7 Things We Learned at The 2017 Austin Film Festival’s Writer’s Conference

“The Writers Competition” delivers a wealth of excellent recommendation for aspiring filmmakers.

With each fall season comes the Austin Movie Competition and with the competition brings collectively a few of the most proficient filmmakers and writers within the enterprise, and people impressed people hoping to interrupt in. For those who’re not accustomed to the Austin Movie Competition, it’s a conventional movie competition that premieres completely different motion pictures, shorts, and tv episodes, however what makes it distinctive is that it’s additionally a author’s competition which celebrates and focuses on screenwriting. All through the primary 4 days of the fest, which is the author’s convention portion of the week, there are a number of completely different panels that discuss every little thing from working in a TV writers room, to breaking into the enterprise, to writing animated movies. All present useful, life like perception into being knowledgeable screenwriter, and this yr I used to be lucky to attend some actually cool panels. Listed below are a few of the greatest takes on writing that I heard most frequently all through the convention.

The “second act” is all the time laborious

That is one thing I heard in a number of panels. Nobody actually likes writing the second act of a script. It’s the purpose of a narrative the place issues decelerate somewhat bit, and it’s not as flashy because the opening or as dramatic because the ending. It’s the a part of the story that simply feels prefer it drags on and on and can by no means finish. And sadly, there isn’t any a method of leaping into it. The controversy on strategy construction nonetheless appears to be ongoing within the writing neighborhood. Whereas some select to not to concentrate to traditional screenwriting construction when writing, others use it as a method to define, whereas others comply with it throughout. Irrespective of the way you select to jot down a script, know that almost all everybody from essentially the most skilled of writers to the most recent of newbies struggles with the a lot dreaded second act.

Your characters must wrestle

It seems like this may be an apparent piece of recommendation, however that is really one thing that ought to in all probability be heard day by day. As people, we’re (hopefully) inherently good people, and seeing others endure is just not on the prime of our record. However as a author, it’s nearly important. And it’s not prefer it all the time must be some dramatic form of struggling, however somewhat simply varied obstacles that preserve the character away from what they need most, and experiences that basically make them be taught. Whether or not it’s one thing as small as making them go to a grocery retailer that has nothing on their record, or one thing as massive as having them deal with a tragic dying, wrestle makes a personality fascinating, extra actual. Most significantly, these struggles information them towards what it’s they need most along with what it’s they really want, which boosts your entire level of the story within the first place.

Rewrite and rewrite

Nothing is ever good on its first attempt, and what we see on display has most positively been altered and rewritten a billion occasions. I’ll admit, I by no means precisely considered this a part of screenwriting. I simply assumed that everybody who ever wrote something was a creative genius who simply pieced collectively their story on the web page like a painter with a clean canvas,  however one thing nearly each panel burdened was that the primary draft is strictly that: the primary draft of many. And there appears like there might be many. This was a little bit of a reduction really. It offers room for experiments and mishaps. A cliche so typically thrown round is that “writing is rewriting.” However, it seems to be like there’s some credit score to that. So don’t stress the primary draft. Simply get all of it down and kind out the items later.

Writing could be a group effort

When folks consider writing, it’s simple to image somebody at their desk, of their residence alone, with their espresso, writing away. Whereas know-how does make this image somewhat extra life like, a lot of writing includes a collaborative effort. This consists of receiving notes from all ranges, with the intention to work with rewrites. Additionally, in each movie and TV, it’s not unusual for writers to work on varied tasks on the similar time. They is perhaps engaged on their very own factor whereas additionally stepping in throughout the center of one other undertaking to do a punch-up, or assist develop a brand new present or movie out of current pitches the studio has beforehand purchased. And for TV particularly, working in a author’s room is all in regards to the group effort. So, whereas it’s simple to consider writing as a solo profession, it’s really a reasonably collaborative job, not less than the place screenwriting is anxious. It’s all effective and dandy to have an concept, a top level view, and perhaps even a accomplished script, however getting that script within the fingers of somebody that may produce it after which ultimately get it on the display is a complete different ball sport that includes not less than some human interplay.

It is advisable not less than step foot in L.A.

After deciding to be a screenwriter, the subsequent query everybody has (in the event that they’re not already there) is whether or not or to not transfer to LA. The consensus on this one was fairly clear and the reply is sure. Not less than for somewhat bit, to get established and check out completely different jobs. For the reason that movie business is so centralized in LA, transferring there’s a good suggestion for anybody wanting to interrupt into the movie enterprise generally, however for a screenwriter particularly. And positively, if the objective is to work in TV. Being there, on the grounds, inside minutes of studios and brokers is a crucial a part of the job. Certain, it’s doable to jot down from elsewhere and ship in drafts, however pondering again to what number of rewrites go into varied tasks, being close by to have the ability to hear notes in particular person and rework a script instantly is crucial. And it’s not like dwelling there ceaselessly is the requirement, however the advice for transferring on the market for a while whereas beginning out was fairly robust.

Options might not precisely be booming, however TV is.

With streaming companies and the web generally, getting folks to go to the films is tough sufficient, and have movies are usually not experiencing their better of years the place field workplace numbers are involved. Along with this, so few motion pictures even get made simply out of budgetary causes and different calls for. That being stated, nobody discouraged writing options if that’s the dream as a result of options are all the time wanted and all the time interesting to some viewers or studio someplace. Nevertheless, many did point out that at the moment, there a extra jobs in TV writing due to how a lot TV there’s proper now. Give it some thought. There’s all the cable, community, and premium channels that come by means of cable bins, however there’s additionally Netflix and Hulu and Amazon which can be all companies on-line searching for content material as effectively. That’s numerous content material, they usually’re all the time searching for extra. So even for those who’re laborious set on writing options, perhaps take into account attempting to jot down for TV for those who assume that may very well be your factor, particularly if the objective is to be a screenwriter for any medium. And it’s not like working for TV bans you off from working with movies. One thing else that was burdened all through the week is that there’s often some overlap in those that work for TV and who work in movie. So TV could be a nice alternative to realize writing expertise and the connections made in TV can presumably result in characteristic work later down the highway.

Be fascinating, be you

In every of the panels, an viewers member would often ask for recommendation in some kind about get a job working as a screenwriter. And the recommendation often leaned towards the truth that there isn’t any one method to break in. Every author had a unique story as to how they made it within the enterprise, and whereas some might have gotten in by means of being assistants, others simply had written spectacular scripts that bought them years of labor. Nevertheless, one factor most everybody famous was to easily be your self and let your voice shine by means of in your scripts. Don’t attempt to fake to be somebody that it could look like a studio would rent, and don’t attempt to write one thing only for the sake of imitating some kind of success as a result of chances are high when you have a singular voice and are an important author, the work is there someplace.