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Austin Actors
Luis Olmeda

Actors Writing Successful Scripts
by Luis Olmeda

March 2000

We actors love to share our many experiences. Whether it's auditions (good or bad), a great play or film that we have seen or were featured in, or classes that we have taken, sharing these experiences helps us learn from one another. One of the things that interests me the most about actors in Austin is how many of them have the desire to write stories that they have dreamed of, been inspired by or experienced themselves. We all have stories that we would like to tell, however with little money to spend on script writing classes, our dreams can be far from reach. At least it seemed that way for me.

I have written a feature length script. Let me tell you it wasn't easy. Exciting but not easy. In the end you endure the writing just to experience that internal reward of accomplishing your goal and finishing that last page. It's a great feeling finishing a script after years of hard work, but it doesn't end with the last period. The next step is trying to get your script optioned. For those of you attempting to do this on your own, like myself, allow me to share my own adventure with you.

I thought that analyzing an existing script would provide me with the knowledge that I needed. That analysis just scratched the surface. After five rough drafts, a local producer and I were still disagreeing on various elements in the script and it's flow. That was my biggest problem, I didn't understand how the story should flow. I wanted to keep scenes that did not push forward the story. All I wanted to do is tell the story, but there is more to script writing than just the telling the events. With no classes under my belt, and no extra cash for a script writing course, I was pretty much segregated to my own little world.

Shortly after that fifth draft, my producer bailed on the project to pursue other priorities. I probably would have done the same in his shoes. Disappointed, I asked myself, "NOW WHAT? WHAT THE HELL AM I GOING TO DO?" Feeling alone and depressed due to my lack of knowledge, I decided to walk away from the script and gather my thoughts for another day. A while later I took my family on a trip to Barnes and Noble. Somehow I ended up in the scriptwriting section. My eyes bloomed, I was overpowered by the wealth of information surrounding me. Everything from writing successful plays, TV pilots and sitcoms, to screenplays for film. I must have spent an hour looking for the right book. One that was easy to understand and that would fire me up to finish the script I had started. I was down to three books. Which one should I choose? I spent another 30 minutes just looking through the books and finally I made my choice. Yes! I got it! This is all I need!

As I walk down the aisle, carrying the book that will help me complete my dream, I notice another section of books geared to marketing the script. Okay so one book wasn't all I needed. I spent another 30 minutes scanning the marketing volumes and found one with extensive information. That night I shoved my face into those books and learned from other people's experiences. I have re-written my script a few more times. I am currently facing the challenge of marketing my script.

So if you are like me, get fired up and finish that script!! Below is some useful information that helped me along the way. If anyone else would like to share information and tools on this same topic we would love to hear your tips!


Web site for Scriptwriting Secrets: http://www.scriptwritingsecrets.com/contents.htm

Books:
SUCCESSFUL SCRIPT WRITING How to write and pitch winning scripts for movies, sitcoms, soaps, serial and variety shows. By: Jurgen Wolff & Kerry Cox 2000 WRITER'S MARKET 8,000 Editors who buy want you write plus valuable information...

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