So You Want To Be A Screenwriter?

Darlene the Tour GuideA couple of months ago a wonderful blogger named Jen Owenby emailed me and asked if she could do a contest involving my book, An Agoraphobic’s Guide to Hollywood.  She had read it earlier in the year and really enjoyed it.  She also discovered my website, contacted me, and we started exchanging emails. I was honored that she had chosen my book as one that she wanted to talk about on her website, so I said yes.


Astrid “Artistikem” Cruz

I was a little embarrassed when Jen wrote her post about the book and me,  but I liked the idea that six people would get a chance to read my book.  After all, that’s why I wrote it – for people to read.  Jen randomly was going to choose five lucky winners who would win a copy of the book, and one extra lucky person also would have a chance to ask a professional screenwriter (me) any questions they had about screenwriting.  Well, as fates would have it, that sixth person was Astrid “Artistikem” Cruz, a young Master in Communications student at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras campus.

When Jen emailed me the name of the grand prize winner I smiled because I had just discovered Astrid’s work on a writers group website where she had posted a short film she had made based on her poem, “A Study On Character Development.” I had sent her an email a few weeks earlier telling her how much I enjoyed the poem and the film, and she had written back to tell me she was developing a Transmedia project based on it.  I was excited to meet a young writer who also was involved in making film.  Small world, (small internet): Astrid entered Jen’s contest, and she won the grand prize.

After the holidays, Astrid quickly wrote me four questions – four excellent, multi-dimensional questions (Astrid could also add investigative reporting to her résumé if she ever wanted)  and she really made me think about the craft of screenwriting and what it’s like to be a professional.

Over the years, I’ve had people ask me about screenwriting (I worked non-stop in Hollywood for 25 years), and some of them even suggested that I teach a class about it.  Well, my husband is a teacher, and that’s about as close to teaching I ever want to get.  As my own kids will probably acknowledge:  I don’t have the most patience in the world when it comes to teaching people anything.  Maybe that’s why my son and daughter both learned how to drive from their father and not me, and when my daughter had to learn about camping as a Brownie I insisted we stay at a hotel instead and order room service (true story).  But Astrid’s questions really made me stop and think about the process of screenwriting – something that most screenwriters take for granted when they’re so busy doing it for a living.  For the first time, someone was sincerely asking me how to be a screenwriter.  And for whatever reason, maybe because with age sometimes comes patience, I wanted to explain how it’s done.  Or at least how I did it.

I’ve never won an Oscar.  I’m not a Hollywood name.  But I’ve written some movies, and television over those 25 years of working in Hollywood, and yes, I’ve gotten paid for it.  Enough to raise a family, buy a house, a couple of cars, and have a very nice pension to look forward to (Thank you, Writers Guild of America!)  So when Astrid sent me her questions, and I found myself writing, writing, and (still) writing all of the answers, I thought: Why not share this with anyone interested in screenwriting?

So I asked Astrid.

“Do you mind if I share this on my blog?”

And she was kind enough to say yes.

So here’s what we’re going to do:  Next week I’ll be doing several posts about screenwriting. Make sure you’re signed up to this blog so you’re notified via email when they’re posted.  If you’re not interested in screenwriting, I understand, and maybe you’ll come back in a couple of weeks and read something else here on the blog.  But if you’re a writer,  a screenwriter wannabe, or you’re just someone who’s always wondered about how movies are written, then you might find it interesting to hear it from someone who has been in the trenches.  And if you know of any young filmmakers, or anyone interested in screenwriting, please tell them to drop by next week.

I promise to be patient.

(Are you interested in learning about screenwriting? Please raise your hand if you think you’ll be attending – I want to make sure there are enough chairs. And yes, this is free.) 

(To read the first part of this series click here:  It All Begins With A Screenwriter)


REV Cover_ebook-1

39 thoughts on “So You Want To Be A Screenwriter?

  1. Reblogged this on Artistikem and commented:
    I almost never enter contests because I’ve never been as lucky as some other people. This time, something in my gut told me to give it a shot and I’m glad I did, because it gave me the opportunity of a lifetime: a Q&A with a professional screenwriter! Don’t miss this, you’ll regret it (as I would’ve regretted not entering the contest in the first place!).


  2. Pingback: So You Want To Be A Screenwriter? | Books Direct |

  3. Wow Darlene..awesome! I didn’t win a copy of your book, but you better believe I bought it and read it twice. I would say, that if I would not have spent so much time becoming a therapist I would be a screenwriter! LOL. I would love to read more about it, would love to read the posts if there’s not a limit for the class. Thank You!


  4. I am now a follower. I am a retired RN and enjoy writing. I plan to to write a book about my medical issues centered around my brain tumor diagnosis ..With my medical background I thought I could bring a different take on many medical / pt care issues etc…
    Also I know Jen Owenby too as she follows me..Wow..That is so awesome. She occassionally stops by my blog and gives me a thumbs up! Thank you, Alesia


      • Thank you for opening up your world to us. I did something on my blog I had never done before . I put a post up about a woman who blogged about her cancer experiences. She passed away and her mom published her blog in a book. 100% of the proceeds go to her granddaughter. So it is just nice when we see the blog world reaching out to each other..Very refreshing..


  5. How brilliant, it inspires me just reading your post! I don’t think I have it in me to be a screenwriter, although I have just discovered a short story I wrote 7 years ago that might make an interesting short film. I have absolutely no idea about how to go about it and have no connections in the film industry whatsoever so I probably wouldn’t be the best person to join as I wouldn’t be able to make the most of the opportunity your giving.
    I love meeting people on the Internet who share the same outlook though and who are generous enough to share their experiences too-thank you, makes me feel there’s more to me than a mum (not that I am embarrassed of that, I love it, but sometimes it’s nice to have a little extra string to one’s bow.)


  6. Looking forward to your blog series! The closest I’ve ever come to screenwriting was a class in college on television production where I learned a) the boy who produced the college news show was really, really cute and extremely uncoordinated and b) I can’t block a convincing scene to save my life. I can run a tape deck though. And I love to write—so count me in!


  7. That sounds pretty exciting. I never had a chance to take a class in screenwriting, but have often thought about doing so. I did write a ten-minute play when I assigned one to my high school creative writing students a while back, and it was a decidedly horrible first attempt!


  8. I’m not sure it would actually qualify as a class, but hopefully anyone interested in screenwriting (or the film industry) might learn a thing or two. I hope so at least! And don’t worry about your first efforts being horrible at writing that ten minute play. Just like making pancakes, that first batch is never the best. But it helps the next batches to have the practice!


  9. Pingback: It All Begins With A Screenwriter | Darlene Craviotto

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  12. Pingback: A Screenwriting Master Class | Artistikem

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