Our writers often ask what screenwriting tips we can give to a successful script submission to a writing contest.
Here are six reasons why writers win BlueCat:
Writing for the Screen
Screenwriting is the craft of describing a story which an audience will watch on a screen. It’s not a blog, a podcast transcription, an audiobook, or a poem. It’s a document of words assembled to create a visual picture in the reader’s mind. Our best work happens when we detail only the words and pictures we will see in the theatre. From these words come emotion, and truth, and wonder, and fun. Consider how screenwriting is unlike all other forms.
Students of the Story Form
There’s a reason Stephen King advises writers to read books. Screenwriters should read books, watch movies, and read scripts. We need to experience the art form from the consumer side of the table daily. It’s clear our winning writers have made a lifelong commitment to studying television and film and thinking about why it works well. Gently begin a stronger daily habit of consuming, enjoying, and reflecting upon the art forms you aspire to create.
The Autonomous Idea
You can pick a screenplay idea based on annual lists of what the industry prefers and sometimes this will lead you into a very successful career. What if you pick an idea for a story independent of any commercial expectation? The history of cinema is defined by writers who chose to write what they wanted to express and not necessarily by a calculated career move. This doesn’t mean they didn’t want their pilot to be seen by millions. They simply made a commitment to see their idea all the way home and ended up with what everyone wanted in the first place. Look it up.
A Commitment to Script Development
It’s quite clear the winning scripts have been rewritten many times. The writers have an intimate knowledge of the inventory of their stories, and they have fought the war of development and won. It’s so easy to begin a script and talk about the hope of a wonderful idea we love. But to fight through the boredom and pain and hopelessness of a mediocre version of your script is the exceptional challenge of writing a winning script.
Exceptionally Original Work
Make a commitment to original choices on every page of your script. When we unconsciously deliver the choices of other writers, ones we have seen before, your audience will be quite familiar with the directions you’ve taken and tune out. When our stories take people to new places, they experience and understand their lives in a new way, and it genuinely enriches us. Just like you, BlueCat looks for the new and original work.
The Emotional Risk
BlueCat winners do not fear being honest about how life has broken their hearts. They write characters into vulnerable positions, backs against the wall, who admit their challenges without snark or mystery. Your entire audience asks you to speak to their greatest fears and losses and hopes. When you write candidly about our greatest dreams to connect with each other, to receive and give love, you will always have success with every audience.
Overall, we encourage all writers to write something they love because it’s a long road ahead and you’re going to need it. Our winners always remind me why I write and continue to write and why it will never stop for me. I hope to read your script soon.