T Nation

Do You Write Screenplays?


Dear T-Nation Group:

I'm really interested in hearing your experiences today.

Has anyone here written a screenplay for a movie or TV show? Are there any screenwriters in the dog park?






If you write one, remember it's a screenplay and not a book. Don't thoroughly describe every bit of action and every part of the setting like it's a book. It takes up too much space.

Best thing you can do is read a bunch of scripts of movies that have already been made.


ROFL!!! Wol delivers again.

OP, a member here named Doug Adams has done work in film, I think. I can't remember if he writes, directs/produces or does all of it, but maybe he could chime in.

There's another guy, I think his name was BodybyGame or something, who writes but I don't know if he's ever tried writing for the screen.

Hope that helps, however insignificant that is.

EDIT: haha he chimes in right before I mention him.


Know any sites where I can get some scripts? Specifically the scripts to Lethal Weapon and Highlander.


Here's Lethal Weapon. You'll notice scenes that aren't in the final cut of the film. This happens a lot.


Highlander might be on there too.


You're my new best friend, Doug.


Yes. Never had a screenplay sold, but have had 2 scripts optioned (one was teleplay), and another piece purchased by a pretty well known humour website.

I would recommend buying "STORY" by Robert McKee. It's probably the best screenwriting book out there.

Story really is key. Anybody can punch up a script with witty dialogue, but if the story sucks the screenplay won't have a chance.

Another seeingly obvious thing that many writers overlook is to write about what you KNOW. You can't write a drama about two lovers in the Yucatan peninsula if you've never been there. Forget where I heard this but the guy who wrote Witness spent a long time amongst the Amish in Pennsylvania for research.

The most important thing is to write for the love of it. I love writing and would keep doing it even if I knew I'd never make a cent off it.


For real?


I haven't written one yet but have quite a few ideas I'll try to develop if I feel motivated. I still have to write outlines or some and may possible write a treatment. My main ideas are comedic but I also have a kind of drama around a disgruntled and depressed cop I may want to expand on.

Just question for pimpbot I know you write on the side but is the time you put into the writing worth the monetary compensation if you're lucky enough to get compensation?


I'm in the same situation where I have a few basic ideas that would appear to have potential, but haven't spent the time to develop.

Part of me wonders how much of being a writer is mostly persistence and hard work. I know that people have to have talent, but how much of ones' talent was developed through hundreds of hours of writing?

Also, I'm not Pimpbot, but he said in his post,

"The most important thing is to write for the love of it. I love writing and would keep doing it even if I knew I'd never make a cent off it."


For real. All good points by Pimpbot.




Yes, absolutely. I'm far from a good writer, but I enjoy the process and consider it a hobby. Conan O'Brien made a comment along the lines of "if someone offered me a job writing dialogue for Mr. Burns in the Argentine desert, for a salary of a dollar a year and some cheap red wine, I'd take it". I would do the same. If your purpose for writing is to make a million bucks it is probably not for you.


Writing is lonely work. I think you have to love it to keep doing it day after day after day.

Before someone asks, no I do not write screenplays. I write erotica and magazine articles and blog content. I love to write but some days it is difficult to get up and chain myself to my desk.


Persistence and hard work are absolutely paramount. Luck also factors into it quite a bit. I don't know if anyone has seen "The Life of David Gale", but it's an brilliant film which I think was nominated for a number of Academy awards. The script for it sat in a pile for several years. The only reason it was made into a film is that the writer kept pestering his agent who in turn kept pestering the studio to read the damn thing. That amazing script was almost tossed in the trash. The screenwriter certainly faces an uphill battle, however not an impossible one.


No. For me, if I force myself to get up at a rigid time, I don't get anything productive done. I write in the middle of the day, and I usually do it in front of the TV (egads!), or with a radio on, or a podcast, or whatever, because the background talking is just distracting enough to not let my mind wonder a million places.

I am a strict outliner. My outlines are often 50-60 pages long. I know every part of everything by the time I start writing the script. I learned early on that this allows me to iron out plot holes and motivation issues and pacing, etc. Some people go completely flaccid after outlining, so don't force yourself to if it does work.

PS: Download the program 'Celtx' if you want screenwriting software. It is awesome, and it is free.


writing is a tough racket - it makes films and television expensive to produce.

I Make TV - and all the producers right now want to find the next show with out a script.
they want to find the next Survivor or American idol or even jersey shore.

Even Food network has a Minimum of copy , its often no longer about the best show, or picture possible
but what can I get away with - as in what can I make and not spend allot-
go look at MTV's silent library- no writers. No copy no research they made a crap show and made a fortune

the shows that do employ writers, like talk shows dont pay much.
Oprah Ellen, Tyra Dr.Phil are all under paying the bulk of their staff, thats kind of how it works
unless your the head writer or you are writing comedy for one or two people.

Film is even worse- its far cheaper to take a movie already out there and re do it.
pitching a film is a crap shoot- its easier for the studio to just remake something.
and that is why we are seeing so much stuff redone from odd couple to wolfman.
they already own the rights.

but if you like it do it.


How'd you get into magazine writing (ie get the jobs), whether as a freelance writer or full time employee? I ask because I want to do writing on the side but I don't know how or where to start.