October 23, 2019

Christopher McQuarrie's Advice? Stop Trying to Break In and Make Something

Christopher McQuarrie fired off an awesome Twitter thread for those trying to "break-in." Check it out! 

Twitter is full of useless advice from phonies, so it's always amazing to see a true blue professional filmmaker take the time to layout the framework for they think it takes to reach that level for newcomers. 

The truth is, it's getting harder and harder to break into Hollywood. There are SO MANY scripts out there that even the Black List isn't as sure a bet anymore. Managers and agents work to staff people and Hollywood is making less movies and hiring fewer writers. 

TV jobs are also hard to find and the traditional assistant route is less of a surefire hit. Lucky for us, Christopher McQuarrie is here to serve up an all-encompassing Twitter thread that tells you the way he made his career spark. 

https://twitter.com/chrismcquarrie/status/1187023381251670017?s=20

I took the liberty of using screengrabs on all Mr. McQuarrie's tweets. I want to lay them out and discuss them after. 

First, hats off to McQuarrie for putting things in such simple and plain terms. Advice often comes in altruism like "just keep at it" and that feels fake. It's good to have tangible skills to develop and a clear pathway. 

Making something has always been a good idea, but at times was not cost-effective. 

Now, with smart phone cameras allowing folks to capture great images and video, you need to just setup and shooting. Shooting is important because it proves you can control a set, a story, and an audience. You might be a great writer, but chances are your script won't sell. Spec sales have hit all-time lows recently. The best thing a great script can do is get you hired to polish another project. 

While that sounds like the dream, it can take a much longer time to truly "break in."

One thing I've struggled with is how to sustain after people have accepted you're a good writer. There are not that many jobs around. It's why teaching, blogging, and commercials have to be my income source while I write new projects.

But McQuarrie's words also put a boot in my ass. They made me realize that I probably need to make things, too. 

What did you think of this thread? Any of these challenges stick out to you?      

Your Comment

8 Comments

Totally right! A must follow.

October 24, 2019 at 4:03AM

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Javier Diez
Director/Writer
164

Truly profound information!

October 24, 2019 at 9:34AM

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Nicholas Ortiz
Director/Writer/Stuntman
325

#23 is so true.
The thought of being a director never entered my mind until last year.

Yet here I am. One short done. Directing two more and a music video in the next month. And a feature starting in january.
While working a fulltime job....

October 24, 2019 at 11:31AM, Edited October 24, 11:32AM

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That's awesome!

October 24, 2019 at 4:06PM

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I love this. Maybe because it validates what I'm doing lol. But it also simplifies and takes you back to why you're doing this—to make stuff.

October 24, 2019 at 12:09PM

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Ian Park
Documentary Editor / Director
373

This affirms the proverb; those who chase fantasy come to poverty

October 24, 2019 at 3:57PM, Edited October 24, 3:57PM

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Pia Justine Cruz
Filmmaker
72

This is good stuff. I think that's exactly what i needed to hear right now.

October 24, 2019 at 4:07PM

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Pretty great advice. Even though it will seem a bit "out there" to some. Read it again until it becomes clear

October 24, 2019 at 7:06PM

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Amazing advice. Thank you!

October 26, 2019 at 1:32PM

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Jasmine Santana
Director
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