Ways To Improve Your Screenwriting Skills That Are Completely Unrelated To Screenwriting
Guest blog by Regine Clemenceau. Be sure to submit to Season 4 of this year's Screenwriting Staffing Query Letter Contest.
Reading scripts, watching movies, and discussing with other writers are all great ways to improve the craft. And if you really want to be a better screenwriter, you are probably (or should be) already doing them. However, there are many other things that you can start doing today to improve your screenwriting skills. Things you might think have nothing to do with anything.
Here are 6 things that will improve your screenwriting skills that are completely unrelated to screenwriting:
1) Cracking Excel and other organizational tools:
Knowing how to create a flawless spreadsheet might sound unnecessary when you're trying to improve your writing skills. And it is. However, Excel is a great tool to sharpen your organizational and analytical skills. Both these things are vital when writing for the screen.
Screenwriting requires exceptional attention to detail and a great capacity to solve problems. After all, stories come from creating conflict and then solving it.
Learning to use tools like spreadsheets and other software, such as project management software, will sharpen your screenwriting skills. These will also improve your teamwork skills and make you more comfortable in digital environments., which can be very handy in a world where more and more people prefer to work online.
When you travel, you can disconnect and find inspiration, and it's also an infinite source for storytelling. The people you meet when you travel, the things you can learn about different cultures and societies, and the things you see while you're away can help you come up with endless stories.
The ability to pay attention and actively observe people is key to creating relatable characters and interesting plots.
When you travel, you can better your storytelling skills, understand people, and open up to new stories to enhance your screenwriting craft. Traveling also brings certain challenges that can make you a better writer. Getting lost in a city you don't know, trying to communicate in a different language, or simply dealing with flight delays and noisy hotel rooms makes a lot of stories worth telling. [20 Best Places To Work As A Screenwriter]
3) Going deep into social media:
Social media has lately gotten a bad reputation. Many psychologists and other experts have advised against the excessive use of cell phones and spending too much of our time in the digital world. However, social media has a lot of benefits that can help you improve your screenwriting.
There is, for instance, the human observation we talked about before. People exist on social media, people you can observe and analyze to better understand the human condition.
Because people behave differently online than offline, studying those behaviors can help elevate your character development abilities.
It can also be handy for interpreting subtexts, therefore creating better dialogue. Furthermore, social media is also an unlimited source for stories that, more often than not, are stranger than fiction. Take one single dive into sites like Reddit or Twitter, and you'll be amazed by what you can find. [Join our FB Group & LI Group]
4) Study different types of media:
When focusing on screenwriting, you might be tempted to consume nothing else but scripted media, but you must resist. Storytelling is present in all media types, so analyzing them will give you a much better understanding.
From entertainment media, such as theater, novels, or even unscripted television or film, to news reports, and advertising. Open up to different media types and note how stories develop among them. Real-time news of a particular event is a great way to look at storytelling from a different perspective. [Visit our Job Board]
5) Keep a journal:
If you're serious about screenwriting, you're probably already keeping many notes. This is great, but going beyond notes and keeping a journal or diary will naturally upgrade your screenwriting.
When you take notes of your days and record your activities, you become aware of things that will generally pass you by. Keeping a journal summarizes a lot of what we've commented on before.
Observation, attention to detail, and finding inspiration can come very naturally when you begin to take note of your days.
I encourage you to give it a try for a month. Spend a few minutes before going to bed, writing about your day for at least 30 days. You'll be surprised.
6) Try acting classes:
Not unrelated to screenwriting, yet something very few of us consider doing. Acting classes can be a very insightful way to understand screenwriting and get better at the craft. Through acting, you'll see the screenplay from a different perspective and acknowledge how it is interpreted.
With acting classes, you will also learn three critical things for anyone serious about screenwriting: improvising, adapting, and overcoming.
As your script moves forward, you will encounter moments where you might not know where to go. If you master those three skills, you'll be able to reroute your narrative and achieve your story's goals quickly. [Why working on-set will make you a better screenwriter]
There are many tools available to understand the craft of screenwriting better. By implementing these activities in your daily life, you'll be able to improve your screenwriting skills, stay on track when writing, be more creative, and, in general, become a better writer. They can also push you to try new things and experiment with different writing styles until you find your authentic writing voice. Sign up to read more screenwriting blogs like this: www.screenwritingstaffing.com/sign-up-free-membership
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Blog by Regine Clemenceau.
Regine Clemenceau is a script consultant and screenwriter. She works with screenwriters across the globe, focusing on providing affordable consultancy and revision services, as well as project advice towards pitching and financing. Her goal is to help screenwriters turn their scripts from good to GREAT. You can get in touch with her by visiting her website www.regineclemenceau.com and https://twitter.com/reginerewrites.
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