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What Is A Typical Career For A Working Screenwriter In Hollywood?

Hello Writers All,

I wanted to share with you my recent interview with Film Courage. In the interview I discuss the importance of realistic expectations and perseverance to new as well as seasoned writers. I draw on my early career experiences to illustrate the reality of a typical screenwriter’s career arc and what one can expect if they choose to work as a writer in the film and TV industries.

Here are few key takeaways from the interview:

  1. Be prepared to manage your expectations: When you are first driven from within to sit down and write, it is very likely that you will have visions of yourself creating an Oscar winning screenplay, or the Next Great American Novel. Enjoy the fantasy!  Yes, it is important to have dreams and goals!  But if you choose writing as a profession, you must be prepared to take the good with the bad. Before you achieve career success it is very likely that you will be faced with criticism and rejection… a lot of criticism and rejection. Don’t despair. This is all par for the course. Embrace these experiences, draw from them in your work and be sure to learn from them.
  2. Perseverance, perseverance, perseverance: If your first attempt at a screenplay is met with a lukewarm reception, just keep writing! When you feel as though you don’t have what it takes –   keep writing! When you hear for the tenth or twentieth time that it’s just not what they are looking for? Keep writing! Perseverance is crucial for a writer, you need to focus on the big picture and look at setbacks as an opportunity to hone your craft. The more you write and re-write, the more you will develop and grow as a screenwriter or novelist. It can take many incarnations to find your true voice; so write, rewrite and write again.
  3. The nature of the beast: The life of a working writer is unique in that you can ultimately earn a living, sometimes a very comfortable living, off of scripts that might never get made. Sometimes even beautifully written works are sold only to never see the green light of production. There are many factors that can contribute to this, among them: timing, funding and artistic differences. As a writer you need to develop a tough skin; the failure of your project to come to fruition is not YOUR failure. The trick here is to accept it, move on, and welcome the challenge of new and exciting projects.

We all have to start somewhere and for most of us that is not going to be at the top. This is not an industry of instant gratification; dedication, humility and perseverance are the best weapons for you to keep in your arsenal. Remember to have faith in yourself and in your writing, keep an open mind and look at criticism as an invitation to grow.

Happy writing!

p.s. follow this link for the 2nd interview

About The Story Solution: Eric Edson’s The Story Solution provides screenwriting tips for those interested in screenplay writing. Seen as one of the best books on screenwriting and currently #1 in its category on China Amazon, Edson outlines 23 actions used to create three dimensional heroes. Visit the website at  http://www.thestorysolution.com to learn about writing a movie script. “Like” the Facebook page to receive tips on scriptwriting.

Eric Edson Interviewed by Film Courage: Typical Career For A Working Screenwriter In Hollywood

Eric Edson’s Screenwriting Book Now Available in Chinese

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Los Angeles:  Eric Edson, author of The Story Solution, a how-to book on screenwriting and storytelling, was recently interviewed by Film Courage.

In his recent interview with Film Courage, Professor Eric Edson recalls the early days of his career and offers sage words of advice to new and aspiring screenwriters.  Eric recounts the sale of his first screenplay and how the reality of being a working screenwriter does not always meet lofty expectations.

Edson, Professor of Screenwriting and Director Emeritus of the MFA Program in Screenwriting at California State University, Northridge, describes how the sale of his first screenplay at the age of 24 changed his direction in life, and led him to enroll in the MFA program at the American Film Institute.

When asked by Film Courage whether he had expected to “capture lightning in a bottle” again in the years immediately following that first sale, he explained that his optimism was definitely tempered with realism. It would be another eight years before Edson sold his next screenplay. He warns that a career as a professional writer is not for the faint of heart, explaining that “you are going to get kicked in the teeth.” His advice is to “toughen your skin,” persevere, and above all else, “learn from everything.” He credits his own eventual success to making himself inevitable by “continuing to crank out original material.” By writing and rewriting and reading many books on screenwriting, he perfected his craft and created a drawer full of good scripts.

