Tarantino, PTA, and Other Filmmaking Greats Tell You How to Write Better

Writing is the most important thing in film and television. So, how do you get better at it? 

Writing is the backbone of all of the film and TV business. Without words, worlds, and stories, there's really nothing left. You don't have to be a writer to make it in the business, but you do have to get better at writing. 

And if you want to be a writer, then you should always be trying to improve your game. 

The easiest way to do that is to write every day or as much as you can. and read a ton of screenplays to see how the masters handle the words on the page.

But you don't have to take my word for it. There's a whole bunch of experts who have tips for you.  

Check out this video from Behind the Curtain and let's talk after the jump. 

How to Become a Better Writer 

One of the hardest tasks I have when looking at the page is feeling any confidence in the worlds I'm building. So much of a writer's success involves other people telling them they're good, that they can lose track of why they embarked on this journey in the first place. 

That's why this Shane Black quote below means so much to me. 

There's a distinct reason you started writing. 

If it helps, write that reason on a post-it and put it over your desk. Let it push you toward the finish. 

I have written over 20 feature film screenplays and only one has been made. While those are not failures, they can feel like it. The nice thing is that those specs can come back at any time and find the right cast to make them happen. 

When you have heat it's easier to do this, but the only way to get heat is to keep working and to keep going. 

As Susannah Grant said in the video, this business is steeped in failure. 

The people who find success are the ones who can keep going and make it out the other side. The idea of breaking in is so hard to comprehend because there is no one way to do it. Everyone has their own story. 

But the only people who break in and sustain a career are the ones trying to get better all the time. 

Like Charlie Kaufman says, you have to try every door. 

Becoming a better writer is not easy, it requires dedication and hard work. Again, it goes back to working at the craft daily, being okay with failure, continuing to bear your soul, as Jordan Peele says, and being vulnerable with the audience. 

That kind of dedication will take time. You can't rush it.

As Francis Ford Coppola said, "Writing is something that if you really plug away, you'll get better." So stop reading and get writing! 

Got other hot rips that drive you? Let us know in the comments! 

What's next? Get our free screenwriting eBook

So much of what we're talking about on No Film School when it comes to screenwriting is summarized in our new eBook. It also helps guide you through a 10-week writing plan that will get your script actually finished. 

Keep reading.     

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1 Comment

I like No Film School so please know this is constructive criticism. There are so many typos and grammatical errors in almost every No Film School article and post, that it takes away from the information you are attempting to distribute.

Even the title of this article is messy, especially when it's an article about writing. I have been overlooking it for a while now, but it would be nice if you would proofread before posting articles.

I consider Tarantino one of the best writers of today. And I don't mean in the screenplay genre, I mean overall. When you read his screenplays, they are immaculate and read like a novel. When I read Inglorious Bastards I thought I was reading a novel. When I saw it in the theater, I saw exactly what I read. That's how well written it was.

I'm not asking to read Tarantino on No Film School, but I am asking the articles to be proofread.

May 29, 2020 at 6:21AM