Learning the Art of the Screenplay

You might have noticed that it’s been well over a month since I last posted anything here at the Mermaid Review. First off, I’m sorry for the absence! And secondly, let me tell you why:

As is probably quite obvious by the simple fact that I created the Mermaid Review, I am a writer. I love to write and have been writing since I was a little girl. I can hardly remember a time in my life when I didn’t enjoy writing, in one form or another. There have been times when I was more interested in writing poetry, novels, or short stories, but lately I’ve moved on to a different format: the screenplay.

I first toyed with the idea of screenwriting about six years ago, when I had just arrived in Southern California. It seemed to be a natural path to consider, being as close to LA as I am. Unfortunately, I’ve never done more than just consider it until now.

I think a big part of why it’s taken me so long to give the idea of screenwriting a proper chance is because I’ve honestly been intimidated by both the industry and the form itself. I’ve had it in my head that it would be impossible to make myself a career as a screenwriter and that I must need some serious training or specialized degree for it because the formatting specifics are all too complex. In the past few months, though, I’ve realized that I was talking myself out of ever giving it screenwriting a chance simply because I was afraid of trying it and failing and I decided that was an absurd reason to constantly veer away from it. Yes, it might not be the easiest industry to break into and yes, it is going to take a lot of hard work and tenacity and down the line will probably also involve a lot of creative compromise, but I love the idea of being a professional screenwriter. Getting to write a story and see it brought to life and, honestly, paid pretty darn well for it, is an absolute dream.

This new outlook on screenwriting began when I started working out an idea for a story a couple of months ago but found that it didn’t quite feel right as a novel. The idea was based much more on the visual aspects of the story than on anything I felt that I could just tell, and I started to think that maybe it needed to be a screenplay. I became so convinced of this that I decided what the hell, it was time to learn about screenwriting.

I’ve since realized that I absolutely love screenwriting as a storytelling format. The possibilities with it are endless and I don’t feel inadequate when writing a screenplay because I don’t write prose as though as it’s epic poetry, which as an insecurity I often have about my writing (I know it’s ridiculous, but it often holds me back from finishing projects).

I began researching the crap out of screenwriting and have now learned enough about it to start forming my ideas into amateur screenplays. Obviously I still have a lot to learn and a long way to go before I’m any good at this new format, but I am having a blast with it so far and am in fact so enamored with it that I’ve added a minor in Film and Media Studies to the English degree I’m currently working on so that I can take some actual screenwriting classes and really begin to master this craft.

So, to circle back to my initial point, I’ve been unfortunately absent from the Mermaid Review because I’ve just been spending every second of my free time shoving screenwriting knowledge into my brain. I’ve bought some books, started listening to a couple of podcasts, and have been researching nonstop. I’ve also even started working on a screenplay and am already about 20 pages in, so go me!

I promise to try not to abandon you dear sea goddesses for so long again, though. And please, if any of you have any knowledge or resources in regards to writing for the big (or small) screen, send them my way!

P.S. I can’t wait to look back on this post in a couple of years when I’ve sold my first screenplay! 😛


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