Edson cautions those entering the field to have realistic expectations. Much of the work screenwriters sell might not actually be filmed.  In order to achieve even a small amount of success you must be prepared to pay your dues. Overnight sensations are not what the industry is comprised of.  It takes hard work, dedication, the ability to accept defeat without being defeated, and a willingness to “buckle down for the long haul” to make a name and a living for yourself in screenwriting.

Eric Edson’s The Story Solution provides screenwriting tips for those interested in screenplay writing. Seen as one of the best books on screenwriting and currently #1 in its category on China Amazon, Edson outlines 23 actions used to create three dimensional heroes. Visit the website at http://www.thestorysolution.com to learn about writing a movie script. “Like” the Facebook page to receive tips on scriptwriting.

follow this link for the 2nd interview

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YOU DON’T NEED LUCK TO BE A SUCCESSFUL SCREENWRITER…

Hello everyone!  This time of year is all about 4-leaf clover luck and tradition – people wearing green and throwing parties. You may find yourself getting pinched if you don’t wear your green!

March is also known for “March Madness,” the college basketball tournament. Do you have a favorite team? At the Story Solution website and Facebook Page we’re always on your team, offering tips and instructional videos and free sample script analyses to help cheer you on toward screenwriting success with the proven Hero Goal Sequences method of creating dynamic stories and exciting, character-driven screenplays.

(And just let me mention… to simplify things, I use one word, “Hero,” to mean any man, woman, child, animated flower, one-eyed one-horn flying purple people eater – or any other character who has the lead role in any story.)

Truth is, I have analyzed hundreds of films and taught hundreds of screenwriting graduate students how to identify the story sequences and elements of character needed to write award-winning scripts. And I put it all in my book, The Story Solution, which outlines the 23 Actions All Heroes Must Take to keep audiences captivated.

What makes The Story Solution stand out from the rest? Most books on screenwriting – and there are many good ones – offer advice or story-building systems based on abstract ideas. It’s frequently overlooked out there that successful visual storytelling requires you to master one overriding physical, practical concept: CHANGE. Change must flow in constant visual MOTION to drive a story forward – the same way a shark must keep moving to stay alive. And the amount of change required in any feature film story can actually be physically measured.

I have discovered that there’s a universal number of “change units” required for audiences to be drawn into any film story and really feel it.  Each of these specifically timed short sequences contain common plot developing events. Not just the this-is-where-the-hero-beats-up-all-the-bad-guys kind of advice, but a series of actions in a specific order, appearing at predictable moments in a story.

And here’s how I know I’m right.  There once lived a playwright named Sophocles who wrote a smash hit play called “Oedipus Rex”… about 2500 years ago. I took a very close look at that play (and hundreds of others) and found that the storytelling is physically structured exactly like all major hit movies are today. The human mind has ALWAYS processed and enjoyed stories in the same way. It’s how our brains are built. It’s physically how we absorb – and feel – a story.

So if you master these specific steps of change, every screenplay you write with them will have the potential to become a winner with audiences.

Hey, it may sound to you like I’m full of hot air, and well, okay, at times there might be some truth to that idea. But in this case, I’M NOT WRONG about the power of Hero Goal Sequences.

As a tenured full-professor at California State University, Northridge, I have proven it to my graduate students many hundreds of times over. Every semester, I turn Hero Goal Sequence doubters into Hero Goal Sequence believers.

But some of you may still be thinking this all sounds way too clinical and soulless. Just 23 predictable sequences? Heck no! Where’s the creativity in 23 pieces of anything?!  What about ART?

Well, may I point out that there are only 26 letters in the English language? Just 26. And people have been creating great literature with those same 26 letters for centuries.  There are only 12 keys on a piano, and those same 12 keys are merely repeated on the keyboard at an ever higher octave pitch to constitute a piano. During the last few centuries, has “the problem” of only having 12 repeating keys ever limited creativity in music?

