Surviving the screenwriting food chain, one revision at a time

Dreaming big and often.

Acceptable movie, exceptional message.

This post will stray from my usual writing-centric additions, but I find it very important in a career of such uncertainty that you keep your goals and ambitions in the forefront of you mind. It is crucial in all walks of life to visualize everything that you hope to achieve, but in the arts, where certainty is near-fictional, aspiring professionals and established artists alike must not lose sight of the things they’re working towards. There will be many periods of struggle and ambiguity, when the strongest tool a writer can have is their hope and determination.

This isn’t an original concept by any means. Their is a plethora of inspirational and informative publications out there, urging people to think positively and frequently about what it is they want out of life. I was initially inspired by the popular film The Secret, which I would recommend to everyone, no matter their profession. Most recently, however, my screenwriting professor and friend Rose Cummings discussed the use of personal mission statements as a form of navigating through the industry’s trying nature.

While everyone will go about motivating themselves in a different manner, I am a strong believer in visualization. Be it the tropical paradise clipped to Max’s taxi visor in Collateral, or my own, more elaborate methods, seeing and believing is a key component in attracting everything you desire. Calling upon as many senses as possible when envisioning your future success will compliment the mental aspect of imagination greatly.

My daily que has taken on the form of a personally crafted desktop background. I compiled pictures that represent everything I plan to obtain, and creatively compiled a colorful, inspirational collage for my laptop. These images prompt brief day-dreaming every time I open my computer, but also rest in the background when I write, reminding me of this hopeful attitude periodically amidst my story telling efforts. I encourage everyone to find their own way of decorating their work area with visual cues, to keep their eye on the prize amidst their occasionally laborious efforts.

Pin your goals on the cork board of your mind.

Another form of daily encouragement that I’ve found successful is incorporating my wish list into a daily journal. I would encourage every writer to keep a journal, if they don’t already, because it allows for a filter-free method of expression. The prose of a journal is much more authentic and intimate than the writing style of a script, and since you know you will be the only one to read it, it opens up the opportunity for experimentation and creativity. Anyway, at the end of every entry, I include a little section dedicated to what I want at that moment. Yesterday’s entry, for example read; “What I want most today: Health, Friends, Success.” Other days the list has included words as simple as “subletters, final exam A, or successful interview.” It’s that simple. Just a few words to put your thoughts down on paper. Taking that little effort will strengthen the significance of the positive thoughts that drift through your mind throughout the day.

While these methods are time consuming, deliberate methods of focusing on attainment, it is also beneficial to passively remind yourself of these desires throughout the day. An aspiring young adult is constantly on the move throughout the day, so I employed the use of what is called a “gratitude rock,” which is mentioned in The Secret, though only in passing.

The purpose of the gratitude rock is a subtle method of keeping your thoughts on a positive track, no matter what struggles your day may put in your path. It can be whatever trinket you desire; a lucky coin, a fancy ring, or a well-word stone… In my case, it is a handblown bead tied to a string which I tie to my belt loop and keep in my pocket for easy access. I run my fingers across it during frustrating arguments, boring moments on the T, or in important meetings when a little determination can go a long way.

So think about what it is you want most out of life. Fine tune your wish list. Shop around the universe and pick out whatever it is that matters most. Get a good sense of your strongest desires and find whichever way works best for you to keep those goals present in your thoughts at all times. Once you know what you want, never let yourself lose sight of it. Never catch yourself thinking “I’ll never get there.” Just give it all you’ve got, both in attitude and in action, and eventually you will find yourself at the top of the metaphoric Philadelphia staircase, arms raised in triumph and mind soaring in pride of all you’ve accomplished. Then write about it…

Raise your arms in triumph


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