6 Comments

  1. Oh, Beth.
    If you’re too old then I’ve got one foot in the grave.
    Not a screenwriter, though I went to film school for it after my BA and took a year of my life to try to “make it” but I am eeking out a tiny income writing.
    Like Pamie said, the best advice I’ve been given was to aim to write for a living. That means have a lot of pots on the stove. Freelance, blog, technical writing, screenwriting, whatever.
    So write your novels and your screenplays. Try and sell them. If you want to write for a living you’ll do it in many forms.
    Shit, that was just a pep talk to myself. Pumped. Will go rip out a few pages on the next book I want to self-publish.

  2. I still want to make some money at the writing thing and I’m 43. Keep at it. Squeeze the screenplay writing in whenever you can and see where it goes. It’s all about creating connections. Your writing will do that. You may find that your screenplays don’t pan out but they lead you down another avenue you never expected.

  3. Great article, Pam!

    Beth, I started screenwriting at age 28 and I was also worried about being too old. It’s now ten years later and I’m closer to my dream. It takes much longer than you would ever think. I thought it would take me a couple of years tops, but I was naive. I read a book with interviews with a bunch of pro screenwriters and it said that their average time to break in was 10 years. That’s why it’s important to love writing for its own sake and not necessarily for financial gain. I’ve had a lot of fun writing scripts over those 10 years and seeing people respond to my work. I feel that the act of writing has value in and of itself. You learn a lot about yourself and the people around you. But you’ll never know if you love it unless you actually put in the time and write some scripts.

  4. Desiree

    Beth,
    I have a suggestion that you can take or not. I’m not a screenwriter. In fact, I’m a scientist. All of my publications are in scientific journals. What I’ve learned from being a writer, but also being a scientist, is that if I ever wrote anything that was not a science-related manuscript, it would be either an autobiographical novel or a play. I am 36, and the way I figured out that I might want to write plays was by being in them–figuring out how they work technically by doing the work in my spare time. So my suggestion is to audition at a community theater, be in at least one play, see how it works, and then watch a lot of movies and a lot of plays and think about how what you might have to say is different from what other people have to say, and then write your play. Anything that you write for the stage can be adapted to the screen. Everything else is just B.S. CGI. Also, I suggest watching a lot of movies from the 60s-80s, to kind of find your place in terms of what’s possible without B.S. CGI. For example, _The Fugitive_ does amazing things, without CGI, and has stood the test of time. So good luck, and I hope you write something. Either way, taking your time to really understand how it works is useful. For example, clothing changes. On a back porch of the theater. In the snow, at night, with the occasional creepy dude. You don’t know about that kind of stuff till you’ve lived it.

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