Why Are You Here? - a few words of discouragement.
“Through me you go into the city of weeping;
Through me you go into eternal pain;
Through me you go among the lost people.”
Inferno III: 1-3. Dante Alighieri
I thought I'd start cheerful.
I also thought I'd start with a question: Why are you here?
If the answer to that is that you're just interested in the machinations of writing stories for screen and audio, and maybe hoping for a few indiscreet tales and some behind-the-scenes tidbits, then allow me to unclip the velvet rope for you right now. Welcome, have a good time...
The rest of you, not so fast. You actually want to do this for a living? I'm sure most writing courses (I've never been on one) welcome you with a load of blurb about how great it is to make a living telling stories. I certainly know that most of the books do that. Well it's bullshit. And you need to know that going in.
In aggregate, writing for the screen is one of the worst paid jobs in the world, because for every writer sitting by a pool in Beverly Hills, there are hundreds who have never made a cent in all the years they've been hustling and pitching and typing their hearts out. And you are far more likely to be one of the latter than one of the former.
If you're going to do this, you need to be prepared to spend five/ten/fifteen/twenty years busting a gut, working like crazy, weathering rejection after rejection just to be in with a shot of maybe, one day, getting paid to write something. It's dispiriting, humiliating, soul-destroying. And if and when someone does finally pay you to write a script, they are going to piss and moan about how much it costs and they are going to say something within your earshot about how writers are overpaid, and you are going to have to smile and nod because you are not yet legally allowed to murder these people.
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