Craft Corner - #5 What Do You Really Want?: BE SPECIFIC

Roadmap Craft Corner

By James Moorer 

Screenwriters are unique creatures; we suffer so much for our craft but we are rarely if  ever… specific. And by that, I mean knowing specifically what we want out of our careers. We know we want the fame and potentially the fortune that comes from what we’ve been told this industry can bring us. Most haven’t taken the time to figure out if they want to be working on other people’s shows, which is common when breaking into television, or assignment writing,  which is also working on someone else’s idea. And in those situations, hardly working on your own material to get made.  

So, what do you do when you get into a meeting with an exec and they ask where do you see your career in five years? Do you go to the default, “Oh I see myself on tv or making movies”? But is that… specific? And by not being specific, are you hurting your chances of getting representation, of getting into a room, or even selling your screenplay?

What every writer needs to do is be specific. This is not only to separate you from the multitude of other screenwriters, but to clearly identify you IN the marketplace. A lot of writers like to enter the conversation saying, “Oh I can write everything,” not realizing that can be a fatal career move. Yes, I said FATAL. A deeper understanding of how the industry works has proven repeatedly, that being specific about who you are and what you write can be a gamechanger and move the needle on your career.  

But to the point of the aforementioned question, this is where KNOWING what your PERSONAL BRAND is matters. Because if you understand and have a definitive vision about what your brand is, then the answer to that question becomes something special. It becomes unique. Because no one else has YOUR BRAND. No one else has lived your life experience that plays such a deep and rooted role in your writing. No one else has suffered your triumphs and tragedies, and no one else can express your tale the way you do. 

So, it’s important to not just be a tv or feature writer. Be that tv writer who specializes in female-driven dramas. Be that writer who specializes in socially conscious features. Be the thriller guy or the coming-of-age non-binary writer. Be great and be wonderful, but forever and always… BE SPECIFIC. 

James Moorer

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