If you think you can get past all the secretaries and assistants without a Hollywood mentor then join the crowd – over there in the disappointment line. They all thought they could go it alone and look where they’re standing now – frustrated, dejected, disappointed, and ready to give up. Don’t give up. It’s all worth it. Nobody gets discovered in an ice cream shop anymore. If you want to break into Hollywood you’re going to need a mentor, a guide.
Every day thousands of would-be scriptwriters are attracted by the bright lights and glitz and glitter of Hollywood and every day those dreams get squashed by ignorance. The competition is fierce and that whole ‘survival of the fittest’ thing is awarded to those who make connections and get help. You know the old saying, “…it’s WHO you know.”, that saying started in Hollywood! Screenwriters actually need a mentor more than any other group in this business. Until your name is flashing up there on the Big Screen, you’re an unknown – a nobody. You won’t even be able to get your foot in the door – forget about your script.
Here’s how a mentor can help you get your first screenplay sold in Hollywood:
Script Proofreading: Writing a script is completely different than writing a novel. Movie script format is limited and formulaic with a limited amount of words, characters, locations, and scenes. Novel writers DO NOT make good scriptwriters (movie scripts are NOT stories). You can’t evaluate your own work and a mentor knows exactly what the studio executives expect to see on the page. Mentors are worth every penny you pay them.
Script Formatting: Executives receive hundreds of scripts every week. If you want yours to be noticed and read then it has to be delivered and shine like a professional’s script. Software programs will do formatting for you, but only as a guideline. A mentor will fill in the missing elements to formatting for you and you will learn with the one-on-one guidance and feedback. A good mentor knows what the studio execs expect to see on the page.
Query letters: A good mentor can introduce you to an agent and can even manage you once you’ve finished (not completed – completing a script is NOT finishing a script) a great product (script) to sell so you won’t need query letters. If you’ve not used a good mentor and think you can go it alone then you should know – that if you don’t get help a good query letter is as difficult as writing a good movie script and agents can be brutal. Instead of spending money on stamps to send out your query letters save it up and get a mentor. The best agents receive hundreds of queries every week and the queries they do deem worthy are passed off to their assistants. A good mentor can open the door for a worthy scriptwriter. Working with a mentor shortens a scriptwriter’s learning curve. When the mentor works one-on-one with you and knows your work and knows you’ve got a winner (because they helped you) then they will be willing to go to bat for you, put their good name on the line, even manage you.
Pitch-proofing: A mentor can help you put together a pitch, teach you the ins and outs of how to handle yourself in Hollywood and find the right people to pitch to. A mentor is someone who’s willing to guide you, and teach you the tricks of the trade so you can make your dreams come true.
And in Hollywood, well…. you’ve seen what those special effects guys can do, right? Hollywood is all about relationships – those special effects that make all the difference in the world. It’s a jungle out there and even the fittest don’t survive without help. These days you really only have a couple of options – get a mentor to help you learn how Hollywood operates, or join all those other wannabes over there in the disappointment line.
About Lena Banks
Lena Banks Founder-Think Tank Ink MasterMind INKubator for Scriptwriters-where writers become GREAT writers. Workshops in LA, London, Edinburgh & Glasgow. A Pro Hollywood Reader (18 years). Pro Hollywood Script Reader for literary agents, producers, studios & writers. Writer’s Kick-Ass Muse & The Bitch With the Red Pen (an iron will with an angel’s touch) as a fanatical proofreader, expert script-tech fixer, & coach. Literary Agent & Manager Liaison – I help new writers get IN. Visit http://www.TheBitchWithTheRedPen.com for a FREE eBook 15,000 Useful Phrases