In The Story Solution you will learn:

  • The Secrets of Story Structure. How to put together your story the way professional screenwriters do. Instead of floundering and suffering over “oh what will my hero do next???” you will KNOW what they need to do next. By identifying the 23 Actions All Heroes Must Take, building your story will become a clear and specifically coached process for creating every two to seven page sequence in your script – and you’ll be constructing the right actions in your story to shape full, memorable heroes and heroines that audiences will love to follow.

  • How to Create Dynamic Characters. Having an engaging story is essential. But what’s a story without vivid characters bringing it to life? Learn to write dynamic characters that hook your viewers and make them burn to know what those characters will do next.

  • Rewriting skills. learn how to shape and test every scene and sequence to make sure they all move your story and characters forward to a fulfilling climax. The Story Solution is filled with tips and methods to make your rewriting process far less painful and much more rewarding.

Other key tools revealed:

  • How to write Powerful Dialogue

  • How to choose the best Character Categories to use in your story

  • How to Spot and Fix Story Problems before they become baked in

  • The secret to writing Powerful Character Growth.

And oh so much more.

BY THE WAY – The Story Solution HAS ONCE AGAIN HIT #1 BEST SELLER IN THREE BOOK CATEGORIES on CHINA AMAZON: Film and TV – Animation – Graphic Novels

So deeply pleased and excited. Thanks, China!

All Very Best Wishes,


About The Story Solution: Eric Edson’s The Story Solution provides screenwriting tips for those interested in screenplay writing. Seen as one of the best books on screenwriting and currently #1 in its category on China Amazon, Edson outlines 23 actions used to create three dimensional heroes. Visit the website at  http://www.thestorysolution.com to learn about writing a movie script. “Like” the Facebook page to receive tips on scriptwriting. Call (818) 677-7808 for information about writing a movie script.

Improve Workplace Productivity With These Tips From Strategic Incentives

A Note From Strategic Incentives

Dear Readers,

Spring is in full bloom and Easter is right around the corner. As employees look ahead to vacations and summer fun, workplace productivity can diminish. Managers and supervisors want productivity to remain high throughout the year, but it can be hard to motivate personnel about work when outside activities are beckoning.

That’s why it is important to have a solid performance improvement plan in place. Having an employee motivation program keeps your workforce focused on the prize. A concerted approach to creating and implementing a workforce program can keep employees, supervisors, management, and customers happy.

Kick-start your employee motivation program and improve workplace productivity this spring with these tips below:

  • Discussion sessions: Have supervisors schedule regular team discussion sessions. These can be short and to the point, but the object is to take a break and think about things differently. Don’t focus on shortcomings or company regulations. Subjects should cover positive work topics such as what went well this week, ideas to try to make work flow more efficiently, or helpful customer insights.
  • Stave off boredom: Whether working in a cubicle from 9-5, or doing repetitive assembly line tasks all day, work can become drudgery. Variety is the spice of life, so find unique ways to inject a little fun into the day for a few minutes and the rest of the time will be more productive.
  • Recognize achievements and milestones: Take some time to recognize your team. Acknowledge members in your organization for their contributions and accomplishments. Doing so boosts pride and lets your workforce know their dedication is valued.
  • Inject something new: People like to be part of the bigger picture. Allow employees to cross-train, provide information about open positions, or rotate opportunities to shadow a supervisor for a shift to see how things look from the other side.

A strong change management plan coupled with an employee recognition program will increase productivity and keep the summer doldrums away.

Visit our web site at http://www.StrategicIncentives.com to download a complimentary copy of “35 Smart Ways to Use Incentive Programs.” Call 888-686-8116 now for more information on improving workplace productivity and take advantage of our special offer for April.

Happy Spring and Happy Easter from Strategic Incentives!

About Strategic Incentives: Strategic Incentives is a leading nationwide provider of employee motivation programs. The company works with HR managers to implement sales incentive programs and safety incentives to retain employees, and loyalty programs to build customer relationships.  Visit the website at http://www.strategicincentives.com to download a complimentary PDF of “35 Ways to Use Incentive Programs.” “Like” the Facebook page to receive regular updates on sales incentives and promotional ideas. Call 888-686-8116 for more information on creating an in-depth performance improvement plan.

Strategic Incentives