|05-11-2004, 11:12 AM||#1|
A Fear of Screenwriting
I'm the head writer and managing editor of my university's satirical newspaper. Most everyone enjoys my work, as its constantly receiving positive feedback, and genuine laughs. Entertaining my peers through written word is one of the most enjoyable and gratifying experiences I've ever known.
I'm addicted to it.
However, lately I've found myself discontented with writing spoofed news reports. I crave to write something more meaningful, and stylistically less restrictive. You can only take so many creative liberties with a 750 word limit in AP style.
I'd like to write screenplays. I unhealthily obsess over it. Over the last month, I've done nothing but inundate myself with books, columns, and articles about screenwriting. I've taken to studying movies, rather than watching them. I've studied dozens of scripts. I commandeered the screenwriting shelf at the university library. I even purchased some used screenwriting software.
I feel now, that I know enough about the industry and the craft itself to begin outlining and writing. But, I've yet to start doing so.
Why? An insecure fear of failure.
My psyche is defective. I'd like to exchange it for a new, more confident one. Slap an RMA sticker on my forehead and send me back to the OEM, whoever that may be (god?).
I'm a pansie! I'm afraid that I'll only display to myself that my peers were right all along. Despite all the praises I receive for my satirical reports, I'm constantly bombarded with discouraging commentary regarding this new ambition.
"You're no artist. I don't think writing is the best contribution you could make to Hollywood," said my best friend, in a drunken admittance of doubt. Alcohol is an elixir of truth; he would have never intended to reveal this when sober.
"You want to go into film? That doesn't seem to suit you, but you'd make a great reporter," said a family friend. She doesn't seem to understand that the reports I write are pulled from the depths of my ass. There's no journalism involved. I make it all up. Should I try my hand at reporting, I would become the next Jason Blair in a matter of days.
A complete stranger and film student mocked my ignorance of the film industry at a keg party. "You want to write a screenplay and you don't know who Robert Rodriguez is?!?" he said, laughing hysterically.
Since being called out on that last one, I read Rodriguez's autobiography. His dedication is inspiring, to say the least.
He didn't aimlessly wonder into film making. He devised a plan, and a brilliant one at that, which would catapult him into Hollywood as the next independent hot-shot. He stuck to that plan, and sacrificed his own blood to achieve it (he sold his body to medicine to finance his first films).
He wasn't afraid. He didn't worry about failure. In fact, he never considered it. He enveloped himself completely in his craft, striving to improve each and every day, learning by experience. He knew that his dedication would pull him through. This dauntless psyche made him the successful film-maker he has become. It's as though he willed it to happen, so it did. Without the ruthless dedication, he would have wallowed in insecurity and doubt just as I am doing now.
So, I'm left wondering why I've yet to display a similar devotion to my writing. I can't stop fantasizing about screenwriting, or studying it for that matter. Every day I devote a hours to studying scripts, film and books. But, I've yet to actually draft something.
I want so badly to succeed in this craft, that I know the minute that I begin I will devote my entire being to its cause. The prospect of failure in the face of such devotion is potentially devastating. It's that devastation which is now preventing me from taking the plunge.
Did many of you experience a similar roadblock in writing your first script? How did you overcome it?