Common Screenwriting Myths Debunked
Screenwriting is an art form that has been practiced for decades. As such, there are many myths that have developed over time about the process of screenwriting. Unfortunately, these myths can prevent new screenwriters from reaching their full potential. So today, I've decided to debunk some of the most common screenwriting myths.
Myth #1: You have to follow a specific structure
One of the most common myths about screenwriting is that there is a specific structure that every script must follow. This is simply not true. While there are certain conventions that most screenplays follow, such as the three-act structure, these are not hard and fast rules. In fact, some of the most successful films in history, such as Pulp Fiction and Memento, don't follow a traditional structure at all. Although I've previously made a post about beat sheets, comparing what I've learned from my screenwriting courses to Save the Cat, every writer learns film structure differently and it all depends on what feels good for you!
Myth #2: You have to have a specific education or background
Another common myth about screenwriting is that you have to have a specific education or background to be successful. While it's true that some successful screenwriters have a degree in film or writing, this is not a requirement. In fact, many successful screenwriters have come from all sorts of backgrounds, from law to journalism to marketing.
Myth #3: You have to live in Hollywood to make it
Many aspiring screenwriters believe that they have to live in Hollywood to make it in the industry. While living in Hollywood can certainly make it easier to network and get your foot in the door, it's not a requirement. With the rise of the internet and the prevalence of virtual meetings, it's now possible to make connections and pitch ideas from anywhere in the world.
Myth #4: You have to have a finished script to pitch
Some aspiring screenwriters believe that they have to have a fully polished script before they can start pitching their ideas. However, this is not necessarily true. In fact, many successful screenwriters have gotten their foot in the door by pitching their ideas in a pitch deck or treatment format. This allows producers and executives to get a sense of the story and characters before investing the time and resources into a full script.
Myth #5: You have to write every day
Finally, some aspiring screenwriters believe that they have to write every day to be successful. While writing every day can certainly help you develop your craft and stay motivated, it's not a requirement. What's more important is to find a writing schedule that works for you and allows you to consistently make progress on your screenplay.
In conclusion, these are just a few of the most common screenwriting myths. It's important to remember that every writer's journey is unique, and there is no one right way to write a screenplay. By understanding these myths and debunking them, you can free yourself from unnecessary pressure and focus on what really matters – telling a great story.