The Craft: The Importance of an Education & Screenplay Contests

Max Timm • July 19, 2016

I cannot stress enough the importance of educating yourself. It seems so simple and could spawn a reaction of, "duh". Of course education is essential. You never hear a point/counterpoint or debate over whether or not education is important. We all know it is, but I need to point something out here. It seems that a lot of writers - and I mean a LOT of writers - do not think they need to take a class on writing. It blows my mind, thoroughly frustrates me, and consistently makes me wonder why a writer would never invest in some form of a writing class, course, consultant, writers group, something! Every person that moves to Los Angeles with the intent to become a working actor is immediately given what? A list of all of the acting classes available to them. And there are a TON of acting classes available. But what does that person do? She nods her head and says, "Oh, ok. Cool. I'll find one and sign up." How is it that the screenwriting side of this business hasn't taken on the same mindset as the acting side? The craft of acting is no different than the craft of writing. It's something that is learnable, and it's something that if given enough time will result in...? Being better! I can't simplify it any more than that. I'll play hardball for a second, and whether or not you agree with me, well, I really don't care, but if you're a writer who thinks you can just figure this out on your own, maybe read Robert McKee's book, Story, and then think that you can write a marketable and ready-made're wrong. You are, very simply, wrong. I am sorry if that offends you, but if you're a regular listener to my Podcast you know that it is my intent to be real with you. It's my intent to give a bit of a wake up call.

Investing in yourself and finding the right writing class or course, or even hiring a consultant to work with you, is so necessary that I wish there were billboards all over Los Angeles that announced a new law that forced all writers to take a class before they ever attempt to submit a screenplay to an agency or production company.

CONTENT: Adaptation,