The Harsh Truth about Screenwriting

Short of Stories began in April 8, 2012. In the meantime it had more than 7000 visits, which is amazing for such a new blog covering such a niche-specific subject. I also won a pretty award from Script Magazine. But the truth is that there’s not much to talk about. Of course, i could keep developing some article here and there, but i’d never fool you: i’d never offer to review your script for money, i’d never write crap to hunt page views. One of the reasons to have started this blog was because i was tired of the amount of bullshit i’ve found online.

When i say there’s not much to talk about i don’t mean solely about this blog, but to the whole internet. There are only a few places where is still valid to read about screenwriting, all the others are lists of repeated advice crawling for page hits through the internet searches.

Film is a brand-new art in terms of history, but storytelling is not. We’re still attached to the same rules Aristotle wrote in the Ancient Greek (take this note: read the Poetics). Then you could move forward in time and read Lajos Egri’s The Art of Dramatic Writing and Christian Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Storytellers & Screenwriters. Do you want something more straightforward? Read Story: Substance, Structure, Style and The Principles of Screenwriting, by Robert McKee. Don’t waste your time (and money) with these lectures, workshops and internet gurus. As you get deep into this world you realize how predatory it is when unexperienced people offer to read your scripts and give you feedback. Wanna pay for a reading? Don’t pay cheap, get a renewed professional.

But don’t read anything else about screenwriting on the internet. Is it a list? Close it as fast as you can. Advice to fight writer’s block? Block the goddamn page instead. This cage of birds that has become the screenwriting online content, singing the same tune all day long is exactly the opposite of your need.

Film is a stagnated art when it comes to storytelling; in more than 100 years barely nothing has changed and so didn’t the advice. This advice that precedes the film itself as it comes from the Ancient Greece. Can’t you see what you’re reading? It is the same god damn thing in loop since 335 B.C. and every form of art has already overcome this stage. But i don’t mean that the storytelling in film must change. I don’t care about film at this particular moment (it is much bigger than any of us), i care about you. I care that you could be writing, but you’re not. I care that people try to take advantage of your naivety as a writer (and your insecurity, most of the time) to grab your few bucks left.

In the end, the only good advice about screenwriting is don’t read about screenwriting. Do anything else. Disconnect. Write.

Yes, this is the last post from Short of Stories. It’s been a lovely time and i’ve learnt a lot. I’d like to says thanks to the Reddit community for the large support in this period. The blog won’t go down and there’s plenty of resources to check out if you’re willing to write a short film, but don’t. Block this page, block every page, every blog.

I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, ‘I’m as mad as hell, and i’m not going to take this anymore!’

If you love me, you may find me on Tumblr or we may have a nice conversation on App.net. Please, be welcome to use the Contact form to reach me anytime.

Regards,
Phillip 



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