January 1, 2016
Happy New Year!
Legendary adman David Ogilvy once said:
“Some people use research like a drunkard uses a lamppost: for support not illumination.”
The same could be said for screenwriters in Hollywood.
That’s why this final habit is one of the most underrated, but most important habits you can develop in your career.
Screenwriting Success Habit #7 is, research your market inside and out!
When Starbucks opens a shop, they don’t do it willy-nilly.
Read more & discuss… December 31, 2015
Happy New Year (almost)!
Oprah Winfrey once said:
“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us. Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”
Getting older makes you appreciate good memories.
And one of the fondest memories I have about my youth is modeling.
No, not the “Derek Zoolander” type of modeling.
Read more & discuss… December 30, 2015
Once upon a time there was a young writing team.
They pitched an idea to an agent they knew and were told it was going to sell.
In fact, a studio verbally committed to buying their idea.
Then The Writer’s Strike happened, and the studio stopped the purchase.
Instead of sulking, the writing team decided to write the script on spec.
Read more & discuss… December 29, 2015
Don’t worry, we’ll get back to our “7-Secrets” email series tomorrow.
But right now I wanted to talk to you about something important.
As you may know, the past 2 years have been tumultuous (to say the least), due to my wife’s health.
She suffers from a rare pulmonary condition known as Pulmonary Hypertension, and it’s a rather nasty and ornery little bugger.
Still, by arming ourselves with the right information, surrounding ourselves with an elite team of doctors and advisors, and a healthy dose of pig-headed discipline, Chloe’s health has finally stabilized.
Read more & discuss… December 28, 2015
Whenever we talk about fear, I’m reminded of that scene from “The Karate Kid,” when the Cobra Kai karate instructor is barking at his students.
“Fear… does not exist in the dojo, does it?”
And his students shout back:
You see, fear is a powerful emotion.
And mastering your fear is not an easy task.
Read more & discuss… December 24, 2015
Merry Christmas Eve!
I always get a ton of questions when we cover the topic of networking.
So here are 3 great questions (and answers!) that put a nice cap on this hugely important Screenwriting Success Habit.
QUESTION: What are your thoughts about online networking? Is it possible to use the Internet to make Hollywood connections, even if I don’t live in Los Angeles?
MARVIN: Great question, and here’s my answer.
Read more & discuss… December 23, 2015
The topic of networking has been covered ad nauseum.
Screenwriters know they should do it, but many avoid it.
And frankly, most aren’t very good at it.
How do I know?
Because I’ve been on the wrong end of many an awkward encounter =/
Read more & discuss… December 22, 2015
Let’s plan for an amazing 2016, shall we?
And on that note, let’s talk about some specific mindset, sales, and marketing strategies to prepare you to pitch your script to the studios.
You see, the moment you sit down in a pitch room, there are a couple of key things the studio executives will be looking for.
And this really goes for any Hollywood Professional you speak with (remember, this is AFTER it’s been determined that you have a killer script).
Read more & discuss… December 21, 2015
You’re a talented screenwriter.
So let’s pretend that you got your script into the right hands.
And obviously, that agent, manager, or producer loved it ;)
Cool, so your job’s over, right?
All you have to do now is wait to be showered in fame, fortune, and unlimited studio writing opportunities, right?
Not so fast, hoss.
Read more & discuss… December 18, 2015
Advertising guru David Ogilvy is a hero of mine.
And I’m not 100% sure if this is one of his quotes, but it sure sets up what we’re going to talk about today:
“The company with a good product that does not advertise is like a man who whispers to himself in the desert.”
Remember, as a screenwriter, you are a company.
Your company’s name is “YOU, Inc.” and your products are your screenplays.
If you aren’t actively marketing and selling them (and yourself), then you are going out of business faster than you can say, “will you read my script?”
Read more & discuss… December 17, 2015
Late night infomercials are pretty funny.
Especially the ones about no money down real estate.
Over the years, several real estate gurus have sold systems where ordinary people can purchase a piece of real estate with no money out of pocket, and eventually become wealthy as real estate investors.
Whether the systems work or not is up for debate.
But my point is, while there are seemingly no similarities between real estate investors and screenwriters, when you dig beneath the surface, you’ll find something interesting.
Which brings us to Screenwriting Success Habit #2…
Read more & discuss… December 16, 2015
Do you write every day?
Or do you only write when the creative muse inspires you?
Here’s my advice on this matter.
Imagine that you sold a screenplay for $100,000.
Frankly, that’s pretty “bottom of the barrel” in terms of a compensation package, but not unrealistic for a screenwriter’s first paycheck.
So while it’s not an insignificant amount of money, at the same time, you’re probably not going to quit your day job.
Read more & discuss… December 15, 2015
Actor Daniel Day Lewis has an interesting habit.
He has what he calls his “Imagination Room.”
And when he’s preparing to play a character, he goes inside this room and BECOMES that character.
He does not allow anyone or anything to disturb him while he’s in that room.
He tells his friends, family, and staff that if he’s in the Imagination Room, unless the building is burning down, nothing should be allowed to interrupt him.
No phone calls, no drop in’s from friends or family, and no Internet access.
Read more & discuss… December 14, 2015
Want to know one of the biggest mistakes that screenwriters make?
Let me explain with a story.
Once there was a young girl helping her mother prepare dinner in the kitchen.
The mother cut off the head and tail of a fish and put it in a baking pan.
“Mommy, why do you cut the head and tail off the fish before you put it in the baking pan?” asked the little girl.
Read more & discuss…