This is the Most Important Piece of Screenwriting Advice You'll Ever Need
It goes without saying -- but I'm saying it anyway. Screenwriting is hard.
It's a craft that can be lonely, frustrating, and psychologically taxing on a level you never knew existed. However, advice and words of encouragement from those who have slain the mighty literary beast may help aid you on your journey. This video from BAFTA Guru features writers Nick Hornby (An Education, Brooklyn), Beau Willimon (House of Cards), Nancy Meyers (Somethings’s Gotta Give, The Intern), Andrew Bovell (Strictly Ballroom, A Most Wanted Man), and Jimmy McGovern (Accused, Banished), answering questions from a Twitter Q&A, and there responses might be just what you needed to fill up those blank pages.
Even though there are plenty of great takeaways from the video, I'm only going to highlight one, because it's the only thing you really need to know as a writer. Let it be your mantra. Let it be the piece of advice you always share with others. Let it be your entire education, because without it, all the other advice you receive isn't even relevant.
Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. WORK!!!
It doesn't matter if you're a writer who relies on your years and years of formal training or solely on the instinct your creative genius affords you. It doesn't matter if you've read tons of screenplays or none at all. It doesn't matter if you have the latest and greatest screenwriting software of if you're relying on a pen and pad. All of that stuff becomes inconsequential compared to actually working. This is the most important thing. The working writer who's never been to a writing class or read a screenplay is still miles ahead of the non-working writer who has a Master's and a library full of scripts. It doesn't matter if you're not writing.
"But, I don't even know where to start!" Write "FADE IN:".
"But, how do I get over writer's block?" Do things that make you want to write.
"But, I don't know how to structure my story." Write it and worry about structure later.
"But, I don't know anything about writing a screenplay." Write one. Now you know.
Just work. Work. Work. Work. I know it's not the sexiest piece of advice, but it is the only thing that actually matters in the end.