you are not yet well known in Hollywood, then what you are looking for is momentum.  Scripts that sell have a “buzz” about them.  How do you get that buzz happening around you and your material?  One way is to enter contests…  Horror scripts are great and there are a number of horror contests in existence.  If your script is excellent, why not enter every single horror contest? The odds are in your favor that it will be recognized in more than one contest and start the “buzz.”  Many writers don’t believe that they are in control of their careers and wait for the right agent or manager or producer to discover them.  Give these folks a reason to discover you.  Develop a strategy for your career and today is a good day to begin…

 

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